Educating nursing associates

Preparing for the first registered nursing associates

We've uploaded the slides from our recent webinar for education providers involved in pilot sites to help prepare them for the nursing associate part of our register opening.

Find out more

Registering the first nursing associate students

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.

We can’t make any decisions on comparability until the register opens on 28 January 2019.

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

Download our webinar slides for education providers involved in pilot sites.

These slides cover what’s required from education providers throughout the registration process for the first nursing associate students.

If you have any questions, email

Running a nursing associate education programme

Until 26 July 2019, Health Education England (HEE) pilot sites and nursing associate apprenticeship programmes can continue to accept new starters onto programmes we have not approved. 

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.

If you want to train nursing associates before we consider your programmes for approval (up until 26 July 2019), we would advise you to join a consortium under HEE’s oversight, or to seek HEE’s approval for a new consortium. 

This will ensure thorough quality assurance of your programme which should mean a simpler route to registration for your students.

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.

It’s currently based on the HEE's Curriculum Framework but will be shortly updated to reflect our standards for nursing associates.