Becoming a nursing associate

There are 35 test sites currently training the first 2,000 nursing associates.

The Secretary of State for Health announced in October 2017 there will be a further 5000 nursing associate places in 2018, and 7500 in 2019. Further information about new opportunities to train as nursing associates will be available soon.

In the meantime if you’re currently employed as a healthcare professional you can express your interest in becoming a nursing associate to your employer and seek their advice on options available to you.

Trainees who have started programmes before the NMC is the regulator

Some people are training as nursing associates (against HEE’s curriculum framework) before we’ve set standards of education and approved education programmes. This means we’ll need a process in place to make sure they can show that they meet our standards before they join our register.

Changes to our legislation, expected in July 2018, should give us the power to assess whether a non-NMC approved qualification is comparable to an approved one. We’re working with HEE on a process of quality assurance for the programmes they are overseeing, so that we have a basis on which to assess comparability with approved routes to registration.

It’s likely that the first nursing associate apprentices will also be starting programmes before the NMC is the regulator for nursing associates. We’ll need to establish whether there is a process by which we can ensure a similar level of assurance about apprenticeships.

Where we think a qualification is not comparable there is still a route to registration via a test of competence.


Nursing associates will have to pay a registration fee to join the register. We’re proposing that the registration fees for registered nursing associates are broadly in line with those for registered nurses and midwives. That’s because we expect similar regulatory processes to apply.

We'll be holding a formal consultation on what the fees for nursing associates should be.

We’ll also be consulting on all of the standards and requirements for nursing associates in spring 2018.

Applicants outside of England

Nursing associate is an England role only at the moment. That’s because there are no plans to use the role in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Because of this, proposed changes to our legislation will mean that we can only approve nursing associate education programmes in England.

But there will be opportunities for us to assess the comparability of qualifications gained by people in other countries, including other countries of the UK. This process will be developed in 2018.