How to become a learning disability nurse
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
You can do a degree in learning disability nursing approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council.
Some degree courses let you study another field of nursing alongside learning disability nursing. These are known as 'dual field' degrees.
You may be able to join a nursing degree on the second year of a course if you already have a degree in:
- a health-related subject
- life sciences
- social work
Full-time courses usually take 3 years.
You could be eligible for extra help to fund your studies through the NHS Learning Support Fund.
It's possible to do an 'integrated practice' degree that leads to registration as both a learning disabilities nurse and generic social worker. You'll need to check that the course is recognised by the relevant professional bodies for both professions. Course providers can advise you on this.
If you already have a relevant degree, you might also be able to study for a postgraduate qualification.
You'll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 2 or 3 A levels, including a science, or a level 3 diploma or access to higher education in health, science or nursing
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
You may be able to do a degree apprenticeship in nursing if you work in a healthcare setting like a hospital.
The apprenticeship takes around 4 years and is a mix of academic study and on-the-job training.
You must be supported by your employer to take this route.
To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in social care or healthcare work before you apply for nurse training.
You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.
- you'll need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council
When applying for degree courses or an apprenticeship, you'll be expected to show an understanding of how NHS values apply in your work.