Health visitors work with families in their homes to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent illness

What does a health visitor do?

Health visitors travel to people’s homes, to provide information, practical care, and support to help clients cope with any difficulties they are experiencing. The role may involve working with a broad section of people in the community, and duties might often include:

  • giving advice to new parents on feeding babies, hygiene, safety and sleeping
  • supporting parents with their children’s development needs
  • coordinating child immunisation programmes
  • organising special clinics or drop-in centres
  • supporting children with special needs
  • advising on how to reduce the risk of accident and injury
  • working closely with social services and other organisations to safeguard and protect children

Health visitors work closely with other agencies, such as social services and local housing departments.

What do I need to do to become a health visitor?

To become a health visitor, you will need to have the ability to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds. You must have excellent communication and listening skills. Sometimes you will need to be able to cope with distressing issues.

You will need to be a qualified midwife or nurse to begin an approved health visitor training programme and work as a health visitor. There is no minimum length of experience required, but you will need the ability to study at university level. 

You'll complete a course in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing - Health Visiting, approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council. The qualification is studied at degree level, or postgraduate level if you already have a degree. 

Courses can be full time or part time and last between 1 and 2 years.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Patience
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Vocational route

  • Specialist Community Public Health Nursing - Health Visiting course

Where to find out more


You'll need to register with the Nursing & Midwifery Council.

Further information

You'll find more details about how to become a health visitor from Health Careers.

Where could I be working?

You could work at a client's home, at a health centre or at a GP practice.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and you'll travel often.

Career opportunities

With experience you could progress to team manager, community matron or a management role in another department of the NHS.

You could also go into nurse education and training.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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