Working in the emergency services with GCSEs (or similar)

Jobs available with the emergency services for people with GCSEs or equivalent are mainly in administration, supporting the operational staff.

You could be entering data into computer systems. Or you could do a job where you are dealing with the public, by phone or face to face.

Example jobs

Emergency call handler
Taking calls to emergency services, logging details, referring the calls on.

Non-emergency call handler
Taking calls on an emergency services helpline (non-999).

Enquiry officer
Dealing with public callers to police stations.

Police community support officer (PCSO)
Supporting police patrolling areas and events, dealing with antisocial behaviour.

Coastguard watch assistant
Taking calls about emergency situations, alerting other services.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • Jobs can be office-based or call centre-based.
  • You will be dealing with the public, who will often be in distress.
  • PCSOs work mainly outdoors.

Qualifications needed

Some jobs may require GCSEs in English and maths. Many require no particular qualifications. Instead you need to show you are a good communicator and team worker, able to deal with the public and remain calm under pressure. You must be able to deal fairly with people from all walks of life.

Career path

PCSOs can apply to become police officers (or move into other emergency services). In an admin job you could apply for a more senior post, perhaps supervising other staff.

Useful links

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Police Recruitment

National Careers Service

Read job profiles like this one for a coastguard