How do you become a Nursery Nurse?

Do you love working and caring for kids? Then maybe becoming a nursery nurse or a nursey assistant is the job for you. What college courses to take, or should I apply for an apprenticeship or go to university? If you keep reading, you can find out exactly what skills and qualifications you need to have a successful career as a nursery nurse or a nusery assistant. Also, you’ll find out how much you can make as a nursery nurse or nusery assistant and the minimum age you need to start.

What do Nursery Nurses do?

As a nursery assistant, you will plan and supervise activities for children, such as arts and crafts, music and basic cooking. You will also be involved in developing children's numeracy and literacy skills with different activities.

Of course, you will be participating in fun activities such as singing and storytelling to entertain the children. Nursery assistants also help more senior members with outings to parks, museums or adventure parks.

There are various ages you will look after; you will need to feed and change babies. Ensure all children are safe, fed and have taken their much-needed nap. Your observation of children's development and interaction with others must be recorded to notify parents and guardians.

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What qualifications do you need to become a Nursery Assistant?


No university qualifications are required to become a nursery assistant, but there are plenty of college courses available. These courses are:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Childcare
  • Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care - Early Years Educator
  • T Level in Education and Childcare

A paediatric first aid certificate could be very useful for your CV, however, it is not essential. Your entry requirements for level 2 courses 2 or more GCSEs between 9 and 4 are needed to enrol. More advanced courses, such as level 3, need 4 or 5 GCSEs at 9 to 4 grade. T-level courses need the same as level 3 courses and must have English and Maths included in their GCSEs.

Work Experience

You can enrol in apprenticeships ; there are intermediate or advanced as an early years practitioner or educator. For intermediate, some GCSEs, including English and Maths are required, whilst advanced need 5 GCSEs also needing English and Maths. There are also opportunities to volunteer at your local nursery group or after-school clubs. This may lead to a paid job or on-the-job training.

Skills needed to be a Nursery Nurse or Nursery Assistant

Compassion and Empathy

However, big or small, childrens’ issues are important to be compassionate towards. Caring for children and meeting their needs both physically and emotionally by showing care, kindness, and patience is crucial to being a nursery assistant.

Interpersonal Skills

Your interpersonal skills are essential when working closely with other team members, and children and reporting to parents and guardians. Communicate and empathise when working directly with children through active listening and patience.

Organisational Skills

As a nursery assistant, you will plan and deliver a range of fun and educational activities. Activities are for various ages, stages of learning and different days, so being able to organise activities effectively is crucial as a nursery assist.

DBS Checks

When working with children of any age, it is a requirement for you to be DBS-checked. This is a way for employers to check your criminal record, and to see if you are legally allowed to work with children or vulnerable adults. DBS checks normally show convictions, warnings and cautions throughout your life.

Salaries of Nursery Assistants in the UK

Nursery assistants in the UK earn on average of £20,860 per year. The starting salary for nursery assistants is £14,000, which some apprenticeships offer to people looking for childcare experience. Whilst positions more senior can earn upwards of £40,000. This graph shows the average salary of the different jobs within a nursery.

Salaries of Nursery Assistants in the UK

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Overview of Nursery Assistants

Profession Group Childcare and Development
Minimum Age 16
Education Requirements GCSEs
Salary Indication £20,860
Related Jobs Teacher, Tutor and Babysitter

FAQs about Nursery Assistants

  • What skills should I put on my resume for childcare?

    • Age-appropriate communication
    • Time Management
    • Patience
    • Compassion

  • Do nursery assistants need qualifications?

  • Most likely, you will need level 2 college courses, whilst leaders or more senior staff need level 3 qualifications.

See more of our professions guide