Academic entry requirements for adult nursing degrees is set by individual universities and employers respectively. Typically you will need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4/C or above (possibly in English language or literature and a science subject), plus two A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications. Some universities may ask for three A levels or equivalent.

Alternatives to A Levels

If you’re applying for a university course, be aware that each university sets its own entry requirements. It is vital to check the individual entry requirements of the universities you plan to apply to as they can vary.

You should check with university before applying to see if your qualifications meet their entry standard.

Various qualifications may be accepted as alternative qualifications to A levels. These include:

Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers
Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma qualifications
OCR Cambridge Technicals
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Access courses, eg Access to Nursing
You may be asked to achieve a certain level in these alternative qualifications, for example a merit or distinction in the case of BTEC.

In some cases it is possible to combine academic qualifications with vocational qualifications. For example, you might have an A level and a BTEC qualification and this combination may be accepted by universities, depending on the subjects and grades.

Other alternative academic and vocational qualifications may also be acceptable – in all cases contact your chosen universities for more advice.


Alternative to a nursing degree

Health and Social Care is a massive industry, with new government investment and initiatives contributing to its growth and giving it a higher profile than ever. These developments mean there is likely to be a demand for well-trained, multi-skilled people.

If you want to work in a role that makes a difference in people’s lives you have probably considered a qualification in the healthcare industry. Depending on your preference, you may be thinking about working on the business side of healthcare or the clinical, nursing side.


Who is it for?

If you enjoy caring for people and are looking for a varied job, this could be an ideal career for you. You would be caring for people who are ill, injured and have physical disabilities.


You could be looking after a local hospital, GP surgery or community health service.

Your responsibilities would often include managing the cost, delivery and quality of local healthcare services.

If you want to develop leadership and financial management skills, and want to motivate others, this might be the career for you.

What hours will I work?

You would normally work 37.5 hours a week which can include evenings, weekends, night shifts and bank holidays.

You may be part of an on-call rota system to cover emergencies. Extra hours may be available.


You will be mainly based in an office and usually work around 37.5 hours a week.

How much will I earn?

According to National Career Service you will learn between £21,909 and £28,462. More experienced nurses, nurse team managers and clinical specialists can earn from £26,302 to just over £40,000 a year.


You would normally work for the NHS. According to National Careers Service, as a new manager in the NHS you would be earning between £36.302 and £42,373 (depending on the band), Senior managers will be on band 9, earning between £78,629 and £99,437.


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