Returning to the allied health professions

Return to practice for allied health professionals (AHPs) is a programme for AHPs who have left their profession to re-enter and gain their registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

If you already have the skills and experience to make a big difference to patients, clients, carers and their families, Health Education England (HEE) is keen to help you on your return to practice (RtP) journey. 

Sign for orthotics department

Updating your skills

If you have had a career break, you may need to undertake a period of updating your skills and knowledge before you can return to work in the healthcare sector (including the NHS, private, voluntary and independent sector) and become re-registered on the HCPC professional register.

The HCPC defines a returnee to practice as an individual who has been out of practice for more than two years. This applies to you if your registration has lapsed, or if you did not go on to register once finishing your qualifications, and therefore have not practised.

The HCPC recommends these minimum requirements to update your skills:

Register your interest

The first step on your return to practice (RtP) journey is to let HEE know that you are thinking of returning to practice. They can then keep you up to date with any new courses, funding and support that is available to you.

Follow this link on the HEE website to register your interest. 

RtP requirements for your profession

Your professional body will be able to let you know the specific RtP requirements and courses available for your profession.

Find the web page for your profession from the list below, and use the contact details provided in the Further information section to contact your professional body. 

Art therapist, diagnostic radiographerdietitian, dramatherapist, hearing aid dispenser, music therapist, occupational therapist, operating department practitioner, orthoptist, paramedic, physiotherapist, podiatristpractitioner psychologist, prosthetist/orthotist, therapeutic radiographer, social worker in England, speech and language therapist.

Supporting your study

A number of local universities and NHS trusts are encouraging returnees to work with them to gain the relevant skills and knowledge to meet the re-registration requirements for the HCPC.

HEE can provide funding for out-of-pocket expenses and any relevant RtP course or appropriate postgraduate study delivered by English universities running pre-registration programmes for allied health professionals.

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