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Q. I would like to apply to train as a Health Play Specialist, what experience would help my application?
A. At least 2 years experience of working with healthy children. Voluntary work in a hospital along side a qualified and registered Play Specialist would also help to demonstrate your commitment to and understanding of the work. You will need to demonstrate that you have effective communication skills as you will be working with sick children and families

Q. What qualifications do I need?
A. You will need to hold a recognised and approved Full level 3 childcare qualification. In addition, you will have GCSE Maths and English or equivalent level 2 Literacy and Numeracy

Q. Does my experience and qualification guarantee me a place on a course?
A. No. Places are limited so suitable applicants are carefully selected at interview. You must also identify and confirm arrangements with a  registered play specialist who is willing to be your work based mentor

Q. What does the course involve?
A. The course is run over two academic years and attendance is one full day per week. It consists of academic essays, literature reviews, written reports, folder of evidence and exercises through the Virtual Learning Environment. Assessment of practical skills is undertaken in the workplace throughout both Level 4 (yr1) and Level 5 (yr2) of the course. If you are not working in a healthcare setting whilst undertaking the course, you will need to complete a minimum of 200 hours practical experience in a healthcare setting under the supervision of a registered HPS.

Q. I cannot find a college offering a HPS course in my area. Are there any courses that can be undertaken by distance learning? What are my options?
A. As there are limited centres offering the course at present, most students have to travel to either Cardiff, London or Bolton. Unfortunately distance learning for this programme is not viable

Q. Does the new HPS course count towards a university degree?
A. Yes. Satisfactory completion of year 1 and 2 of the course will give you 240 points and this gives you a Foundation degree in Healthcare Play Specialism. You can then go on to “Top Up” your Foundation degree to a full degree. Speak to the college about how this can be achieved

Q. What is the basic pay scale for Health Play Specialists?
A. Please refer to website.


Q. I trained as a Hospital Play Specialist prior to the new programme of Foundation Degree in Healthcare Play Specialism and before the professional title was changed to Health Play Specialist, does this mean that I am less qualified than colleagues completing the course after 2012?

A. No. As long as you have remained current in your practice through regular CPD activity and have maintained your registration with HPSET then your qualification is valid. The change to the training programme reflects the evolving nature of education. For example nursing has now become a degree programme but those who completed their training when it was a Diploma are not considered any less qualified. The change to the professional title is twofold: 1. To reflect the Health promotion work we undertake ie supporting children and young people to understand and manage their own healthcare through play based interventions which occur not only in the hospital but also in community settings. 2. To avoid confusion when Trusts are recruiting Play staff and are faced with different professional titles


Q. I am a trained and registered HPS but would be interested in completing the new programme. Can my previous HPS qualification be used as credits to gain the Foundation Degree?

A. This would depend on when you trained. If you trained between 2004 and 2010 then this was a level 4 credited course; therefore you may be able to enter the new programme in year 2 which is level 5. You will need to speak to the college to check you meet the criteria. If you trained prior to 2004 then you would have to complete the full two year programme in order to achieve the Foundation Degree.  

Q. Are Play Specialist qualifications gained in other countries recognised in the U.K.?
A. This will be a decision for the individual employer. Please refer to HPSET for the work the Board is undertaking on accrediting recognised overseas qualifications such as Child Life Specialists


Q. Do you have any information on the importance of play in hospital and the role of the HPS?
A. Please refer to our website for material that can be purchased but for more in depth information please join NAHPS as this will offer a broader range of information and support

Q. Can you give me any information about becoming a Play Therapist?
A. A Hospital Play Specialist provides therapeutic play in hospital and in the community. Our training is specific to the sick child. Play Therapists undertake training in play therapy. The two professions are not the same. For more information on becoming a Play Therapist contact the British Association of Play Therapists at: