Stonebridge logo
0121 392 8288
Our Blog
February 3, 2017

Nursing courses that you can access without A-Levels

Written by
Access to nursing courses if you don't have A-Levels

Nurses are more in demand than ever before. Shortages in the NHS are hitting the headlines and experts in the profession suggest that Brexit will only add to staffing challenges. By making a career change now, you can access numerous job openings in the healthcare industry. In 2017, the prospects have never been brighter for nursing students and statistics reveal a particular lack of specialist nurses. Employment potential is high and six months after graduation from a nursing course, over 90% of graduates are in paid work.

Do you no longer enjoy what you do? Many people find that they’re looking for challenges that their current job simply can’t provide. The history of nursing reveals that men and women have always been drawn to roles where they can make a difference. It’s not too late to train to become a nurse and start a new career.

What steps do you need to take to become a nurse?

To work as a nurse in the UK, you need a degree, to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and to be DBS checked. Universities across the UK offer adult nursing BSc courses and you’ll spend three years being professionally trained to work in a healthcare environment. Higher education offers the chance to find out where your strengths lie and develop your personal skills.

Going to university as a mature student can be daunting, especially if you’re juggling a young family, but countless people come to nursing in later life. You might be surprised to learn that a third of new students are older than 21. At Stonebridge, we believe that success can come at any age, which is why we offer all the support you need to reach university and continue your nursing education.


A woman using a laptop to study online via distance learning.

Studying with Stonebridge

Are you concerned that you don’t have the skills or qualifications to start a nursing career? If you’ve always wanted to be a registered nurse, but don’t have your A-Levels, or a formal education, we can help. You can study an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Health), on a nursing Level 3 pathway, through distance learning.

Once your course is complete, you’ll meet the entry requirements of many nursing courses (we advise checking with individual schools of nursing and health sciences departments). Please note that you will also need a grade C or above in both GCSE Maths and English.

Access to Higher Education Diplomas offer flexible study options. You can keep your current job and fit in learning around family life by working online, from home. Our students benefit from part-time study and have up to two years to finish their course. Alternatively, if you prefer fast-track study methods, you can gain your qualification in as little as 9 months.

With dedicated personal tutor support and access to PEARL, our innovative Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), you’ll have the tools to prepare for a nursing course at university. Our adaptable qualification will not only build your healthcare knowledge base, but also update your academic skills. Gain access to nursing courses across the country and take the next step in your career. You’ll explore topics including human nutrition, psychology and contemporary medical issues. Find out more about health services in the UK and consider how poverty and social factors come into play.

Flexible funding

You may be eligible for a 19+ Learner Loan, which will completely fund the cost of your Access to Higher Education Diploma. You’ll only need to start affordable monthly repayments once you earn over £21,000. If you finish an undergraduate course, the loan will be wiped out.

What responsibilities do nurses have?

Supporting patients and reassuring friends and relatives is a key part of nursing. Hectic hospital environments often leave people feeling neglected, so regular conversation is crucial. Nursing is also practical and you’ll need to carry out tasks including giving injections, taking blood pressure, cleaning wounds and working closely with doctors to track progression. The role combines assessment, analysis and evaluation. You could be addressing medical problems at every level, from minor injuries through to long-term illnesses. 

So, what makes nurses great at what they do? It’s common to worry that you don’t have what it takes to enter a fast-paced healthcare setting, but you may already have useful transferable skills.

To progress in nursing requires qualities including patience and the ability to work in a team. Any nursing job has the potential to be practical, interactive and rewarding.

Where can nurses find employment?

You could work as a nurse in the UK or overseas. Nurses are employed by NHS trusts and can be based anywhere from A&E departments, to intensive care units (ICUs). There are also job opportunities in private hospitals, at doctor’s surgeries, in nursing homes and even in schools or prisons. You could build a career in a wide variety of settings.

Nursing is a broad sector and many people choose to specialise in areas such as mental health or working in children’s wards. You’ll develop a unique set of employability skills as you learn how to monitor patients, communicate with a team and assess injuries.

Woman taking a man's blood pressure after completing a nursing course

Planning your career path

A degree in nursing will give you the academic credentials, and practical experience, to develop a successful career in a variety of nursing healthcare professions. Many people retrain late in life and nursing studies are often the next step for someone working in health and social care. Equally, higher education courses can be a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to completely overhaul their career.

Unlike many university degrees, an adult nursing course often leads directly to a job. Students frequently take on voluntary work to add to their experience during their studies. This can include work in a hospital or care home. It can also help to speak to nurses about their employment path and get a feel for common progression routes.

There are opportunities for nurses to take their career to the next level by becoming a team leader, nursing consultant or nursing sister. If you decide to return to studying, a master’s degree can give you the qualifications you need to work as an advanced nurse practitioner. You could also be promoted to a managerial role and eventually apply to become a director of nursing. You’ll start on a salary of between £22,000 and £28,500 and with experience could take home £26,250 to £41,000. Nursing consultants can expect to earn up to £48,000.

Many nurses move into other areas of medical care including health visiting and midwifery. A nursing degree can also be used to pursue roles in other professions, including fields such as the social sciences. You could become a social worker, police officer or counsellor, or inspire the next generation of nurses in an educational job.

The future of nursing

As technology advances, nurses will need to keep up with developments, but they will also have many more tools at their disposal. Health services in the UK are stretched and there are already plans for processes to become automated. The NHS has set itself the goal of being paperless by 2020. Access to digital information will make it easier for nurses to offer patients the right care. New technology has already been introduced through recent Government projects, including real-time dashboards, digital images and online interactions.

As health services in the UK adapt to change and the increasing demands of a growing and aging population, nurses will play a vital role. Nursing is a diverse career path that brings with it numerous opportunities to progress and specialise. Take the first step towards your new career by beginning an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Health) and join our many employable graduates already finding success. Get in touch to discover more and enquire about our distance learning qualifications.


A-Z book of courses



More from Nursing


58 Responses

  1. John Expert says:

    Nice share. This information about Nursing courses is very useful. Keep writing such blogs and sharing with us as well.

  2. Ms Oluwakemi says:

    I want to study nursing in the university,my GCSE result is in my country and I study diploma in engineering.I want to become a qualify nurse and I don’t have my result here.How do I go about it and where will I start from.

  3. Lucy says:

    I haven’t got my science GCSE so I’ve chosen Business and health as social care, can I still become a nurse?

    • Admin says:

      Hi Lucy, only GCSE Maths and English are required, so you would be eligible for one of our Access to HE courses. Stonebridge

  4. Stephanie says:

    Hi, I don’t have my maths gcse but I have my English gcse and I also have my nvq level 3 in Anatomy and Physiology would this make me eligible? Thanks Steph

    • Admin says:

      Hi Stephanie, you will need to gain a C or above in GCSE Maths, but this can be achieved alongside an Access to HE course. Stonebridge

  5. Rachel Millar says:

    I have level 2 in both maths and English my GCSE grades ate not that good due to not paying attention would a level 2 get me on the course

    • Admin says:

      Hi Rachel, we would always suggest having the GCSEs, however please contact your university of choice to confirm their entry requirements. Stonebridge

  6. Maxine Ramsay says:

    I have maths and English in GCSE . I wanted to pursue a nursing career

  7. Rachel Wardroper says:

    I am from Canada and we don’t have GCSE’s or A levels. I gained good grades in all subjects through high school. Can these grades be translated to what I need here or must I take something more to qualify me?

  8. Erfan valizadeh says:

    I’m an Iranian student in Iran.i’m having a diploma in science and my score is18/47 and now i’m educating in pre-university and i will get my pre-university certificate on june2018.these Are my questions:
    1:could you apply for nursing for undergraduate students?
    2:what are the certificates should i have?
    3:is there any way that you help me to study there?
    4:can i do it without a-levels?cause it’s much expensive for me.
    Sorry about my question that i’m asking
    I’ll be thankful for your attention to my questions and helping me.

  9. Adenike says:

    HI, I am from Nigeria. I studied English in my first degree but I want to study nursing in the UK…please how can I go about it

  10. K johnson says:

    Hi I studied hairdressing and had to do an access course contains maths, I.t. And English, I also achieved an English higher(Scotland), would I still have to re do my maths gcse, as well as doin an access course to nursing?.

  11. Sibusisiwe Ndlovu says:

    Hi. I’m in Zimbabwe and would love to study nursing. I have 5 GCSE subjects but do not have math instead I have accounts. I would love to do an access to higher education diploma (health) through distance learning. Please advise as to how I can go about it.

  12. Aileen says:

    Good Morning!.. I have a 2 year computer programming diploma in the Philippines. I’m currently working in a wellness center here in Qatar (not a healthcare related position). I wanted to take a Nursing course by next year. How can i do it?

  13. S Muhammed says:

    Hello Sir / Madam,
    Please could you help me to find best direction to be a Nurse in uk. As I had a Nursing certificate at back home. Rather than that I worked as a Nurse for 6 years there. I got a Bussiness and Administration Level one certificate in uk . Now I am at Esol level 2 to improve my English a bit more. Colud you please let me know how I can start to be a nurse again?

  14. toni randalll says:

    hi I have a diploma level2 in health and social. would that count for the GCSE in maths and English?

  15. Blessing says:

    Hi. I’m Blessing. I want to study nursing in Uk. My GCSE maths is a pass. What do i do? I have a degree in medical laboratory science from Nigeria.

  16. danielle says:

    hi i have my maths and english level 3 i also have my level 2 and 3 NVQ also level 4 in end of life support. how do i go about starting my nursing course? do i need to do an access course first? i am also worried i wont be able to afford to come out of full time work while i study as i have 4 children, what help amd funding is availible. i am 29 so i am an older student

  17. danielle says:

    the NVQ2 and 3 are in health and social care

  18. Yasmine Bakri says:


    I am interested in becoming a nurse. However, I have a BA in English Literature with a minor in translation (English-Arabic). I live in Jerusalem but I have UK birth certificate. I want to move to the UK permanently. I don’t have any GCSE grades. Can I still apply? Are there any accommodations?

  19. Fiona says:

    Hi I did my GCSE in English and maths got cs in both and have done my NVQ level 2 in health and social care plus worked as a health care assistant for 6 years how do I go about getting on to a nursing course and studying from home

  20. Shahina khanom says:

    I have my Maths and English both level 2 .Can I be a nurse

  21. Sophie Brown says:

    Hi I have a c in both English and maths as well as 8 other GCSE’s I also have two a-levels and currently doing my level 3 nvq in adult health and social care. And planning to do my level 5 after this could I become a midwife and how would I go about that.

  22. Orugbaoghene Mba says:

    Hi, I’m a British Citizen hoping to relocate to the UK permanently in 2018 and also gain admission to study nursing *mental health nursing to be specific* I do not have GSCE but WASSCE, Can I still apply and how?

  23. Orugbaoghene Mba says:

    Are GSCE taken at O lvel or A level?

  24. Fardos kauser tabassum says:

    Hi i done healrh and social care level 2 did my maths and english with it got cs in both how do i go about getting on to nursing wirk as a care assistsnt at the moment

  25. Sanjida Begum says:

    I have got Maths and English gcse which I have got Cs. In College I have studied Btec Extended Diploma level 3 in Health and Social Care. i have done work experience in 2 different school settings. I’m currently studying education at university but im not really engaged with the subject as i always wanted to do something which involved medical. what I’m worried about is that I don’t have gcse science. does that stop me from being a nurse?

    • Kate Byrne says:

      Hello Sanjida.
      If you could provide us with a phone number or email address and let us know an appropriate time, we will get one of our advisers to give you a call back and fill you in on the details.

  26. Sharon topping says:

    Hi Am looking to do my nurse
    Training, am 46 this year with 30years experience in health & social care working in many different environments, I haven’t got any gcse but have L3 nvq, am worried as I need to work and pay my mortgage, so would like to no if I could get any financial support or I could still work
    Look forward to hearing from you
    Sharon topping

    • Kate Byrne says:

      Hello Sharon.
      If you could provide us with a phone number or email address and let us know an appropriate time, we will get one of our advisers to give you a call back and fill you in on the details.

  27. NARDOS OKBAY says:

    hi have health and social care level 2 A* but I don’t have GCSE .

    • Kate Byrne says:

      If you could provide us with a phone number or email address and let us know an appropriate time, we will get one of our advisers to give you a call back and fill you in on the details.

  28. uget says:

    hi..i would love to study adult nursing. I have WAEC from ghanana and also a Bsc degree in Natural Resources Management from ghana. Do i qualify?

    • Kate Byrne says:

      Hello Uget.
      If you could provide us with a phone number or email address and let us know an appropriate time, we will get one of our advisers to give you a call back and fill you in on the details.

  29. Karen cole says:

    How soon would I be able to get on this course or could I start the degree alongside completing my theory for English and maths through college.
    I have not studied for 20 years + and only have car.

    • Kate Byrne says:

      Hello Karen.
      If you could provide us with a phone number or email address and let us know an appropriate time, we will get one of our advisers to give you a call back and fill you in on the details.

  30. Karen cole says:

    I have not studied for many years. I am looking to do my English and maths to bring these up to date and am considering doing the access to nursing diploma. Am I able to do this course alingside studying for these two subjects. Do universities also do the nursing through university as a part time course to complete alongside working fulltime? I live in the Cambridgeshire area.
    Am I able to do all this for entry in 2018 or 2019?

    • Kate Byrne says:

      Hello Karen.
      If you could provide us with a phone number or email address and let us know an appropriate time, we will get one of our advisers to give you a call back and fill you in on the details.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *