Careers Service Occupations

Healthcare

Healthcare

About

With over 1.3 million staff the National Health Service (NHS) is one of the largest employers in the world, and is the biggest in Europe (NHS Jobs). 

Careers advice

General

Medicine

Dentistry

NHS: Dental team includes a breakdown of types of dentists, dentist training and your career after dental school.

Allied health professions

Pharmacy

Optometry

Nursing and related occupations

Industry news

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates. They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies. 

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Medicine

Dentistry

Art therapy

Dietetics

Drama therapy

Music therapy

Occupational therapy

Paramedic

Physiotherapy

Prosthetics and Orthotics

Radiography

Speech therapy

Chiropody and Podiatry

Pharmacy

Optometry

Nursing and related occupations

Making contacts

Making contacts is helpful for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field are gained through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:

Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, is useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. Find out more about how to use social media for your career and subscribe to our health professionsgeneral healthcaremedicine & dentistry and nursing & midwifery Twitter lists.

Events 

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts. For events for this sector see Careers Service events and External Events.

Related sectors

You may also be interested in Complementary TherapiesCounselling & Psychotherapy or Probation and Social Work.

Or see our other occupational pages for more options.

Roles & Skills

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

Medicine

Doctor, general practice

Doctor, hospital

Pathologist

Physician associate/assistant 

Psychiatrist

Surgeon

Dentistry

Dentist

Dental hygienist

Dental therapist

Facial reconstruction (from a dental background)

Allied health professions 

Art therapist

Dietitian

Drama therapist

Music therapist

Occupational therapist

Operating department practitioner

Orthoptist

Paramedic

Podiatrist / Chiropodist

Physiotherapist

Prosthetist and Orthotist

Radiographer

Speech and language therapist

Pharmacy

Community / retail pharmacist

Hospital pharmacist

Primary care pharmacist

Pharmacy technician

Optometry

Optometrist

Dispensing optician

Nursing and related occupations

Adult nurse

Health promotion specialist

Health visitor

Learning disability nurse

Mental health nurse

Midwife

Paediatric nurse

Management

Health service manager 

See also NHS Careers for occupational information on a variety of NHS management roles.

 

 

Marie E is a nurse for people with learning disabilities.

Gaining Experience

Recent and relevant experience is essential for most healthcare roles.

Practical skills are essential, so look for opportunities to develop and practice the following abilities:

  • interpersonal, communication and listening skills
  • empathy and patience
  • putting people at ease
  • building rapport with a wide range of people
  • explaining complex ideas simply
  • analysing information

Hospital placements are not the only source of practical experience. Opportunities in care or community work allow you to gain experience with people of different ages and circumstances, including those who are vulnerable, anxious or in distress.

Finding work experience

Paid opportunities

Voluntary experience

See Volunteering for more information.

Finding companies

Work shadowing with relevant practitioners can demonstrate your knowledge of the role and organisation when applying.

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Find contacts through professional associations, institutes and trusts, as listed in About. See NHS authorities and trusts for details of specific trusts.

Finding Jobs

There are a wide variety of places to find vacancies within the healthcare sector.

Healthcare (general)

Healthcare recruitment agencies

  • Allied - domiciliary care and healthcare recruitment agency
  • Team24 - healthcare recruitment agency 

Vacancy sources for specific roles:

Medicine

Dentistry

Allied health professions

Art therapy

Dietetics

Drama therapy

Music therapy

Occupational therapy

Orthoptics

Paramedic

Podiatry

Physiotherapist

Prosthetics and orthotics

The British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO) have vacancies on a members forum that requires professional registration.

Radiography

Speech and language therapy

Pharmacy

Optometry

Study

Most professions in the healthcare sector require specific accredited university qualifications.

Professions

Medicine

For information on routes into medicine see Applying for Medical School.

Allied healthcare professions

To practise as an allied healthcare professional you will need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC you first need to complete an approved degree, see the individual occupational profiles in roles and skills for information on specific professions. 

Find a course by using the NHS course finder.

Pharmacy

To practise as a pharmacist you need to complete a masters degree in pharmacy (MPharm). This must be a course approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). On completion of your degree you must first complete a pre-registration training year in a GPhC-approved community or hospital pharmacy and pass a registration exam.

Find a degree by using the NHS course finder or see the GPhC website for details of approved MPharm courses.

Optometry

To practise as an optometrist you need to complete a General Optical Council (GOC) approved degree in optometry. On completion of your degree, you must then complete 12 to 15 months' pre-registration training with a GOC-approved optometrist and pass a GOC assessment.

See the GOC website for details of approved courses.

Nursing

To qualify as a nurse you need to complete a degree approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).

Find a course by using the NHS or NMC course finder.

Funding

Funding for some healthcare courses is provided by NHS bursaries. The amount of money awarded will depend on your personal eligibility and student status, you can find this out by using a bursary calculator.

Find out about the changes to financial support for approved healthcare courses taking place in August 2017. 

See Further Study for more information on funding and applying for courses or visit us and speak to an information adviser. 

Self-employment

Many professionals in the healthcare industry start their own businesses.

START UP provides information on the range of activities and support available to eligible Newcastle students and graduates interested in starting their own business or working for themselves.

COBRA has factsheets and reports on starting up and running a business. COBRA can only be accessed through a University computer on the Newcastle campus.