Health visitor

public health nurse

Career outlook for health visitor

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 visit people in their homes and give them information, practical care and support to help them stay healthy.

Health visitors are experienced and qualified registered nurses or midwives.

You’d visit people of all ages and backgrounds. You’d focus on people who need special help, such as new mothers and their babies.

You could:

  • Advise new mothers for example about the hygiene, safety, feeding and sleeping of their baby
  • Counsel people on issues such as post-natal depression, bereavement or being diagnosed HIV positive
  • Coordinate child immunisation programmes
  • Organise special clinics or drop-in centres

You’d listen to your patients and try to understand what issues may be causing them distress. It is important to be tactful, and it will be useful if you can interpret body language and other non-verbal communication.

The information, practical care and support you can provide will help people cope with difficulties they are experiencing. You’d work closely with other agencies such as social services and local housing departments.

A good understanding of child protection issues is also important.

You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Health visitor page on the NHSScotland Careers website.

Working conditions


You would typically work 37.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, some evening work may be necessary to run clinics and drop-in centres. Part-time and flexible working hours are often available


You would usually cover the geographical area of a GP practice and spend most of your time visiting clients in their own homes. As part of your role, you may also run group support sessions in surgeries and health centres.


A driving licence would be needed for most jobs.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Resilience
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Researching
  • Empathising
  • Social conscience
  • Developing a plan
  • Making decisions
  • Taking responsibility

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Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

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You need a degree in nursing (SCQF Level 9/10) and two years' experience working as a Registered Nurse before taking a postgraduate qualifications (SCQF Level 11) in public health combined with supervised on-the-job training. 

To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF Level 11) you will usually require a nursing degree and relevant experience. 

For entry into a nursing degree you'll normally need three or four Highers plus National 5 qualifications. 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses)
  • Maths (required by many courses)
  • Science subjects (required by many courses)
  • Care

You will also need

  • To pass a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Disclosure check
  • Evidence that you do not have, and have been immunised against, Hepatitis B.

Helpful to have

You may need a driving licence.

Qualifications that demonstrate understanding of health and wellbeing, such as:

  • Health and Social Care (SCQF Level 6)
  • SQA Wellbeing Award (SCQF Level 3-5)