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Engineering design

Clinical engineer

Clinical engineers design, develop and maintain equipment for diagnosing illness and treating patients.

Annual Salary

£24,907 to £44,503

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; on a rota

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Clinical engineer jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you may:

  • test equipment, like walking aids, wheelchairs and speech synthesizers (known as assistive technologies)
  • develop artificial limbs that attach to the patient's own tissue
  • make artificial joints, heart valves and hearing implants from new materials
  • design equipment that allows doctors to try new medical techniques, like optical instruments for keyhole surgery
  • manage medical equipment, like scanners, imaging machines and monitoring systems
  • carry out quality assurance checks to ensure all equipment is working correctly and safely
  • work closely with other medical professionals and technical staff

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, in a laboratory, at a research facility or in a workshop.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • go on a specialist training programme run by the NHS
University

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 3-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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through a healthcare science practitioner degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Other routes

If you do not have a degree, you could apply for the NHS Practitioner Training Programme.

During the 3-year programme, you'll be employed and study a degree in healthcare science at university.

You'll need 5 GCSE grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English language, maths and a science subject and at least 2 A levels, including maths or a science to apply.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a clinical engineer from Health Careers and Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

With experience and further training, you could become a consultant, specialising in particular clinical areas, or move into management, teaching or medical research.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of biology
  • knowledge of physics
  • the ability to read English
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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