Career Options in Healthcare without a Degree

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It is not necessary for you to have any type of academic degree in order to find a career in healthcare. Here are some of the professions you might consider if you lack a graduate qualification:

Healthcare Assistant/ Auxiliary Nurse

A healthcare assistant (HCA) works under the direction of a nurse, and this healthcare professional plays a vital role in proper functioning of hospital wards and other departments. Their responsibilities include tasks such as:

  • Helping patients maintain their hygiene needs

  • Making beds and keeping the ward tidy

  • Checking blood pressure, pulse rate, and temperature

  • Helping patients who are unable to feed themselves

  • Listening to patients and offering them support

  • Helping the patient to mobilize or go to the toiled

  • Monitoring patients

It is not necessary for a healthcare assistant to have a degree. It is possible to gain access to this profession with just GCSEs and completion of a HCA course (this usually lasts a few weeks). If you are hired as a healthcare assistant, there are going to be opportunities to gain more qualifications or even train to be a general nurse.

Maternity Support Worker

A maternity support worker (MSW) works alongside the midwife in much the same way that the HCA works alongside the qualified nurse. This can be a particularly enjoyable career because it means being there to welcome new life into the world. As well as doing tasks similar to the HCA, the MSW can also usually do things like take blood samples and setting up equipment. The usual entry requirement for this type of work is an NVQ Level 2 or something similar.

Operating Department Technicians

The operating department technician (ODT) works in the surgical area, and they assist the surgeon, anesthetist, and surgical nurse. This can be a very demanding job because everything in this environment has to be tightly controlled. The ODT needs to not only be able to follow instructions but also use their initiative. It is usually necessary to have at least A-levels to gain access to this type of career in healthcare.

Administrative Healthcare Job

There are many different types of administrative healthcare jobs to choose from such as: receptionist, secretary, or working in the medical billing department. The qualifications required for administrative jobs vary, but it is possible to be considered for most of these positions without the need for an academic degree.


The phlebotomist is trained to take blood from patients. It is important that anyone involved in this type of profession has a good bed-side manner because most patients don’t like having their blood taken. The phlebotomist needs to be able to put in the needle and take the blood while creating as little discomfort as possible. It is possible to find work as a phlebotomist with just GCSEs – most of the training involved takes place on the job.

Pharmacy Technician

The pharmacy technician works alongside the pharmacist and their job is to help prepare medications. It is important that you are calm and able to focus in order to perform this role safely. Preparing drugs incorrectly could put a life at risk, so you need to be very dedicated and diligent in order to work in this healthcare profession. If you do have the right personality for this profession, the only qualifications you need are GCSEs

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