Key Points in Brief


How do I apply?

You need to find an employer who will employ you as an apprentice.


Currently AHPO is providing the training for the following apprenticeship for levy paying employers only:


Apprenticeship Standard in Health Care Science Associate (Level 4) / Ophthalmic and Vision Science (OVS).


When can I start and how long does it take?

You can start the apprenticeship at any time.  It will take approximately 24 months.


How much will it cost?

It won’t cost you anything.  All costs associated with your apprenticeship, including the cost of training and your salary will be paid by your employer.  You will need internet access, telephone and a computer / laptop (which you will have to provide and most likely have), and there may travel or accommodation costs for workshops you should attend (your employer should cover these costs for you)


What are the entry requirements?

English and Maths Level 2 or GCSEs at grade A*-C [1-4] are desirable.  However, you must achieve a minimum of Level 2 before you complete your apprenticeship.


What qualification do I get?

BTEC Level 4 Diploma in Healthcare Science delivered by AHPO and awarded by Pearson.


How do I achieve the Apprenticeship Standard?

The mandatory requirements to achieve the Apprenticeship Standard are as follows:

Minimum of Level 2 in English and Maths

BTEC Level 4 Diploma in Healthcare Science / OVS

Collect evidence of personal and professional development from two multisource feedback exercises

Pass an End Point Assessment


What training do I get and what resources do I need?

Your employer will pay you a salary, will provide your work based training and provide a mentor.  AHPO will provide your learning materials on an ipad, an assessor and an electronic portfolio.  You will need access to a computer or laptop, mobile phone and the internet (in the workplace and at home).


Where will I study?

Your employer, the apprenticeship training provider (AHPO) and the apprentice (you) agree a contract for provision of the apprenticeship.  In the contract, the employer must give you 20% protected workplace study and training time at work.  You will also be expected to study at home.  This will involve reading, writing assignments and essays, collecting evidence, and keeping a reflective diary.  You will upload all your work and evidence of competence to an electronic portfolio.


What does the qualification consist of?

The BTEC Level 4 Diploma in Healthcare Science has 10 mandatory units and 122 optional units.  Each specialism within Healthcare Science can select optional units appropriate for the training of their staff.  AHPO is only offering the Level 4 Diploma in Healthcare Science / Ophthalmic and Vision Science, which consists of the 10 mandatory units and 12 optional units that are listed here


More information


Apprenticeship Overview

When apprentices successfully complete the BTEC Diploma and their workplace training is completed, they must undertake an End-Point Assessment (EPA).  (Non-apprentices on the BTEC Diploma programme do not need an EPA).  End-point-assessments are normally taken over the course of a day and are graded.  They are administered by an organisation on the Register of Apprentice Assessment and must be independent of both the employer and the training provider.  As a training provider AHPO does not and cannot undertake end-point assessments.  For more detailed information on the Healthcare Science Associate Apprenticeship – End-point Assessment Plan (EPA) please download the document here


Information for employers

Skills for Health has published an informative document “Healthcare Science Associate (HCS Associate) Apprenticeship: An Employer’s Brief on the new Standard at Level 4” that can be accessed from here


The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA, formerly SFA) is accountable for funding education and regulating education and training providers. You can access ESFA information about apprenticeships for Healthcare Science Associates here.  If you follow the link find training providers you can see that AHPO is listed as a national training provider.


After completing the BTEC Level 4 Diploma….

AHPO will be providing and awarding a Level 5 Diploma in Ophthalmic and Vision Science for learners who successfully complete the Level 4 BTEC Diploma and wish to progress to the next career level.  We believe some universities are preparing to provide Level 6 Degree Apprenticeships that may include an option for Ophthalmic and Vision Science.


Professional Recognition

Ophthalmic Healthcare Science Associates can apply to join the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) Practitioner Register through the equivalence route. They would need to be working at practitioner level and provide evidence of knowledge and competence at this level. For further information visit here


Useful links and more information


Please contact our apprenticeship coordinator for more information

Apprenticeship Standard in Healthcare Science Associate (Level 4)

Level 4 Diploma in Healthcare Science / Ophthalmic and Vision Science Course Content

Healthcare Science Associate Apprenticeship – End point Assessment Plan (EPA)

Information for Employers on the Apprenticeship

Find Apprenticeship training for Healthcare Science Associate (Level 4)

Associate Register of Academy for Healthcare Science