Border Force officer or assistant officer

Security, uniformed and protective services

Career outlook for border force officer or assistant officer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would check that people coming into the UK do not bring in anything that is harmful or is illegal in the country.

You would check and search vehicles arriving at UK borders for illegal immigrants – people who are not allowed to enter the UK. You’d arrange for them to go to a detention centre where they could apply for asylum if they wish and stay until they leave the country.

You’d look for illegal goods like drugs and investigate people who are trying to avoid paying taxes or customs duties by smuggling money or goods into the country.

You would:

  • Question passengers at airports and seaports
  • Ask people about specific details relating to their stay
  • Search vehicles, ships and planes for illegal immigrants, drugs and other goods that could cause harm to people in the UK
  • Search people for drugs and other goods which are illegal in the UK
  • Check whether people trying to come into the country are involved in illegal activities

You could arrest people who were a danger to the UK or were here illegally. You would work closely with the police.

Working conditions


You would work between 36 and 40 hours a week as a full-time Border Force officer. This would involve shifts including nights, weekends and bank holidays.

UK employment status





Self employed


Create a qualification route

We've found some examples of the qualifications that could help you get this job.

Discover my route

Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Making decisions

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


While there are no formal educational requirements to enter this job, qualifiations at SCQF levels 4-6 may be helpful, in particular for direct entry into an officer position.

Useful subjects

  • Maths
  • English
  • ICT
  • Physical education
  • Languages
  • Social studies, such as psychology

You will also need

Be a UK national with no restrictions on your stay in the UK and have lived in the UK continuously for at least five years.

Selection for all positions is through an assessment centre, where candidates are tested on:

  • Judgement
  • Conflict management
  • Communication skills, both oral and written
  • Awareness of diversity and equal opportunities

You will also be required to pass a:

  • Security clearance (due to the sensitive nature of the work)
  • Medical examination

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate physical fitness and awareness of security such as Skills for Work Uniformed and Emergency Services (SCQF level 4) may be useful in preparing for this job.

You may have an advantage if you also have some ability in a foreign language.