The official name for this career path is a ‘Civil Enforcement Officer’, but seeing as everyone knows them as traffic wardens, we’re going to stick with that. Traffic Wardens make sure that drivers follow the law in terms of road and parking regulations, in order to maintain Britain’s roads as best they can.
What you’ll need more than anything else, is a thick skin. Routinely voted as Britain’s most hated profession, Traffic Wardens come in for a lot of stick, because people don’t like paying fines. But rules are rules and someone has to enforce them, so if you think that you could remain authoritative and polite when dealing with angry people, and remaining calm and professional under pressure, this could be the career for you.
Salary & benefits
Salaries begin for traffic wardens at around £15,000 per year, in a public capacity, although this can rise up above £35,000 if you continue moving up the career ladder, through a supervisory role to the top ranked position of a Parking Manager.
There is a small scope for privately employed officers in car parks and on property that is privately owned, but these are usually small, bespoke companies who specialise in private land enforcement. If you are lucky enough to grab a career in this kind of role, you can expect a higher starting salary and bonuses.
Traffic Wardens usually work between the hours of 8am and 8pm, although the work is usually rota-based, which means you might have to work weekends and evenings on a semi-regular basis.
The day would mostly involve patrolling a given area on foot, inspecting vehicles and keeping an eye out for anything suspicious. Wardens are often given police-branded mopeds to travel between different areas, if that is part of the role you are undertaking.
There are no set entry requirements for the profession, and although some employers may ask for GCSEs or equivalent, much more important to succeeding are communicatory skills and the right mannerisms. If you have experience in working with customers and dealing with stressful situations, many employers would see that as preferable to written qualifications.
You should, however, have a good grasp of written English and be technologically literate enough to work with small hand-held devices, as these are imperative to carrying out your work correctly. If you have to travel, some employers will demand a full, clean, driving license.
Training & progression
You will almost certainly be trained on the job when you begin your career in the industry, learning techniques and skills that are imperative to good enforcement work. On top of this you will have to learn important theoretical elements such as the Traffic Regulations Act and parking enforcement policy, which should guide your everyday activities on the job.
There are also College courses and certificates which could aid you in your everyday activities, such as the NVQ in Controlling Parking Areas. It will be up to your employer whether these kinds of qualifications are necessary to your job, however.