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Professional Registration

A number of professions that work within the UK’s criminal justice sector have been awarded ‘protected’ status. This means that only those registered with the appropriate regulatory body are able to practise within the profession it governs.

If you are looking for a job in one of these professions, please ensure you have the correct registration before applying.

Regulatory bodies investigate complaints of professional misconduct against registered professionals and have the power to remove or suspend individuals from the register. This means that if professional misconduct is proved, the regulatory bodies can legally prevent people from practising.


Nurses in the UK are required to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

To comply with registration, you must have completed an approved nursing course at a higher education institute in the UK – or have an equivalent overseas qualification. You must also meet the guidance and standards for practice set by the NMC.

To remain fully registered, nurses must reapply every three years. As part of the reapplication process, they need to show that they have completed 450 hours of registered practice and 35 hours of qualifying Continuing Professional Development (CPD) throughout this period. Practice must be in a registered nurse role but can include administrative, supervisory, teaching and managerial roles as well as direct patient care.


To practice as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician in England, Scotland and Wales, you must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). For those practising in Northern Ireland, the registration body is the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.

In order to qualify for registration as a pharmacist, you must have completed a UK accredited MPharm degree and undertaken 52 weeks of pre-registration training. Additionally, you must have passed the GPhC’s registration assessment or the Northern Ireland registration examination as appropriate.

To register as a pharmacy technician in England, Scotland or Wales, you must have an eligible qualification and be able to provide the GPhC with evidence of a minimum of two years of relevant work-based experience (in the UK) under the supervision, direction or guidance of a pharmacist. We recommend that you check with the regulator for more details.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must renew their registration with either regulatory body every year, which involves completing a declaration stating that they meet all the professional, fitness to practise and ethical standards.

Probation officers

If you wish to work as a probation officer in Northern Ireland, you must be a qualified social worker (see below).

Social workers

There are four regional regulators in the UK and if you wish to work as a social worker, you must be registered with the correct regulatory body. Your registration does not automatically transfer between the regulators, so if you move to a new region you will have to complete a new registration process.

The four UK regulators are:

England – Health and Care Professions Council
Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland Social Service Council
Scotland – Scottish Social Service Council
Wales – Care Council of Wales

In order to be added to any of these social work registers, you must have an approved qualification which is the UK Social Work Degree (undergraduate or postgraduate) or equivalent. You must also meet the requirements of the code of conduct of your regulator and undertake background checks. These will check that you have no previous criminal convictions which would make you unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults or children. You can find out more about these checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

To remain on the register, it is important that you should continue to meet all of the requirements for Continued Professional Development and ensure that you are working in line with the regulatory body’s code of conduct.

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