Assistant Practitioner - Level 5


Assistant practitioners work at a level above that of healthcare support workers and have more in-depth education and understanding about factors that influence health and ill-health, for example anatomy and physiology. Support workers at this level will possess enhanced skills in their area of work, which may be a specialist clinical area. They will provide routine and non-routine care and support, including to service users with more complex needs and making assessment of progress. They can demonstrate own activities to new or less experienced employees and provide training to others.

Skills and knowledge

To become an Assistant Practitioner you will need:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • organisational skills
  • good teamwork


To train as an assistant practitioner, you have to be working in the NHS, often in a clinical support role such as healthcare assistant or dietetic assistant.

As well as healthcare experience, trainee assistant practitioners have a healthcare qualification, usually at level 3, such as the NCFE CACHE Diploma in Healthcare Support.

Routes into this job

You could do a foundation degree (FdA) higher apprenticeship in Health and Social Care for an Assistant Practitioner role, combining on and off-the-job learning and development.


You will usually need to be working a minimum of 30 hours per week in a role relevant to the higher apprenticeship and your employer needs to be participating in the higher apprenticeship scheme.

Applicants should also have four GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent), preferably including English and Mathematics (see below). Previous experience in the health and social care sector may be taken into account if an applicant doesn’t meet the academic entry requirements for the course.

Career progression

You could become a senior assistant practitioner, supervising the work of other clinical support staff. With experience, and as long as you can demonstrate that you have the academic ability to study at degree level, you could apply to train as a healthcare professional. Once you’ve graduated from your undergraduate degree and you’ve registered to UKPHR practitioner registration you will be a fully registered practitioner.

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