What does a clinical engineer do?
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- testing equipment, like walking aids, wheelchairs and speech synthesizers (known as assistive technologies)
- developing artificial limbs that attach to the patient's own tissue
- making artificial joints, heart valves, and hearing implants from new materials
- designing equipment that allows doctors to try new medical techniques, like optical instruments for keyhole surgery
- management of medical equipment, like scanners, imaging machines, and monitoring systems
- carrying out quality assurance checks to ensure all equipment is working correctly and safely
- working closely with other medical professionals and technical staff
What do I need to do to become a clinical engineer?
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- go on a specialist training programme run by the NHS
You can do a degree to start training as a clinical engineer. Relevant subjects include:
- electrical or electronic engineering
- mechanical engineering
- biomedical science/engineering
- pure or applied physics
- applied maths
Your degree should be accredited by the Engineering Council.
After your degree, you can apply for the postgraduate NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP). During the three-year programme, you'll be employed and study a postgraduate master's degree at university.
Competition for places on the STP is high, so it helps if you have relevant experience. Try and do some voluntary work in a hospital and get experience of patient contact.
You could also find employment in the private sector and work your way up to chartered engineer status.
You'll usually need:
- five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including two sciences
- two or three A levels, including maths and physics
You could get into this job through a healthcare science practitioner degree apprenticeship.
You'll usually need four or five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship.
If you do not have a degree, you could apply for the NHS Practitioner Training Programme.
During the three-year programme, you'll be employed and study a degree in healthcare science at university.
To apply, you'll need five GCSE grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English language, maths, and a science subject, and at least two A levels, including maths or a science.
You'll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council.
Where to find out more
Where could I be working?
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, in a laboratory, at a research facility, or in a workshop.
Career opportunitiesWith experience and further training, you could become a consultant, specialising in particular clinical areas, or move into management, teaching, or medical research.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0