Careers and Training

Why choose this career?

Here are some comments from our members about their work:
“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a cancer patient being treated with an item of equipment you have helped to develop”

“My best day at work was when a four year old girl with restricted growth collected a new bike I had designed for her. Smiles like hers are why I do my job”

“It is an extremely interesting and varied job”

Do you want to see some of our members at work? Do you want to use your enthusiasm for science and technology in a way that benefits patients’ lives and gives you a chance to work in multidisciplinary teams? Watch our careers video “Making a Difference – Physics and Engineering Careers in Medicine” to see what different areas there are in the profession.

We also have two more specific careers films – a Medical Engineering Careers film and a Medical Physics Careers film, which can be used in outreach activities where the focus is on one area rather than providing an overview. The SUBTITLED versions can be seen here on our YouTube Channel

What stage are you at?

If you want to get into the profession and some advice on how to best achieve this please see our summary below.

At school / doing A-Levels – at this point you should:

Focus on obtaining good science based A-levels
Start looking at the UCAS website to identify physics or engineering courses which you might find interesting (and check their entry requirements)
Look at the NHS careers website for Careers in medical physics and clinical engineering
Visit the medical physics / engineering department during an open day at your local hospitals
Consider volunteering in a hospital or a patient facing role
For clinical technologists jobs you can consider doing a specific NHS focused degree (PTP Training – see the NHS Careers website)
You could also look at HNC or HND courses in Biomedical Engineering or just Engineering and use these to gain entry to a work-based training scheme in a hospital or in industry.
Many clinical technologists training posts are hospital based so you need to find a job first after your A-levels and then you can do a degree. (If you search in NHS Jobs or NHS Scotland for “clinical technologist” you may find some available on a trainee basis)

At university / doing an undergraduate or MSc degree – at this point you should:

Look at the NHS careers website for more details on NHS careers in medical physics and clinical engineering.
If you are interested in applying for the NHS Clinical Scientist Trainee Scheme see the details here. This is a very competitive process and the deadline for applications is normally in January
Visit the medical physics / engineering department during an open day at your local hospitals
Consider volunteering in a hospital or a patient facing role
Check the British Association of Healthcare Industries membership list – there are a lot of very useful websites for relevant companies you may not have heard of. This is very useful if you are looking for a career in industry.
Some larger manufacturers (e.g. Elekta) have Trainee schemes as well for which you can apply for.
Consider doing a PhD and stay in academia doing research in the field. There are some EPSRC funded PhDs. You would need to do some research to find opportunities which interest you
If you have a degree from outside of the UK contact NARIC for a certificate to show the UK level of your overseas qualifications.
Join IPEM as an Affiliate Member – it is free for full time students.

At university / doing or have done a PhD?

If you are not staying in academia or applying for work in industry but want to work in the NHS: Some hospitals will employ you at a lower level and allow you to train as a Healthcare Scientist and eventual clincial registration via a “Route 2”. This means that you do not attend the STP training aimed at students having finished their first degree. In the NHS you should try searching for Band 7 Clinical Scientist posts (also use the term “Route 2”)