8 routes you could take into an NHS role

Do you want to work in the NHS in Scotland, but you’re not sure where to start?

Maybe you’ve just left school and you’re looking for your first full-time job. Maybe you’ve already got a degree, but you’re not sure if it’s relevant for the NHS role you want.

There are lots of different paths you could take!

This blog post will help you start planning. Let’s explore 8 possible routes you could take to working in the NHS.


Download Routes into working in the NHS [PDF]

Download Routes into working in the NHS [DOCX]

Modern Apprenticeships

You could start or continue your career journey in the NHS by doing a Modern Apprenticeship.

Modern Apprenticeships provide valuable work experience while you gain a recognised qualification. They’re available for a range of clinical and non-clinical roles.

If you’re between 16 and 24 years old, or up to 29 years old if you’re disabled or care experienced, this could be the route for you!

Find out more about our Modern Apprenticeships.

Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme is a 6-month work placement for people who are:

  • between the ages of 16 and 24 years old
  • on universal credit

The work placement is fully funded for 25 hours of work per week.

If you’re interested in taking part in the Kickstart Scheme, contact your work coach for more information.

Find out more about Kickstart.

Pre-employment programmes

Pre-employment programmes aim to encourage people into NHS jobs, particularly if those people are from under-represented groups.

During your pre-employment programme, you’ll gain work experience and lots of new skills.

Learn more about our pre-employment programmes.

Further or higher education

You’ll need a college or university education to begin working in some NHS roles.

There are lots of different college courses or university programmes available in Scotland that will help you achieve the right qualification.

You can search for further and higher education courses on My World of Work.

Graduate-level programmes

If you’ve already got a degree-level education, you might want to apply for one of our graduate-level programmes in health and social care.

If you’re interested in becoming a future leader in the NHS, you could apply for the NHS Management Training Scheme. You can apply if you’re qualified to SCQF level 10 and have the right to work in the UK.

If you’re a disabled person with a degree-level qualification in any subject, you can apply for the Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living’s NHS Professional Careers Programme. You’ll get up to 2 years of salaried graduate-level employment, coaching and support into further employment.

Learn more about our graduate-level programmes.

Returning to practice

If you’ve previously been employed by the NHS as a registered professional and want to come back, you’ll need to complete a return to practice programme.

During the programme, you’ll update your skills and knowledge so that you’re ready to return to NHS work.

Find out more about how you can come back to the NHS by contacting the NHSScotland Board in your area.


As a volunteer, you’ll take part in relevant training, gain new skills and experience working in NHSScotland.

You’ll also be able to help people being cared for in lots of different ways.

Find out all the different ways you can volunteer with NHSScotland on the Ready Scotland website.


Whatever your skills, knowledge or experience, there’s a route into the NHS in Scotland for you.

Find out more by exploring our careers.