Security officer

The security of its staff and patients is very important to NHSScotland. From protecting patients and staff to property, facilities and valuable equipment, it is invaluable that everybody feels safe.

Security officers make sure that hospitals and other NHS sites are accessible and safe for those with a genuine reason to be on the premises. They protect the building and valuable equipment and prevent damage and theft.

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

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

  • English
  • Maths
  • Administration and IT

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.


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 security officer, 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

You will be responsible for a range of areas, from protecting staff and patients to the security of buildings and equipment. You’ll be tasked with monitoring people coming in and out of hospitals to make sure staff and patients feel they are in a secure environment. You will respond to incidents to provide support to other staff if required.

What you’ll do

Your main tasks include:

  • speaking to anyone who is not a member of staff or a patient who might be unsure about where they are going or might be acting suspiciously
  • asking official visitors to sign in and issuing them a pass
  • diffusing potentially difficult situations
  • monitoring CCTV and responding to alarms
  • dealing with any incidents or emergencies that may threaten the safety of staff and patients
  • working closely with police or other emergency services

You may have to provide cover during the night to the Accident and Emergency department.

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • communicating with people
  • conflict resolution skills
  • decision-making skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • confidence
  • relationship-building skills
  • risk assessment skills

Who you’ll work with

You could work with:

  • healthcare staff
  • visitors
  • contactors
  • other support services staff
  • police and other emergency services

Working environment

You will most likely work in large acute hospitals.

Useful information

To work as a security officer in NHSScotland, you’ll need to join Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme.

Did you know?

Security officers can work across the hospital to protect the public and staff.

Learning and development

You will be introduced to the hospital departments and their security systems and procedures. You’ll be given the facilities services workbook, provided by Health Facilities Scotland (HFS).

You may also have the chance to study for additional qualifications, including:

You’ll be expected to update your skills and knowledge by attending short courses, such as:

  • conflict resolution
  • physical intervention
  • security procedures, responsibilities and the law
  • patrolling
  • fire safety

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