Access to Operating Department Practice

The role of an operating department practitioner (ODP) is diverse and includes a wide range of skills working with service care users before, during and after operations. To be become an ODP you will need to do either a two year diploma or three year BSc. (Hons) degree at a University. 

What are the university entry requirements for an operating department practice degree?

To apply to universities for Operating Department Practice, you should have, or be working towards achieving a relevant Access to HE Diploma in Health Science. Or, alternatively, 3 A Levels with at least one in a science area (Human Biology, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, Geography or Maths). Universities can advise on their particular entry requirements and they also publish these on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) web site.

With the A Level route you may also be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs. With the Access to HE Diploma route you are normally only required to have 2 GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above.  Access to HE Diplomas are normally aimed towards adults 18+ returning to education or wishing to change to a new career. There are no upper age limits. The Diploma qualification is viewed as being equivalent to 3 A Levels.  Access to HE can be studied from home via online learning or at a local college/academy. 

To gain the required level of practical skills and technical competence to become an ODP, your degree programme will give you experience in all areas of theatres through focused practice modules. Qualified mentors will supervise you throughout your course. The three main areas in ODP are: anaesthetics, surgery and Post-Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU).


What do Operating Department Practitioners do? 

A career as an operating department practitioner is exciting, challenging, rewarding and demanding with many opportunities to work in different parts of healthcare. ODPs work with surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses to make sure every operation is as safe and organised as possible. They are responsible for preparing equipment, drugs and sometimes the theatre environment itself to make sure operations follow health and safety requirements. ODPs ensure that surgical equipment is clean and accounted for. They also assist the service care user in elements of their post surgery recovery phase. Whilst they mainly work in theatre they can also be a vital link between theatre and other clinical areas.


What personal attributes are needed to become an ODP?

Planning and organising is key to this role. ODPs work with service care users before, during and after surgery so there are many strands to pull together to facilitate their smooth journey through the surgical process. Management and good communication skills are also essential for ODPs. They need to be naturally caring and compassionate and have the ability to work in a pressurised and changing environment.


What are the pay and working conditions like?

Starting salary is around £22,000 rising to £28,500 with experience. The most experienced ODPs can earn £35,000. The Government has recently announced a 6.5% increase in salaries across health sector employees over the next 3 years. It is mostly a shift-based role usually working 37.5 hours per week. Overtime and on-call duty would form part of the role. You would work mainly in operating theatres and recovery rooms; these areas are clean and bright. ODPs wear surgical clothing and head coverings; these items are provided by the hospital.

Opportunities for career development

ODPs mainly work in hospitals but are also employed by the Armed Forces. With experience they can become senior ODPs or team leaders, responsible for managing operating theatre units. There are also opportunities in research, education and training. It may also be possible to work abroad. 

How is the Degree funded?

Studying to become an Operating Department Practitioner allows you to you to apply for the standard student support package in the form of a student loan. Scholarships, bursaries or grants may also be available for example, through the university or your place of work. NHS-funded places are available for eligible students on approved degree courses. Tuition fees are paid in full and students receive financial support in the form of a bursary to help towards living expenses. Check with individual institutions to see if courses attract NHS financial support.

If you would like to complete an Access to HE in Operating Department Practice with Academy Online Learning and obtain the level 3 Access Diploma in Health Science Professions for university entry, please complete the online enrolment form or contact us for more information by phone or email. Studying and achieving this qualification provides a flexible way of study as it is fully online and is recognised and accepted by UK universities.

Enrol Now

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Make a selection to see the price per month

The total course price is £1212 (if you pay monthly from £101 per month) or £1162 if paid in full at the start!

Prices are per month for the number of months specified, except for courses paid in full.

Choose this for any Access to Higher Education Diploma, such as Access to Nursing, Access to Midwifery, etc. You will choose your pathway when you complete the enrolment form. If you are unsure of which pathway to follow for your chosen university course, we will help you at the start of your Access Diploma course.

If you choose monthly instalments, your course will need to be fully paid by your target moderation date. These events are held in June and November each year. You should aim to complete one month prior to these dates. For example, if you start your diploma studies in October and aim to complete by the following June, you would need to select the 8 month option. If you are starting in October and plan to complete the course by the following November, you can select the 12 month option. 



Access to Higher Education Diploma (Paid in Full)

Pay in full here for any Access to ... Higher Education Diploma. The diploma pathway is chosen when you say which university course you want to do in the enrolment form. You can change your diploma choice to another pathway during the first few weeks of the course without any problem, for example if the university you are applying to says they want you to have more biology credits.

Use this for:

Access to Nursing
Access to Paramedic Practice
Access to Biomedical Science
Access to Radiography
Access to Physiotherapy
Access to Operating Department Practice
Access to Midwifery
Access to Psychology
Access to Occupational Therapy
Access to Speech Therapy
Access to Biology
Access to Social Science
Access to Social Work
Access to Health Science
Access to Podiatry
Access to Nutrition and Dietetics
Access to Dental Hygiene
Environmental Health

or you can create your own Access Course

If you prefer monthly payments, click here.

Reserve a place on the Access to HE Diploma

If you don't want to start quite yet, but would like to reserve a place to start an Access to Higher Education Diploma later in the year, you can pay a £20 deposit. When you complete the enrolment form during checkout you can choose a start date for your course. As you may be preventing others from taking the place, this deposit is not refundable if you do not take up your place on the course.