Cert HE: Healthcare Education (Adult or Mental Health)

The Certificate in Healthcare Education at Aberystwyth University aims to provide an inclusive learning experience which meets the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s [NMC] Education standards for Part 1 nurse-training. This means that our Cert HE students will undertake studies equivalent to the first year of our pre-registration BSc nurse training programme over a two-year period. The programme will be delivered and assessed in partnership with local Practice Learning Partners, and will enable students to deliver person-centred, holistic care to the people they encounter in clinical practice.

Due to funding arrangements, students must be employed in a healthcare role within a health or social care setting within the Mid Wales region to be eligible for the programme.

Key Facts

Course duration: 2 years, part time

120 credits at Level 4

Why study Healthcare Education at Aberystwyth University?

Our academic staff are registered nurses and allied health professionals, many of whom are also practising clinicians, providing an exceptional combination of theoretical rigour, professional insight and practice-based experiences. In addition, we have strong partnership working arrangements with Welsh Health Boards within the locality, who are able to provide specific expertise for bespoke learning opportunities and specialist input within theory modules.

Students’ clinical and academic skills are developed within a strong and established system of support through personal tutors within the Healthcare Education Centre, enabling students to develop skills such as academic writing, reflection, critical thinking and decision-making. This is complemented by other learning activities within the programme, including sessions in our Clinical Skills Unit, a simulation unit where students can learn and practise clinical skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Programme structure

There are five modules delivered part-time over a two-year period, which are reflective of the learning undertaken when our full-time students complete the first year of the BSc pre-registration nursing programme.

There are two theory modules in year 1 of the Cert HE programme, and one theory module in year 2. In addition, there will also be one practice-based longitudinal module delivered across year 1 and 2, and students will complete this module in their substantive employment areas.

Theory modules are 7 weeks in duration and will be delivered in semester 1 and 2 of the University calendar for year 1 and semester 1 only in year 2. You will be released for 15 hours per week from your substantive post to attend theory modules. Self-directed learning hours will also be a requirement of the programme.

The practice-based module will span all three University semester periods, enabling students to have the time required to complete all aspects (including the clinical hours) of the All-Wales Practice Assessment [PAD] document. Submission of the ePAD will be in semester 2/year 2.

You can study 50% of your Cert HE through the medium of Welsh. Our practice-based module is supported by Welsh-speaking Practice Supervisors and Practice Assessors, and you may complete the PAD through the medium of Welsh. Whilst the theory modules will be delivered through the medium of English, students can complete/submit the summative assessment components within these modules through the medium of Welsh.


Year 1

Module 1:         Introduction to Nursing Practice (20 credits)

Two summative assessments are included (1 x exam and 1 x written assignment)

Module 2:         Developing Nursing Practice (20 credits)

Two summative assessments are included (1 x exam and 1 x written assignment)

Module 3:         Demonstrating Nursing Practice (Longitudinal module which continues into Year 2/Module 5)

Commencement and working towards achieving the All-Wales Practice Assessment Document will be commenced in this Module; however, submission of the portfolio will not be required until year 2/Module 5

Year 2

Module 4:         Developing Knowledge of the Human Body (40 credits)

Two summative assessments are included (1 x exam and 1 x written assignment)

Module 5:         Demonstrating Nursing Practice (60 credits)

Completion of all requirements for Part 1 of the All-Wales Practice Assessment Document

Teaching and Learning

What will I learn?

Throughout the Cert HE programme, we will concentrate on introducing students to nursing theory and principles which are complemented by working in professional practice. Cross-field modules, where both adult and mental health field students are taught together, will focus on providing holistic, person-centred care and will develop understanding of human development, factors influencing health and well-being, service delivery, professional nursing practice, human anatomy, physiology and integrated pharmacology. The theory modules will also prepare students to develop their essential care skills by undertaking practical sessions in our state-of-the-art, multi-professional Clinical Skills Unit.

How will I be taught?

We use a variety of teaching methods to deliver the cert HE programme, and our students will benefit from a flexible, blended learning approach.

Students will be released for 15 hours a week from their substantive employment for a 7-week theory module delivery timescale. This will involve participation in learning activities which includes, for example, lead lectures, group work, scenarios, clinical skills sessions, online learning and pre-recorded sessions. In addition, students are also expected to undertake 95 hours of self-directed study per 7-week theory module.

There will be two theory modules delivered in year 1, and one theory module delivered in year 2 of our Cert HE programme.

In addition, whilst continuing to work in their substantive clinical roles, students must complete a total of 800 clinical hours per year via Module 3 and 5, which are the longitudinal practice-based modules and must complete all required elements within the All-Wales Practice Assessment Document [PAD] for Part 1. Whilst the theory module may commence a little later in the Autumn Semester, accrual of clinical practice hours and achievement of competencies can commence from September – August in year 1, and then September to end of March in year 2. Students will submit their PAD around Easter time in Semester 2 in the second year. 

Students will be supported and assessed in clinical practice by allocated Practice Supervisors, Practice Assessors and Academic Assessors.

Fees and Finance

This programme is commissioned by Health Education and Improvement Wales [HEIW], and as such those successful in obtaining a study place will have their course fees paid for them. Therefore, there is no cost implication for individual students or their employers. 

Additional Costs

The University provides educational and recreational resources that will assist you during your studies, such as library facilities, books, electronic platforms, on-site computers and study spaces, free of charge. However, some services will incur additional costs which will be at your own expense, such as printing, stationary and sports affiliations. 

You are also strongly advised to consider subscription to a Union such as RCN or Unison to ensure indemnity and professional support during your training.

The catchment area for our Cert HE programme covers the Mid Wales locality where the geography can be quite rural, and you will be expected to make your own arrangements regarding transportation to any spoke placements. Travelling to your clinical placement areas will be at your expense, as this is your usual substantive place of work.

Some aspects of your programme may also incur some element of cost, for example, conference fees, trips, educational visits, community projects and so forth.  These will be communicated to you at the earliest opportunity, and we will endeavour to keep additional costs to a minimum.


This programme will give students the experience, skills and qualification to either progress into our part-time pre-registration BSc Nursing programme, commencing in Part 2 (year 2) or progress their clinical roles within the healthcare sector, such as becoming a Band 4 Assistant Practitioner.

Entry Requirements

Due to funding arrangements, students must be employed in a health or social care setting within the Mid Wales region to be eligible to complete the programme.

The Healthcare Education Centre at Aberystwyth University promotes an inclusive admission criterion; however, applicants who are unsure of their admission qualifications are encouraged to discuss their academic achievements and experiences with the Healthcare Education Centre’s Admissions Tutor (nrsstaff@aber.ac.uk). 

Entry criteria includes Level 3 qualifications OR Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning [APEL] (as listed below)


Those without Level 3 qualifications can explore admission to the programme via an APEL pathway.  Please discuss this further with Angharad Jones, Scheme Coordinator (nrsstaff@aber.ac.uk). 


LEVEL 3 (for example):

  • 3 A-Levels – BCC/CCC
  • The Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above)
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM-MMM
  • BTEC Diploma – D*D-DD
  • Access to HE Diploma – Merit overall
  • International Baccalaureate – 26-28
  • European Baccalaureate – 26% overall
  • Or any other equivalent qualifications.

Additional Requirements

In order to comply with professional requirements, the admission criteria also include: 

  • GCSE* (or recognised alternative) at a minimum grade C/4 in:

English/Welsh Language and Mathematics

*Please note that if applicants do not have these qualifications, then they will be supported to achieve these during the programme. 

  • Mandatory training compliance as stipulated by the applicant’s employer which meets programme requirements for Part 1, to include:
    • Basic Life Support
    • Moving and Handling
    • Violence and Aggression
    • Hand Hygiene
    • Welsh Language Awareness
    • Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity
    • Safeguarding (Adults and Children)
    • Infection Prevention and Control
    • Data Governance.
  • Application and approval for employer study leave and Line Manager agreement.
  • Good Health and Good Character assessment (see Fitness to Practise information below):
    • Confirmation/evidence of Occupational Health screening (which is required within the applicant’s post/completed by your employer), providing any relevant information to the Healthcare Education Team, which may require consideration for reasonable adjustment or Fitness to Practise panel.
    • Confirmation/evidence of the completion of Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Screening (which is required within the applicant’s post/completed by your employer), with results meeting professional requirements. Relevant information will need to be provided to the Healthcare Education Team, which may require consideration for reasonable adjustment or Fitness to Practise panel.

Please see guidance-on-health-and-character-august-2020.pdf (nmc.org.uk) for more information.

Fitness to Practise

Good health and character requirements as stipulated in NMC legislation means that you are capable of safe and effective practice either with or without reasonable adjustments. It does not mean the absence of a health condition or disability. Therefore, should any issues regarding your health and character be identified through our screening processes, a Fitness to Practise Panel will look at each individual situation and make a decision regarding your eligibility to be accepted onto the programme. If you have any concerns about this, please feel free to discuss this further with the Admissions Tutor.

The Fitness to Practise Panel also consider students’ health and character throughout the programme as well, should any incidences and/or ill-health occur during your training which will impact on your learning and/or on clinical placements. You can access support and advice regarding your health and well-being via Student Support and Career Services at any time during the programme.

How to Apply

NHS/Health Board Applications

We work collaboratively with Hywel Dda University Health Board and Powys Teaching Health Board, and those interested in applying for this course must initially complete internal Health Board processes for applying for study leave and obtain senior line managerial agreement to be supported/released to enrol for this programme. This process will involve completing the relevant application documents, which includes Aberystwyth University’s application form and will involve an interview.

For further information, please contact:

Hywel Dda University Health Board:

Allyson Thomas, Grow Your Own Manager


Powys Teaching Health Board:          

Sue Duff Practice Education Facilitator


Sarah Le Gat, Practice Education Facilitator


All Other Applications:

For all other applications, please discuss your application with your health/social care employer and in line with their study leave process, complete Aberystwyth University’s application form and submit as per the instructions on the form.

Some Social Care providers, specifically Care Homes within the geographic locality of Mid Wales are supported by Care Home Education Facilitators, as these areas provide student placement opportunities for pre-registration nursing students. Prospective applicants for the Level 4 programme can be supported with their application by contacting the following colleagues for advice and support.

Mid Wales Locality:

Sarah Kingdom-Mills, Care Home Education Facilitator Regional Lead for South West Wales



Healthcare Education Direct Entry Application Form


Student Selection

After receiving your application, the Healthcare Education Centre’s Admission Tutors and Admission Department will read through/clarify your documents in order to confirm that you meet the admission criteria required for enrolment for the programme.   

If an interview forms part of your internal study leaves processes with your employer, then you will not be required to attend another interview with Aberystwyth University.  However, where this is not the case, then you will be invited to attend a Student Selection Event. Please make it clear whether you’ve received an employer-required interview on Aberystwyth University’s application form. 

 Student Selection Event

The University’s Student Selection Events will be supported by internal Healthcare Education staff, Practice Learning Partners, service users/carers/members of the public or students. These events will either be in-person or on-line interviews, which focus on a values-based approach and are in line with the All-Wales Student Recruitment Selection Principles.

Study Offers

Once all of the admission information is clarified and Aberystwyth University-led Student Selection Events are completed (if required), we will identify and agree our prospective student cohort as soon as possible, and we will aim to provide study offers shortly after.

Please note that the places to study on this programme can be extremely competitive, and if you fail to secure a study place at this attempt, we would strongly urge you to apply again in the future. 

Note for Employers

Practice-based learning comprises 50% of the overall Level 4 programme, and as such students must be supported in the clinical area by Practice Supervisors and Practice Assessors. These are qualified, registered nurses with a live NMC registration, who have been suitably prepared to undertake these roles, following undertaking the All-Wales SSSA training programme. If your clinical area doesn’t have registered nurses at all, or registered nurses who have completed this training, but have interested applicants for the Level 4 programme, please contact Angharad Jones, Scheme Coordinator (nrsstaff@aber.ac.uk) to discuss further.