Getting into nursing: should I do a degree or an apprenticeship?

From September this year we’re offering a four-year degree-level apprenticeship route into all four fields of nursing: adult, child, learning disabilities and mental health. With so many new options for training as a nurse, we thought it would be useful to look at the similarities and the differences between a degree apprenticeship and a full-time BSc (Hons) Nursing course to help you decide which route is best for you.

What are the similarities?

If you study on the degree apprenticeship, you take exactly the same set of modules as the BSc (Hons) Nursing course.

There are five modules each at levels 4, 5 and 6, equating to 120 credits each level, which lead to the award of a BSc (Hons) degree if successfully completed. You also complete the same amount of practice hours as the traditional BSc (Hons) course. It’s a requirement of our professional body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), for our nursing courses ensure a minimum of 2300 of supernumerary practice hours so both courses adhere to this.

The entry requirements are the same. 

You need the equivalent of 120 UCAS points and a pass at Level 2/GCSE Maths and English, as well as a science subject.

With both courses you will become a registered nurse with the NMC in your chosen field of practice.

So what are the differences between the BSc degree and the degree apprenticeship?

With our nursing apprenticeship you must already be in employment, usually with one of our local NHS trusts or other large healthcare provider. This is because apprenticeships are ‘employer led’.

It is our employer partners who work with the University to decide who from their workforce is suitable to join an apprenticeship course. Therefore, there is no direct entry or entry through UCAS to get onto our registered nurse degree apprenticeship. Some employers will sometimes advertise new apprenticeship posts, so it’s always worth keeping an eye on NHS jobs to see if any organisations are doing this.

The degree apprenticeship course is four years in length rather than three.

This is because for some of the course you remain in employment in your existing post, so you can apply what you are learning on the course to your usual workplace.

You don’t have to pay any course fees for the degree apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are funded by the apprenticeship levy (a pot of money paid to the Government by large organisations which they can tap into to cover course costs if they put their staff onto an apprenticeship course). In addition, you’ll continue to receive your salary from your NHS trust employer while studying the course.

Studying to become a nurse via an apprenticeship route has some great advantages. While training at BCU you can still expect access to the same learning opportunities and fantastic placement experiences as all our student nurses, with the added financial security that an apprenticeship offers. 

Find out more

If you’re inspired to learn more, why not take a look at our Nursing Apprenticeship course page for more information?

Our Nursing Apprenticeship