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How to Become a Health Visitor

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 26 May 2022 | comments*Discuss
Health Visitor Salary Career Nhs Smoking

To enjoy a successful career as a health visitor you need to have a strong sense of community. Health visitors must be strong, positive people who are able to share valuable health messages with a cross-section of society, without being patronising. It is a largely female-dominated profession, although the NHS are actively recruiting both sexes, with benefits including a solid career path, a stable future, flexibility regarding childcare and career breaks and the possibility of earning a good salary.

NHS and Private Opportunities

The vast majority of health visitors in the UK are employed by the NHS, under local health care trusts, although some private health care providers employ health visitors for particular services, such as smoking cessation or midwifery. The NHS employs health visitors primarily for home visits, although it also uses health visitors for special clinics, again including smoking cessation (an important focus for the NHS at the moment), weight loss (including healthy eating), diabetes maintenance and stress management.

The Role of the Health Visitor

The core purpose of a health visitor is to promote good health in the community, as such, much of their work is done in the homes of the public. They tend to visit at set times following a request from the person’s GP, following the birth of a baby, the requirement to check on the health of a child or adult or to assess the progress of the person after attending one of the special clinics.

With health visitors going into people’s homes, they need to be strong and confident and appreciate that they will often be needed in deprived areas or with at risk groups. Consequently, it can be a very demanding, often stressful role.


The vast majority of health visitors are trained nurses or midwives who then take extra training to become a fully qualified health visitor. This is usually completed in addition to working full time, although you can choose to work part time and study part time, or gain additional practical experience.

Salary Expectations

The starting salary for a qualified health visitor is around £25,000, not including London weighting (which is around a further 20%) or allowances for bank work, overtime or shift work. After gaining three years experience, this basic salary rises to around £33,000, with a further three to five years experience yielding around £40,000 basic salary.

Working Hours

Most health visitors tend to work ‘normal’ office hours of 9am-5pm because they are able to arrange appointments, clinics and home visits within these hours. However, you must be prepared to work unsociable hours if needed, or to be on call at least once a month.

The Right Character

It is clear from the job description of a health visitor that you need to be hard working, focused on health and wellbeing and good with people. You need to be a good listener and be able to pick up on signs, rather than being bossy and dominating as you will be in potentially damaging domestic situations. It is not a glamorous role, but rather a fulfilling, rewarding and ultimately satisfying career for a health professional.

More Roles in the Caring Profession

For other careers in the caring profession, including Becoming A Midwife and A Nurse, visit our Caring and Education Category.

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I am a qualified paramedic with a degree in emergency care. Would I be able to train to be a health visitor or would I have to do nursing first?
Katie - 26-May-22 @ 7:31 PM
Do you definietly have to be a qualified midwife or nurse to train to be a health visitor.. I've worked in care for 5 years and was looking to go further
Evie castle - 17-Jun-19 @ 4:37 PM
I have just completed a degree in early childhood studies but have now decided that I want to become a health visitor, what would be the best/quickest route into this for me?
Shaz - 17-Jul-18 @ 10:19 PM
Hello, I am a qualified Midwife but I have had a break from Midwifery so I am not currently on the register. If I wanted to become a health visitor, would I first have to complete a return to practice course for Midwifery? Thank you
Linda - 14-May-18 @ 9:05 AM
I am a qualified health visitor and would like to do a phd in health prevention . Can you advise me re the route I can take , thankyou. Babs
Babs - 7-Nov-16 @ 2:37 PM
MissALHARRO - Your Question:
Hi, I am a qualified Nurse with over 2 years post grad experience in a variety of roles since qualifying. However, I still wish to pursue a career as a Health Visitor but was advised that 2 years working as a nurse is desirable. Please can you advise me on where to go from here in relation to enrolling on the additional 1 year course, and different routes to get onto the course.Thank you in advance.

Our Response:
In general you can begin health visitor training as soon as you want after becoming registered, as there is no minimum period of post-registration experience required - although maybe two years is a preference for many employers. You need to take an approved programme in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing or Health Visiting (SCPHN or HV). You chosen university or Health Education England will be able to tell you about where you can train and how to apply.
ACareerChange - 29-Sep-16 @ 10:53 AM
Hi, I am a qualified Nurse with over 2 years post grad experience in a variety of roles since qualifying. However, I still wish to pursue a career as a Health Visitor but was advised that 2 years working as a nurse is desirable. Please can you advise me on where to go from here in relation to enrolling on the additional 1 year course, and different routes to get onto the course. Thank you in advance.
MissALHARRO - 28-Sep-16 @ 10:26 AM
hi, I am a qualified mental health nurse since 2007 however I would like a change and wanted to get into health visiting however I just need help to find out how I can get into it please. Thank you
pav - 16-Sep-16 @ 3:26 PM
I am a qualified Social Worker that has experience in adult and children's services - I haven't practiced since I had my youngest child 5 years ago and although I don't want to go back into social work I would really love to become a Health Visitor. I have a lot of experience in child law and home visits as a Social Worker especially in very difficult situations - I wondered if anyone could help me as to whether I could fast track or have to do a full nursing degree in order to attain a Health Visitor role ??
Kate - 13-Jan-16 @ 6:09 PM
@Katie. Health visitors are reigstered nurses or midwives. You'd need to apply to do a nursing degree in order to work as a health visitor. Find out where your local nursing colleges are and ask them what you need to do next.
ACareerChange - 17-Feb-15 @ 2:39 PM
Hi, I'm 28 and a level 3 nvq qualified nanny. I'm also a doula. I am looking to get into becoming a health visitor or an assistant but I have no idea where to start and what training I need? Please help me. I also have my own 2 year old so know what it is like to be a mum:/)
Katie - 16-Feb-15 @ 11:50 AM
@Noele. Anything specific that is not mentioned in the above article?
ACareerChange - 5-Dec-14 @ 11:46 AM
Hi i am a 43 year old woman and aqualified carer and i now run my own business of cleaning homes and i am very interested in becoming a health visitor can you please give me some advice thanks
noele - 3-Dec-14 @ 10:30 PM
@H. Many universities do now offer a fast tracking route to relevant graduates to provide a fast-track route into health - or to gain a second registration in midwifery, health visiting, school and district nursing etc. Check out the universities near you to see whether there is anything suitable.
ACareerChange - 9-Sep-14 @ 1:44 PM
I have a BEd (Hons) degree and taught PE, PSHE in a secondary school teacher for 18 years . In the last 2 that included Child Development. I am looking into a change of career and being a Health Visitor really appeals to me. I have read that due the worrying shortages the Government are considering 'fast tracking'. Is this a possibility? Thank you
H - 8-Sep-14 @ 9:52 PM
Hello , I am really interested in becoming a health care assistant, but really need to know the way to get into it? I currently work as fitness instructor and personal trainer in the community Leisure industry and am looking for a change. My knowledge on Health/fitness/Rehabilitation is high. I also carry out respite care for a disabled 2 year old on a weekend basis, controlling medication and his indivdual needs. Can anyone help me apply? Many thanks.
ceri - 10-Jul-14 @ 11:14 AM
I am trained nures and midwife . Have been out of practice for12 yearse l am 66 years old stil active and would like to be usefull in the society can I become a health visitor or social worker?
porie - 9-Jul-13 @ 6:42 PM
can i do social worker withmlit that has level 3
lia - 4-Jun-13 @ 9:44 AM
Originally I trained and qualified as a Primary School Teacher and taught for quite a few years. Latterly I worked as a L.S.P with Primary children then teenagers who had Emotional and Behavioural difficulties, first in a school then in a college.After 6 years of doing this sort of work,our team were all made redundant. I then passed to train as a Health Trainer only to latterly discover to my dismay that most posts are part time and poorly paid.I've now been thinking a lot about transferring my skills and becoming a Health Visitor regarding Mental Health, as the two roles seem quite similar but as I understand it, I would have to have trained as a nurse, first. Is there any way to fast track this, especially as I am now working within the NHS on a voluntary basis and have 2 qualifications as a Health Champion and am waiting for my Health Trainer certificate, to come through. Please can you give me some good advice as Ihave proven that I have really good people skills, which was part of my Health Trainer Training, where we were taught Motivational Interviewing.I now work as a Health Trainer on a voluntary basis which I love but also as a volunteer at a Mental Health Hospital too.Please can you help me as I care deeply for people and feel I could make a real difference as a Health Visitor, especially within the field of Mental Health. Thank you
Diju - 17-May-13 @ 7:26 PM
hi..am thinking of starting my life now age 23..after having two kids of my own i would love to be a midwife.. can any one tell me were i need to start?
dawn - 22-Mar-13 @ 6:14 PM
I am a qualified Nursery Nurse working at the same establishment for 19yrs within a baby unit.I'm not sure where to start or what qualifications are needed to become a health visitor but would like more info please
perkid - 20-Feb-13 @ 11:03 PM
hi i have been a nursery nurse for 8 years but would like to become a health visitor or or work under a health visitor if possible. i am level 3 qualified nursery nurse and i have a young child at school so money is a problem with fees, what are my options for changing careers? thanks
nesa - 14-Jan-13 @ 8:08 PM
I am a qualified dietitian with 10 years work experience but have had a career break for the last 7 years to look after my children.I am now thinking of re-training to become a Health Visitor -- is there a fast track way in which I can do this, or do I need to first qualify as a nurse? Thank you, Mei-Mei
Mimsy - 10-Jan-13 @ 3:42 PM
Hi as per Lisa and Jenns' question..............................i am a HPC Registered Paramedic and would also like to train to become a Health Visitor.I am trying to find out what path i need to take to achieve this. Many thanks
Donna - 5-Jan-13 @ 3:12 AM
i am interested in switching from general nursing to become a health visitor, i worked in the hospital before transfering to the community to become a community staff nurse and now would like to get onto the course to train to become a health visitor, can you please help, i heard about an exam which must be sit for all persons who wish to do the health visitor course and then persons are picked from the successful batch, but how do you get yourself onto the exam?
karen - 11-Nov-12 @ 4:44 PM
I would like to become a Health Visitor but I do not have my GCSE English and Maths. I know you can do Access to Nursing but can you qualify to study it with City and Guilds Maths and English?
dimples - 12-Sep-12 @ 10:36 AM
Gill, your very comprehensive guidance to those wishing to become Health Visitors is commendable. Thank you for your time and may you be richly blessed.
Aisha - 12-Aug-12 @ 7:11 PM
Hi, I have worked previously in hotel management for 16 years then decided to go to uni to train to be a midwife. Unfortunately I only completed the first year due to personal reasons; however would be interested in training to be a health visitor. How Would i be able to do this without completing my degree? I have 9 GCSE'S and equivalent 3 A levels doing the access higher education for one year? Many thanks Lisa
lilly - 11-Jul-12 @ 6:09 PM
Hi! I studied Nursery Nursing at college and obtained a BTEC National Diploma, i never followed this through and chose a career in catering instead which i have been doing for the last 12 years. I am currently thinking of changing careers and very interested in finding out how to become (if possible) a Health Visitor! I have 2 small children and no other qualifications other than the BTEC, where would i go from here?
CJ - 3-Jul-12 @ 9:07 PM
Same as Lisa - also HPC registered Paramedic and very interested in becoming a HV. Would welcome any advice.
Jenn - 2-Jul-12 @ 9:40 PM
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