Communications officer

Communications officers create content and provide information for a wide range of audiences. In the NHS, they promote health and social care services and public health information to citizens, the media and other organisations.

Starting your career

Subject choices

At school, there are lots of things for you to think about when choosing subjects. Useful subjects for this career include:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Media
  • Administration and IT
  • Business Management

Work placements and volunteering

If you’re at school or thinking of changing career, doing a work placement could help you when applying to college, university or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service.

Find out how to apply for a work placement in the NHS. There may also be opportunities to volunteer.

College and university

College courses relevant for this role include: 

  • HND Media and Communication
  • HND Practical Journalism

It might also be helpful to have a degree. Most universities accept a wide range of qualifications, so you could apply directly from school or go to college first.

For this role, useful degrees include:

  • marketing
  • media
  • communications
  • journalism

Widening participation supports adult learners who want to go to university. If you’re an adult with few or no qualifications, you could get into higher education through the Scottish Widening Access Programme (SWAP). Many universities also provide access programmes to help you get the degree entry qualifications you need.

Search for college or university courses on My World of Work.

Apprenticeships

Foundation Apprenticeships

A Foundation Apprenticeship will give you the skills, knowledge and experience to start your career journey. You could take a relevant Foundation Apprenticeship in:

Modern Apprenticeships

With a Modern Apprenticeship you could gain an industry-recognised qualification. Relevant Modern Apprenticeships for this role include:

The role

As a communications officer you will use various kinds of media to engage with internal and external audiences including:

  • press releases
  • websites
  • paper publications
  • social media
  • ad campaigns
  • TV
  • radio

Communications officers work in teams. Related job titles might include:

  • communication and engagement officer
  • communications manager
  • head of communications and engagement
  • patient and public involvement officer

What you’ll do

Tasks may include:

  • producing high-quality patient information
  • producing video and taking photos
  • managing social media campaigns
  • updating staff intranet and external websites
  • handling enquiries from journalists
  • writing press releases
  • engaging in local health campaigns and events

Top skills

Useful skills include:

  • communication
  • listening
  • teamwork
  • attention to detail
  • creativity
  • time-management
  • organisation
  • initiative

Who you’ll work with

Communications officers will work within a communications team. Within the NHS, you might also be expected to work with:

  • employees across your health board
  • patients
  • press
  • politicians
  • government employees

Working environment

Communications officers work in an office, or remotely.

Learning and development

During your career, self-directed learning will provide opportunities to learn new skills and gain qualifications. You’ll be able to apply to more senior roles as you progress.

Professional bodies

Communications staff can join the following organisations: