Security Service personnel protect the UK against threats to national security.
Salary range: £18,000 to £35,000
How to become Security Service personnel
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
To enter the Security Service with a degree, you’ll need a pass at upper second class or higher. Relevant degree subjects include:
With a degree you can apply for job roles, like:
- intelligence analyst
- internet and computer technology specialist
- security exploitation officer
- foreign language analyst
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could enter some roles through an intelligence analyst higher apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For some roles within the Security Service, like foreign language analyst or security guard, you would not need any specific qualifications. Entry would be based on the experience and skills you could bring to the role, for instance fluency in a language like Russian or Mandarin.
There could also be opportunities for you if you have technical, vocational or professional qualifications in subjects like electronics or accountancy.
For support jobs such as business officer or administration assistant, you may need five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent including English and maths, or have relevant office-based experience.
You can find out more about careers and training in this field from the Security Service MI5.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- customer service skills
- knowledge of public safety and security
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- be a British citizen
- be over 18 years of age
Due to the sensitive nature of the work, you would have background checks carried out, which could include detailed questions about your life. You would also have to provide work and character references. You can get more information about the vetting process and eligibility from the Security Service MI5.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- collecting information on threats to national security
- watching and reporting on suspects’ movements and actions
- using specialist IT or electronics equipment to record and observe meetings, conversations or activities
- reading emails and letters and checking social media
- deciding if something poses a potential threat
You could work at a police station, in an office or in a control room.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding, outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
With experience and a good performance record, you could move into management. You could also move to another station in the UK or apply for opportunities with SIS and GCHQ.