NHS Career Framework levels

The NHS Career Framework:

  • Highlights different levels of practice from 1 to 9 (9 being the most senior level)
  • Each level details the skills required and various levels of responsibilities
  • Illustrates career opportunities
  • Supports career movement in all directions
  • Demonstrates a career progression based on skills and competencies (a description of the expected standards of performance)

The Career Framework allows people to identify their career framework level and existing skills and competencies they would need to develop to move to a different role.

The Career Framework levels can be different to the NHS pay bands which describes how staff will work and how much they will be paid.

Most roles above level 5 on the Careers Framework are subject to regulation and membership of a professional body.

Are you currently working in the health and social care sector and looking for a new challenge – or are you thinking about a complete change of career and want to start working in Learning Disability and Autism support and care? Whatever you have been doing in a previous job or career, you will undoubtedly have transferable skills and experiences valuable to a career in Learning Disability and Autism support and care.

NHS Career Framework Level 1

People at level 1 are at entry level, and require basic general knowledge. They undertake a limited number of straightforward tasks under direct supervision. They could be any new starter to work in the Health sector, and progress rapidly to Level 2.

Example role: Cadet

NHS Career Framework Level 2

People at level 2 require basic factual knowledge of a field of work. They may carry out clinical, technical, scientific or administrative duties according to established protocols or procedures, or systems of work.

Example role: Support Worker

NHS Career Framework Level 3

People at level 3 require knowledge of facts, principles, processes and general concepts in a field of work. They may carry out a wider range of duties than the person working at level 2, and will have more responsibility, with guidance and supervision available when needed. They will contribute to service development, and are responsible for self development.

Example role: Senior Healthcare Assistants/Technicians

NHS Career Framework Level 4

People at level 4 require factual and theoretical knowledge in broad contexts within a field of work. Work is guided by standard operating procedures, protocols or systems of work, but the worker makes judgements, plans activities, contributes to service development and demonstrates self development. They may have responsibility for supervision of some staff.

Example role: Assistant/Associate Practitioner

NHS Career Framework Level 5

People at level 5 will have a comprehensive, specialised, factual and theoretical knowledge within a field of work and an awareness of the boundaries of that knowledge. They are able to use knowledge to solve problems creatively, make judgements which require analysis and interpretation, and actively contribute to service and self development. They may have responsibility for supervision of staff or training.

Example role: Practitioner

NHS Career Framework Level 6

People at level 6 require a critical understanding of detailed theoretical and practical knowledge, are specialist and / or have management and leadership responsibilities. They demonstrate initiative and are creative in finding solutions to problems. They have some responsibility for team performance and service development and they consistently undertake self development.

Example role: Specialist/Senior Practitioner

NHS Career Framework Level 7

People at level 7 of the career framework have a critical awareness of knowledge issues in the field and at the interface between different fields. They are innovative, and have a responsibility for developing and changing practice and/or services in a complex and unpredictable environment.

Example role: Advanced Practitioner

NHS Career Framework Level 8

People at level 8 of the career framework require highly specialised knowledge, some of which is at the forefront of knowledge in a field of work, which they use as the basis for original thinking and/or research. They are leaders with considerable responsibility, and the ability to research and analyse complex processes. They have responsibility for service improvement or development. They may have considerable clinical and/or management responsibilities, be accountable for service delivery or have a leading education or commissioning role.

Example role: Consultant

NHS Career Framework Level 9

People working at level 9 require knowledge at the most advanced frontier of the field of work and at the interface between fields. They will have responsibility for the development and delivery of a service to a population, at the highest level of the organisation.

Example role: Director