Skip to main content Skip to footer

How to become a porter

You can become a porter in the NHS by applying for vacancies on our recruitment website. 

What is a porter?

Porters work in portering services teams, helping to make sure that equipment, materials, mail, biological samples, and medications are in the right place at the right time.

They also transport patients between hospital wards and departments safely, with care and dignity.

Starting your career as a porter

Choosing subjects at school

To become a porter, you'll need a good standard of education. Useful subjects include:

  • English
  • Maths 
  • Administration and IT

Speak to your guidance teacher about subjects offered at your school.

Workplacements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland.

Education and training pathway

Some customer service and healthcare experience, including manual handling skills are useful for a role in portering services.

College courses

If you choose to go to college, you could do the following qualifications to learn some of the skills and knowledge needed for this role:

  • SVQ Customer Service at SCQF level 4
  • SVQ Hospitality Services at SCQF level 4
  • SVQ Facilities Services at SCQF level 5

Course search

Search for college courses on My World of Work.

Get to know the role

As a porter, you'll carry out a wide range of general  tasks so that a high level of service is provided at all times.

Tasks may include: 

  • maintain a safe working environment and report any faults or hazards
  • collect biological samples from hospital wards and deliver them to the laboratory for testing
  • transport patients safely to and from wards and departments
  • collect and deliver medical notes from wards, clinics, and departments
  • collect, sort, and deliver internal and external mail within the hospital site
  • uplift linen from wards and departments so it can be taken to the laundry
  • distribute clean linen to hospital wards and departments
  • collect, deliver, and connect cylinders of medical gases
  • transport deceased patients from wards and departments to the hospital mortuary with dignity and respect
  • move equipment and furniture between departments
  • collect domestic and clinical waste ready for disposal

You'll need these skills:

  • communicating
  • collaborating
  • focussing
  • problem-solving
  • initiative

Porters work with the following: 

  • portering supervisor
  • security officer
  • healthcare support workers
  • nurses
  • domestic assistants
  • external contracters

You could work in: 

  • acute hospitals
  • community hospitals
  • national treatment centres
  • community treatment centres
  • residential homes
  • care homes

Learning and development

Learning specific to your role includes:

  • Porter Workbook
  • health and safety training
  • risk management training
  • ADR Awareness training

Your NHS employer will confirm their training requirements during your induction.

Career progression

Once in the job, there are opportunities to progress. Support is also available to help you develop your skills and encourage you to take qualifications, including:

  • Medical Gas Certificate
  • SVQ Healthcare Support (non-clinical) at SCQF level 6
  • HNC Facilities Management at SCQF level 7

Gaining new qualifications will help you when applying for more senior roles, such as portering supervisor or support services manager.

Navigate page

Explore careers

Explore careers

Discover the skills and qualifications you’ll need for each role and what the work will be like.

Explore careers

Help with recruitment

Discover the skills and qualifications you’ll need for each role and what the work will be like..

Help with recruitment