Domestic assistant

Domestic assistants work throughout hospitals, health centres and other healthcare settings. They are responsible for regular routine cleaning that must meet quality and hygiene standards. 

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To become a domestic assistant, you need a good standard of education. There are no entry requirements, but useful subjects include:

  • English
  • Maths

Work placement

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 work experience with the NHS. It would be helpful to have some experience in cleaning or hotel work. 


An apprenticeship is a good way to start your career in healthcare.

Modern Apprenticeships

If you are interested in working in a healthcare support role, there is the Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support.

All Healthcare Support modern apprentices study the three mandatory units of communication, health and safety, and learning development. For domestic assistant, you will then choose your remaining units from the non-clinical pathway options.

Other relevant Modern Apprenticeships include:

Find out more about apprenticeships at

The role

As a domestic assistant, you’ll work as part of the domestic services team. You will work under the guidance of domestic supervisors to maintain clean and hygienic hospitals, health centres and office accommodation. You could work in both clinical and non-clinical areas.

What you’ll do

Your main tasks include:

  • damp dusting
  • using vacuum cleaners and other floor cleaning equipment
  • cleaning toilets and bathroom areas
  • cleaning kitchen areas
  • cleaning other clinical areas and non-clinical areas

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • caring
  • communication
  • customer service
  • listening
  • relationship-building
  • teamwork

Who you’ll work with

You’ll work with:

  • domestic supervisors
  • domestic managers
  • nurses
  • hospital staff

Working environment

You could work in:

  • canteens
  • kitchens
  • toilets
  • hospital wards
  • offices

Useful information

To work as a domestic assistant in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

Did you know?

All domestic services staff can join the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc). BISCc is the largest educational body within the cleaning industry, with over 30,000 members.

Learning and development

You will be encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland and will be given training such as:

  • an introduction to the department and its procedures
  • specific skills training
  • infection prevention and control
  • COSHH – Control of Substances Hazardous to Health
  • mandatory training programmes
  • health and safety
  • risk management

During your career, you may be encouraged to study for additional qualifications including:

Gaining these new qualifications will help your career prosper. You’ll be able to apply to more senior roles, and progress to a housekeeper, domestic supervisor or domestic manager. You may also wish to move into other areas like facilities management.