How to become a health play specialist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You'll need a foundation degree in a healthcare play specialism to register with the Healthcare Play Specialist Education Trust. This is a 2-year, part-time course. To get onto the course, you usually need:
- a childcare qualification at level 3 or above
- GCSEs or equivalent in English and maths
- at least 2 years' experience of working with children - paid or voluntary
Courses are a mix of practical work and theory. If you're not already working in healthcare play, you need to arrange a placement during the course.
You may be able to do a health play specialist higher apprenticeship.
You will need some experience of working with children in a childcare or healthcare setting.
There may be opportunities with the NHS, as well as independent and private providers of healthcare services. You can find vacancies through NHS Jobs and the National Association of Health Play Specialists.
You'll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
You could start as a play assistant with a relevant childcare qualification at level 3 and work your way up by training on the job.
Many health play specialists have a background in nursery work. You could also do this job with experience and qualifications in related areas, like community play, nursing, occupational therapy, social work, teaching, art, drama or music therapy.
When applying for jobs and apprenticeships, you'll be expected to have an understanding of how NHS values apply in your work.