There is a range of qualifications offered at higher education level by both universities and colleges.

If you are looking for higher education study that combines academic studies with hands-on placement experience, you might want to look at a BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND). This two year qualification is available in subjects such as Care Practice or Health and Social Care.

Foundation degrees are designed and delivered in partnership with employers to equip people with the relevant knowledge and skills for business. They are offered by universities in partnership with higher education colleges and further education colleges. The study methods can be very flexible, which means that they are available to people already in work, those wishing to embark on a career change and to those who have recently completed level 3 qualifications (e.g. A-levels, Advanced Apprenticeships or NVQ3).

Universities and colleges set their own entry requirements. Formal qualifications are not always necessary as appropriate experience can be more relevant. Foundation Degrees deliver the specialist knowledge and skills required in practice, whilst being underpinned by broad based academic learning.

On completing a Foundation Degree, employment may be your major focus or you can take the opportunity to progress to a full honours degree with around 12 months of further study.

You will find a wide range of Foundation Degrees relevant to the social care sector including:

  • Supported & Community Housing
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Visual Impairment
  • Playwork
  • Working with Young People
  • Health and Social Care
  • Social & Community Care
  • Care Management
  • Working with Older Persons
  • Counselling
  • Working with Families and Communities
  • Working with Vulnerable Adults
  • Social Care
  • Youth and Community Work
  • Community Justice

Honours degree courses are also available in subjects such as Social Care, Health and Social Care, Working with Children and Young People and Learning Disabilities Studies. Degrees tend to be more theoretical courses but many will provide an opportunity for some work experience alongside your academic studies. Many degrees are not vocational, allowing students to keep their options open. Courses can often be combined with other subjects such as applied psychology, social policy or sociology.