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Assistant Practitioner 

Assistant Practitioners (APs) are highly trained and work as part of the wider health and social care team and have direct contact with patients, service users or clients providing high quality and compassionate care.

Assistant Practitioners work at a level above that of Healthcare Support Workers and have a more in-depth understanding about factors that influence health and ill-health.


In the NHS, Assistant Practitioners are paid at Band 4 of the Agenda for Change pay scales

Entry requirements 

Assistant Practitioners will have completed (or be working towards) a Level 5 qualification, or a SCQF level 8 qualification in Scotland. 

Examples of Level 5 or SCQF 8 qualifications include:

  • Diploma of Higher Education (DipHe)
  • Foundation degree
  • Higher National Diploma (HND) 
  • or NVQ Level 5 

(For more info about different qualification levels, see below)

Experiential requirements

In addition to the above qualification, you must also:

  • Have been employed for at least six months in a role within the health and care sector
  • Be able to meet the work-based learning outcomes by delivering care
  • Have the support of your employer

In the UK, most qualifications taken through work, school, college or university will fit into 1 of 9 levels, or 12 in Scotland.

The higher the level, the harder the qualification. The levels are based on the standards of knowledge, skill and competence needed for each qualification.

Qualifications at the same level can be very different in terms of content and the length of time they take to complete.

To learn more about the different qualification levels:

The role 

Duties and responsibilities will vary slightly depending on the role, sector or industry, but a general outline of the role can be found here. 

  • Undertake defined clinical or therapeutic interventions appropriately delegated by a Registered Practitioner.
  • Assisting in patient assessment
  • Referrals to the Registered Practitioner
  • Physiological Measurements
  • Risk Management, Infection control, health and safety
  • Higher clinical skills such as catheterisation, wound care and discharge planning 

  • Case Management
  • Supervision and Teaching
  • Personal Development
  • Team Working
  • Communication
  • Person-centred care and wellbeing
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Quality

Where it can lead... 

Assistant Practitioners may go on to complete a level 6 qualification such as a Nursing degree (e.g. BSc Hons or BA Degree) which would lead to nursing registration.

Nursing degrees are usually 3 years (full time) but it may be possible for Assistant Practitioners to apply for some accreditation of their prior learning. 

For more information about this, enquire at your local university or The Open University.

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Nursing Support Workers

Career resources for Healthcare Assistants, Assistant Practitioners, Nursing Associates and Support Workers.