Preparing for the first registered nursing associates

We've published guidance to help prepare education providers for the nursing associate part of our register opening.

Find out more

Assessing programme comparability

The first applicants eligible to join the new nursing associate part of our register won’t have a qualification from a programme that we’ve approved.

Before these students can join our register, we have to assess whether their qualification is comparable to a qualification from an NMC-approved programme.

How we'll assess comparability

There are transitional arrangements in place to register students who began their training before 26 July 2019 via a:

  • Health Education England (HEE) approved pilot site, and/or
  • nursing associate apprenticeship programme.

We’ll assess their qualification through our comparability assessment – this is in two parts:

a) Programme level assurance: This is formal assurance that the programme is compliant with HEE’s Curriculum Framework (we’ll use the outcome of HEE’s QA exercise to inform this judgement).

b) Student level assurance: This is confirmation from the AEI awarding the qualification that each student has:

  • been assessed against and met our standards of proficiency for nursing associates
  • achieved the number of learning hours required by HEE’s Curriculum Framework
  • benefited from a breadth of placement experience in keeping with a generic (non-field specific) role.

If we deem a qualification comparable, applicants can apply to our register as if they have an approved qualification.

If we cannot deem a qualification comparable, applicants will need to pass a test of competence before they can apply to join the register.

Guidance on the registration process

Once their students have achieved their nursing associate qualifications and the exam boards have met, education institutions need to upload data and complete declarations about their students.

Find out more about uploading nursing associate student data.

We've also published guidance on what’s required from education providers throughout the registration process for the first nursing associate students.

Download our slides for education providers involved in pilot sites.

If you have any questions, email

Running a nursing associate education programme

After 26 July 2019, new students can only start their training on a nursing associate programme that we've approved.

We'll use our quality assurance framework to approve nursing associate programmes. Find out more about how we approve education programmes.

Nursing associate apprenticeships

The nursing associate apprenticeship standard is available to employers and the apprenticeship levy can be used for training fees. The standard requires nursing associate apprenticeships to be delivered by an NMC-approved AEI for pre-registration nursing.