NHS Careers > Explore by who you are > Changing careers

Changing careers

Are you passionate about what you do but are looking to change employer? Perhaps you are looking for a complete change of career and are considering retraining for a healthcare profession.

Either way, the NHS will have a career for you. We recruit people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience and offer an excellent benefits package for all employees. You can find out more on the benefits of working in the NHS.

Make a difference

You can join the NHS in a huge variety of roles, some where you will be working directly with patients, and there are a variety of entry routes open to you. You may not want to undergo years of training but still be keen to join the NHS and make a difference to patients' lives.

For many clinical support worker roles, for example, you can work as an occupational therapy assistant, medical laboratory assistant or maternity support worker, and you may not need a host of academic qualifications. Instead, employers will look for motivation, enthusiasm and a dedication to caring, and you can progress your career by learning whilst you work.

Alternatively, you may be keen to undertake a degree, diploma or other formal training to start your new career. This could lead you to a job working in nursing or in healthcare science, as a physiotherapist, a paramedic or a dental therapist, for example. There is no age limit when it comes to starting your training and any experience you can bring will be an asset. You might also get some financial support while training.

Getting some work experience, or voluntary work, in your area of interest can help you decide if it is the career you want to follow and will demonstrate your commitment to your training.

You can read more about how some people changed career and joined the NHS.


Are you concerned you don't have recent qualifications, such as GCSEs or A levels? Because the NHS welcomes people of all ages and experiences, there are a number of routes you can take into training.

For example, many candidates for nursing and midwifery courses left school some years ago or are coming to nursing or midwifery through existing healthcare experience. Some have no formal qualifications but are still able to join an access course which will lead them to higher education.

Management experience

There are a number of management roles within the NHS, where you can put to use the experience gained in your previous roles, either in the public or private sectors. In some management roles you will be able to build on your clinical skills, or you may be able to utilise other skills in finance, communications, IT or project management, for example. You can join the NHS at a level corresponding to your skills and expertise.

Read more about management careers in the NHS. Read the experiences of some individuals who have joined the NHS with previous management experience.