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See below for answers to some common questions about AHPs.

What are the average grades needed at A-level?

Entry requirements vary amongst universities, ranging from CCC to BBB at A-Level (or equivalent). Although many universities will accept BTEC qualifications, entry requirements may vary depending on institutions.

How long does it take to train?

The requirements of each AHP differ slightly. However, the usual route is a 3-year undergraduate course at university. Most of the time, these courses allow you to be hands on and to deal with real patients in a real work environment – giving you a great insight into the life of an AHP.

Do I need work experience?

Universities may ask students to have prior experience in a professional health environment. Why not get in touch with your local AHP departments to see if you can visit? This will also help to give you some insight into the professions and help you to decide which course to study. It can be challenging finding a good placement so it may also be worth considering work experience with care homes, charity volunteering or with St John Ambulance. Feel free to contact us if you need any advice about work experience in an AHP department:

Can I do an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships for AHPs are still very new – however they are evolving as we speak so keep a look out for updates! Currently Podiatry, Paramedics, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Occupational Therapy, Operating Department Practice and Physiotherapy, to name a few, offer degree apprenticeships. To find an apprenticeship, search: apprenticeshipsearch

What level of salary do most practitioners earn?

The highest band is definitely obtainable. However, most practitioners are in the mid-range salaries rather than the top bands which require you to have a specialism, or to have senior responsibilities. Please refer to Health Careers website for most up to date pay salaries and bands.

Is Art, Drama or Music therapy an undergraduate degree?

Unfortunately, not, these are postgraduate subjects and can be completed following a degree in the relevant subject

Is your job gory?

Sometimes some elements of the work can be gory depending what role you train in e.g. if you are a diagnostic radiographer working in accident and emergency you might see a patient who has had a serious accident or injury. However, the complete opposite is that you might be a dramatherapist working in the community and won’t encounter ‘gory’ related injuries or illnesses. A lot of AHP work is not based in a hospital environment and most patients do not have gory injuries or illnesses. However occasionally you might see something if based working in a hospital. Therefore, being comfortable working within a hospital environment or clinic, or with people in the community is essential. It is important to remember that the advantage of training as an AHP, is that it is a vocational training course, so you are training ‘on the job’ as well as in the University or college setting. This means you learn and see new areas of work and receive mentoring and support from experienced and supportive staff within a team. They will teach and guide you with how to cope at work should there be any elements you are not comfortable with. Most people find that their priority becomes providing the best possible care to patients which is also very rewarding. It is always best to do your research about the specific job you are interested in if you’re unsure what it involves.

Is your job depressing or sad?

It very much depends on what type of AHP role you train in. Some aspects of AHP work can be sad if you are working with someone very ill or who will not get better, or simply having difficulties in life that perhaps you can relate to. You might also be working with families and friends of that adult or child who are perhaps distressed or worried. However, AHP workers always work in teams and support each other with their work. They also undertake training programmes based in the environments that they would eventually work in. This will enable you to learn all the skills needed in case you are working with distressed members of the public. There is support available to help you with your work. It is important to remember that one of the many advantages of AHP work is that if a patient or family member is worried or distressed, your role (meaning the way you communicate with a patient or member of the public) can really help reassure the person you are working with. Therefore, you are making a difference to these people’s lives and can see the impact which can be extremely rewarding.

Do you have good job satisfaction?

Yes, AHP roles can be very satisfying. The roles are varied and being an AHP is different to sitting in one place doing an office-based job, as you are dealing with people. Often no two days are the same. Plus, these are specialist roles that have all sorts of exciting and interesting elements to the work e.g. highly advanced technology or equipment, computer software, creative arts or science, psychology and research. In addition, all AHP roles need to keep up to date with the type of work they do. There is always something new to learn or find out about to ensure you are up to date with all the latest developments in healthcare in your work, regardless of the specific AHP role you might train in. If you like working with people, whether it’s caring for people or working in a team, this may be the job for you.

What is the best part of your job?

This depends very much on what you’re interested in. The common element is that all AHPs tend to enjoy working with people, whether it’s about the patients, their family and friends, or carers they work with or the teams in the healthcare environment. However, some elements of the roles particularly interest certain people who might then go on and specialise in their AHP area. Perhaps you love research or holistic care of patients? Or you enjoy technology, creative science, education and training, business management or leading teams? All of these are areas that AHPs can work or specialise in. Once qualified and once you have basic core level experience you could choose to specialise in your AHP role. Alternatively, you may decide to go into other careers in the NHS or private sector, or further your studies using your experience and skills for portfolio careers. The huge advantage of an AHP training programme or degree is that you are trained to do a job at the same time as studying e.g. degree or equivalent level. Once you qualify in one of these jobs and receive your professional registration, you are qualified to work immediately e.g. complete all of the training and gain your qualification, and you can apply for jobs and start working and earning straight away.

What’s the worst part of your job?

This is unique depending on what you as a person tend to like or dislike. Some people dislike paperwork, however sometimes completing that paperwork or using systems helps to get the work done. Often this is necessary to ensure relevant information or safety checks are in place. Every job will have its downsides. It is important to undertake research carefully regarding the different AHP jobs in order to find the training and role that may be right for you.

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