Allied health professionals provide treatment and help rehabilitate adults and children who are ill, have disabilities or special needs, to live life as fully as possible. They often manage their own caseloads.
The training for each of these professions involves going to university to do an approved programme. For some careers, only full-time courses are available, but for others there may be part-time routes too.
For more information about the profession and the training, explore the career that interests you:
For these professions, use our coursefinder to locate courses that lead to statutory registration (a legal requirement to practice in the UK).
At present, the NHS provides financial support to eligible students on approved courses for a number of the allied health professions.
Yes, there are opportunities to work in a variety of clinical support roles, such as a dietetic assistant, physiotherapy assistant, podiatry assistant, occupational therapy assistant, technical instructor, radiography assistant, orthotic technician, prosthetic technician and speech and language therapy assistant.
Depending on your role, your employer may then support you to train as a fully qualified AHP. Have a look at NHS Jobs for current vacancies.
No, there aren't opportunities to do this. You would need to do an approved undergraduate or masters programme. Use our coursefinder for details of these courses or visit our page about dietetic assistants for more information about what they do.
There are opportunities to work with patients who have received injuries through sport (e.g. as a doctor specialising in this field), or using sport as part of a programme of rehabilitation after an injury, illness or operation (e.g.physiotherapist, physiotherapy assistant, cardiac physiologist) and in promoting better health (e.g. health trainer).
Have a look at our ambulance team careers page to find out.
You may need a C1 category on your licence, but it depends on the ambulance service trust that you are applying to and the types of vehicles that it uses. The requirements will be contained in the person specification for each vacancy. Visit the NHS Jobs website to search for vacancies.
There are two ways to train as a paramedic - an approved full-time university course or train while working as a student paramedic with an ambulance trust. Visit our paramedic page for details. You can also search for approved university courses using our coursefinder.
If you want to be an ambulance driver, you'll usually be a qualified ambulance care assistant/patient transport service driver, emergency care assistant,ambulance technician or paramedic
Although ambulance service trusts currently employ ambulance technicians, it is no longer possible to enter this role as a new entrant. Those technicians currently working will be provided with opportunities to work as emergency care assistants or progress onto paramedic training, where they meet the requirements to do so.
Dialling 999 gets you through to the emergency services - including the police, ambulance service or fire and rescue service. In terms of the ambulance service, calls will usually be handled by an emergency medical dispatcher/call handler.
The NHS employs motor vehicle mechanics and technicians to check and maintain the ambulance vehicle itself. However, ensuring it is suitably stocked with the appropriate medical equipment and supplies is just as important and can be the responsibility of an ambulance care assistant/patient transport service driver.
Training for many of the roles in the ambulance service is done while you are working so you would continue to receive your salary. If you plan to take an approved full-time university course in paramedic science, you will not usually receive financial support from the NHS (but you should check with the university). Those training through the student paramedic route will usually be salaried while studying on a part-time basis.
You will usually be trained while you are working in the ambulance service - you would not normally do a course before applying for a job, but you should always check the person specification for the vacancy you're applying for. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website.
The exact driving licence requirements will vary between ambulance service trusts and some may support you to gain the appropriate categories of licence to drive larger vehicles. It's therefore essential that you check when applying for paramedic vacancies on the NHS Jobs website.
It is highly unlikely you will just drive an ambulance. If you work in the emergency side of ambulance work, you'll usually be a trained emergency care assistant or paramedic and be involved in directly assessing and providing patient treatment.
In the patient transport service, you'll be expected to help patients get into and out of the vehicle and have a knowledge of first aid and safe transportation.
Course finder only lists those clinical courses that lead to statutory professional registration. If your career isn't listed in the drop down box, please use the "Search" option at the top right hand corner of the screen. If you need further help, please contact NHS Careers by using the Contact us form or calling 0345 60 60 655.
For details of post-qualifying courses, contact your professional body or call the Health Learning and Skills Advice Line (08000 150 850)
An accelerated course leading to registration is available for some clinical careers. These are shortened courses and aimed at graduates. If you are a graduate, you will need to contact each university that you are considering to check if your degree subject is acceptable for entry.
Please email email@example.com detailing the required changes.
There are several stages to the training, but you'll need to start by going to university to do an approved degree in dentistry. Have a look at our information about training as a dentist. You can also use the coursefinder to search for the dental schools/universities approved to run degree courses in dentistry.
You'll need to go to university to do an approved degree course in dental hygiene or dental therapy. You can use the coursefinder to search for the universities approved to run degree courses in dental hygiene and dental therapy.
You'll need to put what you learn into practice and so even if you do a full-time course, there will usually be dental nurse placements or time spent in the dental school's practice. Visit our dental nursing pages for details of the training.
A range of qualifications may be acceptable for entry into medical school. Have a look at our entry requirements page. However, each medical school sets its own requirements, so you must check before making any applications.
You can also use our coursefinder to search for the medical schools/universities approved to run degree courses in medicine.
It partly depends on the qualifications you have before going to medical school, and the type of doctor you want to be. For example as a guide, it'll take around 10 years to train as a GP (including medical school) and 14 years to train as a surgeon.
You can read more on the specialty pages of the Medical Careers website.
Have a look at our information about pay for doctors.
Some medical schools may accept specific Access to medicine courses, but you should always check with the medical school before embarking on an Access course.
You can get a list of medical schools approved to run degrees in medicine by using our coursefinder.
You may be eligible to receive some financial support during your degree in medicine. After medical school, you will usually be salaried during the foundation and specialty training stages.
You should speak to your line manager and your training department. You can also contact the Health Learning and Skills Advice Line on 08000 150 850.
It depends on the nature of the offence, and the sort of work you want to do in the NHS - for example, for roles with direct patient contact you will usually legally be required to declare all criminal offences. Any requirements like these will be stated in the job advertisement or when you apply to do a relevant university course.
No. Around 50% of the NHS workforce has a university or other professional qualification, but there are lots of opportunities for staff without these qualifications, especially in the wider healthcare team.
There are many careers that you could consider in the NHS. These include occupational therapist, mental health nurse, speech and language therapist, psychiatrist, music therapist, social worker, dramatherapist, psychotherapist, art therapist, healthcare assistant, prison nurse, clinical psychologist, psychological wellbeing practitioner and high intensity therapist.
Many careers involve working directly with or specialising to work exclusively with children. They include newborn hearing screener, children's nurse, paediatrician, clinical psychologist, speech and language therapist, audiologist, physiotherapist, healthcare assistant, hospital play specialist, nursery nurse, nursery assistant, child psychotherapist, health visitor, school nurse and social worker.
A number of careers involve providing direct care or treatment of patients with cancer. These include radiologist, cancer nurse, nurse specialising in palliative care, oncologist, scientist in haematology, healthcare assistant, therapeutic radiographer, biomedical scientist and palliative care doctor. In addition to the NHS, opportunities exist with organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Relief.
There is no upper age limit to join the NHS. Indeed, maturity/life experience can be an asset for many roles. If the career you are considering requires university training, then you should discuss any concerns that you might have about your suitability with the universities directly. You might consider attending some university open days or contacting the university's admissions office before making a formal application.
You can use our coursefinder to get a list of universities approved to run courses for a number of clinical careers.
The NHS currently provides financial support to eligible students on approved pre-registration courses in nursing, midwifery, most of the allied health professions, dental hygiene, dental nursing, medicine and dentistry. The type of support varies, depending on the career and the course. For more information, visit the NHS Student Bursaries website.
The Students Awards Services offers a similar scheme in Wales.
It depends on the type and level of job you are working in. Doctors, dentists and senior managers have their own pay systems, whereas all other NHS staff are paid under the Agenda for Change pay system.
Take a look at the NHS Jobs website to see what current vacancies are available in the NHS.
If you are still at school or college, your local NHS organisations may offer the opportunity to gain work experience. Our Step into the NHS website also has a smart guide for young people looking for work experience. You will need to register to the website to access this.
Each NHS organisation will have its own policy, so you will have to contact your local NHS organisation(s) or visit their website(s) to find out. For NHS organisations in Wales, visit www.wales.nhs.uk. Voluntary work is another way of gaining an insight into working in the NHS.
Many healthcare professionals are regulated on a statutory basis. This means that to work as one of these professionals, you are legally required to be registered with the relevant regulatory body.
Many other professions have voluntary registration which means that it isn't a legal requirement to be registered, but it is usually in the interests of the individual to do so.
Health informatics is an umbrella term referring to staff in the NHS who collate, manage, interpret and present patient information. They also manage the computer, telephony and other communications systems.
Some posts require few academic qualifications while others may need postgraduate qualifications or professional membership.
In some careers, you will be trained on the job. For others you may need to have particular qualifications/experience/training already. Have a look at our training page.
Visit the NHS Connecting for Health website for information about the National Clinical Coding Qualification (UK).
Many skills gained outside the NHS can be transferred across e.g. website development. Visit our pages about careers in health informatics, and in particular, the sections on Information and Communication Technology.
There are also roles in information management that may interest you. It is essential to read the person specification for any job vacancy you are considering. Visit the NHS Jobs website to search for vacancies.
Yes, there will be some opportunities in programming. Visit the NHS Jobs website to search for vacancies.
If you have particular programming languages/skills, you might want to search on these using the search on skills field of the advanced search page of the site.
If you cannot find the course you are looking for in your region, try searching under neighbouring regions or look at the full list of universities. You can then contact the relevant local education and training board for more information.
All courses have been commissioned by the NHS locally so you'll need to speak to them. The contact details are for the co-ordinators who are organising the education programme in their region. The co-ordinators have all the information you'll need when applying for courses such as how to apply and the financial help available.
Healthcare scientists help prevent, diagnose and treat illness using their knowledge of science and their technical skills. They use their expertise to help save lives and improve patient care in a supporting role or in direct contact with patients. They work in three main areas - life sciences, physiological sciencesand physical sciences & biomedical engineering.
Not at all. There are scientists who use a variety of highly specialised equipment to analyse body tissue, blood and other bodily fluids. However, many healthcare scientists such as those in the physiological sciences will have a lot of direct patient contact and work in clinics or on wards.
The training you'll need depends on the particular role you are working in. Training for support staff in healthcare science e.g. cervical cytology screener, phlebotomist,newborn hearing screener or clinical support worker is usually on-the-job. So you'll be training while you're working, maybe towards a QCF qualification, such as a foundation degree.
Under Modernising Scientific Careers an increasing number of universities are providing healthcare science degrees for undergraduates. There is also the Scientist Training Programme for graduates who train by working and studying towards professional postgraduate qualifications. Training routes are increasingly changing under Modernising Scientific Careers.
We've provided an overview on our About Modernising Scientific Careers page. There's also more information on the Chief Scientific Officer's page on the Department of Health's website.
A degree in sports science/fitness will not qualify you for any particular role in the NHS, but there may be other roles where it could be advantageous, includingphysiotherapist, physiotherapy assistant, cardiac physiologist and in health promotion.
You'll need to check the training requirements in the person specification when applying for vacancies in these roles as this will tell you what skills, qualifications and experience are required/preferred.
Visit our page about working as a medical illustrator.
No, the NHS does not fund students on full-time undergraduate science degrees. You should check directly with the university to see if any funding is provided from other sources.
We have provided some information about the Scientist Training Programme on this site.
In 2012, the starting salary was £25,528 (excluding location allowance where applicable). For successful candidates already working for the NHS, the local employer is responsible for considering any issue of pay protection or payment at a higher salary for the duration of the training.
No you do not need a degree to work in the healthcare science team. Examples of support roles that you might want to consider include pharmacy technician, cervical cytology screener, phlebotomist, newborn hearing screener, clinical support workerand pharmacy assistant.
It depends on what your qualifications are in and the role you wish to work in. Some healthcare science careers (specifically biomedical scientists and clinical scientists) require statutory registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.
In order to register with any of these organisations, you will need to meet their requirements, which may well include relevant experience as well as recognised qualifications.
The work that you do will depend on the role. As a starting point, have a look at our information on the work of a clinical support worker.
NHS managers work in a wide variety of disciplines including clinical care, human resources, finance, information, project, supplies, procurement and communications. Visit our section on careers in management for further details.
There are various routes into management. You could work your way up from more junior roles; apply for a place on the Graduate Management Training Scheme or gain relevant experience in another sector before applying for a position in the NHS.
The Graduate Management Training Scheme usually recruits a number of graduates onto a fast track training programme and prepares them for senior management roles.
The scheme focuses on four management specialist areas - general management, human resources, finance and health informatics.
Not at all. There are a number of routes into management. You could work your way up from more junior roles or gain relevant experience in another sector before applying for a position in the NHS.
You may therefore have gained skills in another role (within or outside of the NHS) and be able to use these in a management role.
No. However, there are some more senior roles that may require experience of managing resources in a healthcare environment.
No. It depends on the candidate that best meets the criteria in the person specification and can demonstrate this through the application and selection process.
Yes. By gaining appropriate experience and training, it is possible to meet the required criteria for more senior level positions.
Take a look at our page on project management.
You'll need to take an approved course in midwifery. Have a look at our routes into midwifery page.
Each university sets its own entry requirements to get onto a full-time degree in midwifery, but as a general guide you'll need at least 5 A-C grade GCSEs (including English and a science subject) and at least 2 (preferably 3) A' levels - biology may be required by some.
Alternative qualifications such as an approved access to midwifery course, BTEC National Diploma or International Baccalaureate may be acceptable, but you must check with each university directly before making an application.
Use our coursefinder to get a list of universities approved to run degrees in midwifery.
No, you do not need to be a nurse first - although this is one of the routes into the profession. Have a look at our routes into midwifery page.
If you train first as a nurse, with a plan of later doing further study to register as a midwife, you need to be aware that it is up to each NHS employing organisation to decide whether or not it will support staff to do this training. The decision is based partly on perceived future workforce needs.
You also need to bear in mind that nursing and midwifery are two separate and very different professions, and if you decide to train first as a nurse, your UCAS personal statement will need to demonstrate your interest in nursing and not midwifery.
This route into midwifery does not attract NHS financial support in the same way as direct entry nursing or midwifery courses.
No, you cannot do an apprenticeship to become a midwife. Some NHS organisations run apprenticeships in health care/care and these may provide you with sufficient experience and qualifications to be able to apply for a pre-registration degree in midwifery.
Having a love of babies is clearly important, but as a midwife, your main role will be monitoring the unborn baby and expectant mother while providing advice and support.
Places on approved degree programmes in midwifery at universities are purchased by the NHS. The number of places is decided by the NHS and based on perceived future workforce needs.
Use our coursefinder to get a list of universities approved to run degrees in midwifery.
To train as a midwife, you will need to do an approved degree in midwifery at university. Most courses are full-time, but some NHS employers will support staff working at a senior support level/assistant practitioner level to do the degree on a part-time basis.
Nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospital wards, operating theatres, clinics, doctors' surgeries and patients' homes. They work as part of a team and provide direct patient care.
When you first train as a nurse, you'll study in one of the four branches of nursing - mental health, learning disability, children's or adult nursing. For more information, visit our nursing careers website.
Each university sets its own entry requirements to get onto a full-time degree in nursing, but as a general guide you'll need at least 5 A-C grade GCSEs (including English and a science subject) and at least 2 (preferably 3) A' levels. Some universities may also require A level biology.
Alternative qualifications may include approved access to nursing courses, BTEC National Diplomas or International Baccalaureates, but you must check with each university directly before making an application.
Use our coursefinder to get a list of universities approved to run degree and Dip HE programmes in nursing. Be aware that all nurse training will be via the degree route only from 2013.
If you want to train as a nurse, then you will have to go university.
Most courses are full-time, but if you are working in the NHS as a senior healthcare assistant or assistant practitioner, your employer may support you to do the university course on a part-time basis.
In other words, your employer may support you to train through this route. You will usually continue to be paid by your employer, but will not be eligible for financial support through an NHS student bursary (which you may receive if you do the university course on a full-time basis).
You may be able to get some accreditation for previous relevant experience and/or study, and if you can do this, you can complete the nursing programme in a shorter time (up to a year less than a standard 3-year programme). Use ourcoursefinder to identify universities offering accelerated programmes in nursing.
No. You will need to check with each university individually to see what arrangements are in place. You can use our coursefinder to get a list of universities approved to run nursing programmes.
There is no upper age limit to start nurse training but you should discuss any concerns that you might have about your suitability for training with the universities offering courses. Use our coursefinder to get a list.
You might consider attending some university open days or contacting the university's admissions office before making a formal application.
Yes. If you are an eligible student on an approved programme in nursing, you may receive financial help from the NHS. Visit the NHS Student Bursaries website for more information.
You should check with the universities offering these programmes to find out which branch of nursing (if any) is stipulated. You might want to start by contacting theHealth Learning and Skills Advice Line on 08000 150 850.
By gaining appropriate qualifications and experience as a pharmacy assistant you can apply for positions as a pharmacy technician. However, you cannot progress from pharmacy technician to pharmacist, as you need to do the 4-year full-time MPharm degree.
Use our coursefinder to identify the universities approved to run the MPharm.
Careers in the psychological therapies include counsellors, high intensity therapists, primary care graduate mental health workers, psychological wellbeing practitioners, psychologists (working in clinical, counselling, forensic and health areas of psychology) and psychotherapists.
Most staff in the NHS that provide psychotherapy are clinically qualified healthcare professionals, such as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers or arts therapists who have undergone appropriate training. Visit our pages about psychotherapy for more information.
The NHS employs clinical, counselling, forensic and health psychologists. For more information about financial support during postgraduate training, click here.
IAPT is an initiative to provide greater public access to the talking therapies.
Specifically, there are opportunities to train as psychological wellbeing practitioners and high intensity therapists. However, if you like the idea of using the talking therapies, you might also want to look at opportunities for working as a counsellor, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, mental health nurse, arts therapist or social worker.
If you like the idea of working as a counsellor, visit our webpage.
The NHS also employs staff in a broad range of roles using the talking therapies, including psychological wellbeing practitioners, high intensity therapists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and others.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) training is provided by a number of organisations.
However, if you want to undertake this training while working in the NHS, you should consider applying for roles such as psychological wellbeing practitioner or a high intensity therapist, if you are already a qualified healthcare professional.
Although NHS Careers does not produce careers literature specifically for schools and careers organisations, we do have a suite of literature, which is appropriate for all ages. We produce three levels of materials:
All of the above publications can be downloaded from the NHS Careers website. Schools, colleges, universities and other organisations in England can order stocks of our literature by calling us on 0345 60 60 655.
We also have a range of resources to help teachers and careers advisers engage with the people they provide careers advice to.
You cannot train to be a midwife by solely taking an apprenticeship as anyone wanting to practice as a midwife will need to complete a pre-registration midwifery degree programme approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
There are some apprenticeships in healthcare which could enable the apprentice to achieve appropriate qualifications for entry onto a midwifery degree programme, but any potential applicant should check with universities before embarking on the apprenticeship programme.
Job vacancies with NHS organisations in England and Wales can be found on the NHS Jobs website http://www.jobs.nhs.uk/
NHS Careers has four websites:
Unfortunately, NHS Careers is not resourced to attend events at individual schools or colleges.
The NHS is currently made up of over 400 separate organisations in England and each is an employer in its own right. These organisations include acute (hospital) trusts, ambulance service trusts, mental health trusts and primary care trusts. You could approach your local NHS trust(s) and ask them if they can provide a representative. When contacting your local trust, you should ask to speak to someone in the human resources department, voluntary services or learning and development departments. You may be referred to a specific person within the trust whose role may include this type of work. Details of NHS organisations in England can be found on the NHS Choices website. If you are in Wales, visit www.wales.nhs.uk.
You could also see if your local university run NHS-funded/healthcare courses, and approach them. They may not be able to provide an overview of the range of careers in the NHS, but you could supplement any input with literature from NHS Careers.
Giving students and others the chance to experience work within healthcare can present challenges for some NHS organisations. Quality of care and patient confidentiality are paramount, so careful consideration has to be given to where work experience students can go, when they can come and what they can do.
There are a few things to be aware of:
For students interested in work experience within NHS Wales please visit: www.weds.wales.nhs.uk/work-experience
In terms of information on particular careers, our main NHS Careers website has lots of information.
We also have a website http://www.whatcanidowithmydegree.nhs.uk/ designed specifically for undergraduates, recent graduates or anyone wanting to get an idea of the sort of NHS careers they could pursue with a degree. It provides information on career prospects based on degree subjects, signposting and practical tools to help students investigate the possibilities of working in the NHS as their next step.
The NHS currently provides financial support to students on approved pre-registration courses in nursing, midwifery, most of the allied health professions, dental hygiene, dental nursing, medicine, dentistry, some audiology courses (where these still exist) and dentistry courses. The type of support varies, depending on the career and the course.
Financial support in Wales is slightly different. For details, please visit this site: www.weds.wales.nhs.uk/finance
You don't usually need any formal qualifications or training to apply for healthcare assistant posts in the NHS. Some relevant care experience, such as volunteering, can be really helpful.
NHS organisations in England and Wales advertise their vacancies on the NHS Jobs website.
To find out what sort of qualifications, skills and experience are required, have a look at the person specification for each vacancy. This will give you the details you'll need to decide whether you have what is needed already, or need to do something else first.
Many NHS patients are able to access certain complementary or alternative therapies on referral by their family doctor/GP. The complementary therapists providing this treatment are not usually employed directly by the NHS. However, some healthcare professionals may practice certain complementary therapies.
For more information, see our webpage on complementary and alternative medicine.
You can find more information on our page about health trainers.
To train as a phlebotomist, you will usually need to be employed in an appropriate role in the NHS e.g. as a healthcare assistant or medical laboratory assistant/support worker and your employer will support you to do a part-time course in phlebotomy/venepuncture.
There are various roles in administration in the NHS, including medical secretary and receptionist, as well as, those in finance and human resources, for example. There are also opportunities in management.
Some roles will require academic qualifications, such as GCSEs, or an equivalent vocational qualification. Others may require a degree or professional qualifications, such as in accountancy or human resources.
The NHS usually supports staff to develop their career further, so you may start at a more junior level and work your way into more senior positions with greater responsibility.
Many NHS organisations also offer apprenticeships in administration. To find current apprenticeship opportunities in the NHS, visit the NHS Jobs and National Apprenticeships websites. We also have information on the type of apprenticeships in the NHS.
Not everyone working in public health works in the NHS, and opportunities exist in local government and charities/the voluntary sector too. You might find it helpful to visit the PHORCaST website which gives a good overview of the opportunities that exist within and outside of the NHS.
Take a look at our page about hospital play specialists.
You need to be employed by the NHS in order to be able to access courses and training relevant to the role of an assistant practitioner.
If you are applying for a vacancy as an assistant practitioner, you will need to make sure that you meet the criteria contained in the person specification for the post before applying.