How To Get an Emergency Service Job

  • Career

The range of job opportunities in the emergency services is vast. There are many opportunities for both school leavers and graduates in the emergency services and prospects for training and progression are better than most careers. Recruitment for these roles are usually on a local basis and you will be expected to undergo a significant amount of training.

Public service emergency jobs are some of the most rewarding. So if securing a job in the emergency services is a goal of yours here’s some advice to help you on your way.

Firefighter emergency services

Getting into the police

Working for the police involves partnership on a day-to-day basis with local communities, stakeholders and colleagues in order to promote law and order, reduce the fear of crime, provide reassurance and build confidence to improve the quality of life for citizens. There are, however, some essential criteria for joining the police, including being aged 18+, being a UK resident for three years or more, and passing background checks, fitness testing and medical.

The police force offers a wide range of career choices including:

  • Police Officers
  • Police Community Support Officer
  • Specials
  • Scenes of Crime Investigators
  • Fingerprint Officer
  • Civilian Investigation Officers (CIOs)
  • Police Intelligence
  • Crime Analysts
  • Computer Forensics Investigator
  • Communications Officers
  • Command and Dispatch Roles
  • Prosecution File Preparation Officers
  • Detention Officer
  • Police Lawyer

From January 2020, new police constable recruits can enter policing and learn to carry out their role through a degree apprenticeship or professional Policing degree. If you already have a degree (in any subject), you can join and follow a work-based programme called the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP), which is supported by off-the-job learning. Recruitment for the police is location passed but you can review the eligibility criteria and find your local police application portal here.


Joining the Fire Service

In the UK there are more than 50,000 firefighters: it’s their job to prevent fires from happening – and to try to put them out if they do break out. They also visit schools, communities and people in their own home to deliver fire safety education. And respond to road, rail and air traffic accidents as well as fires in homes, buildings and open spaces. Additionally, there are certain personal attributes you need to fulfil a role as a firefighter. These include confidence, resilience, adaptability, effective communication, integrity and commitment to diversity.

The fire service employ professionals in many areas of expertise, including:

  • Control Operators
  • Inspection Officers
  • On-call firefighter
  • Station Clerks
  • Support Staff
  • Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)
  • Wholetime firefighter

The process of joining the fire and rescue service varies throughout the UK but the principles you need to follow are the same. Firstly you will need to find out if, and when your local fire and rescue service are recruiting firefighters. When they begin recruitment you will need to pass a variety of tests (usually situational judgement, maths and English). You will also need to pass a fitness test – this is usually achieving a 8.8 on the bleep test as well as strength tests and a ladder climb. Find out more about the fire service selection process here.


Jobs in the National Health Service (NHS)

There are over 350 different NHS careers. The best place to find jobs in the NHS is the NHS Jobs website. On here you can find on average around 25,000 vacancies advertised every month; thousands advertised every day. 

The NHS offers a wide range of career choices, in various areas including:

  • Allied Health
  • Dental Care
  • Ambulance Service
  • Doctors
  • Healthcare Science
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Psychological professions
  • Public Health

Therefore, whatever your background, previous work experience or qualifications there will be full-time or part-time healthcares role open to you. Additionally, if you are not sure where to start, give this 5 minute Health Careers Quiz a try.


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An emergency service career is undoubtedly highly rewarding and offers plenty of progression. If you’re looking to pursue one of these careers I hope that this post has offered you some insight.

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