By Hava Salsi

29 February 2024 - 11:21

a man and a woman in business clothes chatting

In this article, we explore rewarding career prospects in the UK public sector after taking the IELTS test.

Having a good IELTS score can open up a wider range of job opportunities in the UK. Many British organisations recognise this qualification as a reliable measure of an applicant’s English language proficiency.

That’s especially true of public sector roles like teaching and nursing where communication is crucial. If you can meet or even exceed the IELTS requirements, you’re sure to stand out as a strong candidate.

Book your IELTS test with the British Council now

Job opportunities in the public sector after taking IELTS 

Let’s explore some of the job opportunities you can expect to find after taking IELTS when job searching in the UK. The public sector encompasses lots of different roles and skill sets. Here are some areas where overseas workers are in demand. 

The NHS (National Health Service) and social care

Demand for healthcare professionals is at record-breaking levels in the UK. More than one in ten job listings were for doctors, nurses, and carers in 2022. The UK often looks to foreign workers to fill empty positions. 

The General Medical Council (GMC) recognises a broad range of foreign qualifications in medicine across the world. There’s also a specialised Health and Care Worker Visa to help skilled healthcare professionals move to the UK faster.

Perhaps you’re still in school and your end goal is working in a UK hospital. You’ll find that an IELTS test for medical students is also a requirement for many British degree courses. 

Although the need for nurses and carers is the highest, you can explore opportunities in a variety of jobs. Your knowledge or expertise may be useful in roles such as administration, management, or research.

Many NHS centres require an IELTS test for medical professionals working in their facilities. Both doctors and nurses should achieve at least a score of 7 to be considered for a role. Applicants must sit the IELTS Academic test rather than the General Training one in order to register with the relevant authorities.

If you’re successful, salaries start around £30,000 per year for entry-level positions and you can enjoy job security while progressing in your career.

The NHS often provides support for applicants interested in job opportunities in the public healthcare system. You can also read our guide on IELTS for nursing in the UK to see the steps to getting a job. 

The education system

Similar to healthcare, there’s always a need for qualified teachers in the UK. Some specialties are in such demand that the government offers a relocation payment of £10,000 to bring them into the UK.

Most education positions require you to have a minimum IELTS score of 4. However, strong communication skills are essential in a teaching role, so schools are likely to prioritise the candidates with the highest scores.

They will want to know that you’ll be able to explain all the terms related to your subject and effectively manage the classroom. Having an excellent grasp of English also indicates you’re more likely to be able to discuss sensitive topics with care.

For example, unlike some countries, British teachers don’t expect their students to treat them formally or defer to them. There can be a relaxed atmosphere in many classrooms. Schools may prefer teachers who won’t insist on titles like ‘sir’ or ‘madam’.

You can also consider roles beyond the classroom — there are lots of other job opportunities in education roles like counsellors and examiners.

Foreign languages are especially in demand. You could offer tuition in other languages while using your English skills to arrange lessons and manage sessions. Schools usually teach French, German, and Spanish but many parents want their children to learn more diverse languages like Arabic, Russian, and Mandarin as well. 

The UK civil service

If healthcare or education aren’t for you, there are plenty of job opportunities elsewhere in the UK’s public sector. Foreign workers are eligible to apply for most civil service jobs including:

  • Government
  • Law
  • Research
  • Trade
  • Information and cultural services

The IELTS score you need varies depending on the role. For instance, a government lawyer requires a deep understanding of all the UK legal terminology as well as their specialty. A librarian may only need a CEFR level B2 so they can have short conversations with visitors.

You can browse job openings on the UK government website to see what’s available.

As a foreign worker, you may be able to bring a variety of expertise to the role. Civil servants often have to deal with members of the public from other countries—some of whom aren’t fluent in English. You may also have specialist knowledge of trade or policies in other areas of the world that your colleagues don’t.

Note that some civil service jobs restrict which nationalities can apply. Government positions often entrust employees with sensitive information and they have to ensure the public’s safety. Jobs in security or intelligence are usually reserved for UK nationals. Around 75% of positions are only open to citizens from countries in the European Economic Area (EEA).

If you can get a job in the UK civil service, there are numerous benefits: You’ll be able to work with the public and have a positive impact on other people’s lives. Salaries start around £30,000 for civil servants and often come with generous benefits and pension schemes.

Get ahead with your IELTS score

If you want to progress in your career, an IELTS test can be a significant asset. A good score not only allows you to meet work visa requirements, but also opens up more job opportunities in the public sector, and helps you stand out from other candidates.

So, investing time and effort into your English studies now can bring you enormous benefits later in your career path.

Familiarising yourself with the test and practising the different sections sets you up to achieve your best. Sign up to IELTS Ready to make sure you’re fully prepared for your IELTS test.

Book your IELTS test now