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Clinical engineer Biomedical engineer, bio-engineer

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £41,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37.5 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a degree in a relevant science or engineering subject (2:1 or higher), or a postgraduate qualification, to apply for the Scientist Training Programme (STP) – a 3-year on-the-job NHS training scheme.

Alternatively, with a degree you could also find employment in the private sector and work your way up to chartered engineer status.

If you don’t have a degree, you could apply for the Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) – a 3-year degree in healthcare science with NHS work placements.

You’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council once qualified.
You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Visit Health Careers for more details about working as a clinical engineer.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent technical knowledge
  • excellent communication skills for talking to patients
  • the ability to prioritise workloads and plan effectively
  • budgeting skills

3. What you'll 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

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 to £25,000 (trainee)

Experienced: £26,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £41,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work around 37.5 hours a week, between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. In the NHS, you may have to work evenings or weekends as part of an on-call rota, depending on your role.

If you work in a hospital, you’ll be based in a clinic and an engineering workshop. You’ll need to travel locally, usually to manage and maintain medical equipment in hospitals or health centres. You may also need to travel for conferences and meetings.

In research or industry, you’ll usually be based in a laboratory. You’ll travel to introduce new equipment to hospitals.

6. Career path and progression

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

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Last updated: 21 December 2016