NHS Careers > Explore by career > Healthcare science > Careers in healthcare science > Careers in clinical engineering and medical physics > Clinical engineer

Clinical engineer

A clinical engineer or bio-engineer designs equipment for monitoring, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation or research. They may design laser equipment or electronic aids for patients with disabilities and investigate the mechanics of the human body.

They use physical sciences and their knowledge of materials and manufacturing to make significant contributions to the diagnosis and the treatment of disease, and to the rehabilitation of patients with disabilities.

Main job roles

  • designing and developing instruments for patient monitoring, diagnosis, treatment or research
  • responsibility for quality assurance of patient connected equipment in hospitals
  • building and testing of new joint replacements, active implants and equipment used for various types of non-invasive - 'keyhole' - or precision surgery
  • those working in the rehabilitation field may deal with custom design and manufacture of aids such as wheelchairs or speech synthesisers etc. and research into the mechanics of the body.

Clinical engineers work closely with patients, technical and medical staff and administrative staff as well as equipment manufacturers. Many engineers work in large departments that deal with a variety of medical physics activities and are encouraged to share their specialist knowledge.

Further information is available on the medical physicist web page.


Entry requirements:

There are increasingly opportunities to enter this area of healthcare science at undergraduate level through the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) or through the graduate entry route of the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).

The minimum entry requirement for the PTP is typically a good range of A-C grade GCSEs plus a minimum of two A levels or equivalent including a science subject. However, this is just a guide. Applicants must check with the universities they wish to apply to, to confirm their exact requirements.

For STP training places, a minimum of a 2:1 in a relevant science degree or a 2:2 with a relevant postgraduate qualification is required.

Training programmes

For the PTP, entry is through an accredited BSc healthcare science (clinical engineering) or an accredited BSc Healthcare Science programme in medical physics. These are 3-year programmes which combine academic study with practical experience gained in the NHS. Students on these programmes do not receive NHS financial support.

At STP level, trainees should search for STP vacancies such as in rehabilitation engineering; clinical measurement and development; or medical device risk management and governance.


You must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council to practice in the UK as a clinical scientist. Click here for details.

In the future, trainees completing the Scientist Training Programme may not work as clinical scientists and so may not be required to register on a statutory basis. Please check individual job/training place vacancy details for information when applying.

How to apply

Applications for full-time BSc healthcare Science courses need to be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

A list of accredited BSc Healthcare Science courses can be found on the using our coursefinder

There is an annual recruitment cycle for the STP. Click here for details.

Further information

For more information about careers in clinical engineering, contact:

Institution of Physics and Engineering in Medicine
Fairmount House
230 Tadcaster Road
YO24 1ES

Tel: 01904 610821
Fax: 01904 612279
Email: office@ipem.ac.uk
Website: http://www.ipem.ac.uk