Start your career with us

Want to work for the NHS? Let us help you

Want to love your job 2So you want to work for the NHS? There’s never been a better time to join us!

We care for patients in many different places and have people back at base who help our clinical colleagues do what they do. Your ambition and a little bit of imagination can take you anywhere.

If you can spare just a few minutes, watch this short film to discover how happy working in healthcare can make you.

Did you know?

  • The NHS is the largest employer in Europe.
  • You can enter a number of roles as an apprentice – learning while you earn.
  • Career opportunities are endless.
  • There is a range of superb benefits to suit everyone.

Want to find out what career in the NHS may suit you? Try this quiz to find the role for you.

Fancy watching a few more quick films? See NHS Careers YouTube channel.

If you are over 21 and would like to work for us, see the how you can work for us page.

Your first step towards working for the NHS

The NHS isn’t all about being a doctor or nurse. In fact, there are more than 350 different career paths with a role for everyone with the right skills and values.

Here are just some of the jobs open to you in the NHS:

  • plumber
  • electrician
  • art therapist
  • brick layer
  • marketing
  • catering assistant
  • painter and decorator
  • accountant
  • administration
  • chef
  • fire trainer

Choosing your GCSE options?

In year 9, you have to make some important decisions about what to study over the next couple of years. You continue with some subjects such as maths, English and science but you have some choice for the others.

In addition to GCSEs, you may be able to take one or more vocational courses at levels 1 or 2, such as a BTEC or (OCR) Oxford, Cambridge and RSA qualification in Health and Social Care.

This may appeal to you if you prefer more practical learning and assessment. Note that not all schools are able to offer all subjects or all types of courses.

How to make your decisions

  • firstly, find out which courses and subjects are available at your school
  • if you are interested in a subject, ask your teachers what it will involve
  • think about which subjects you enjoy at the moment and whether you are likely to do well in them in the future
  • if the career you have in mind is listed below, click on the link for further information. If you role isn’t listed use the NHS careers website where you can search for any role.
  • if you need general information about your options after year 9, find out what careers advice is available through your school. You can also find helpful information through the National Careers Service

If you’re still unsure what you want to do, taking a broad range of subjects will usually help to keep your options open. Remember that getting good grades in English, maths and science will always help you in the future.

  • Paramedic

Paramedics use ambulances, motorbikes, emergency response cars or bicycles to reach people who need help at the scene of an accident or emergency.

To practice as a paramedic, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC, you need to study for an approved qualification in paramedic science which could be a diploma, a foundation degree or a degree.

  • A dental nurse

A dental nurse supports the dentist in all aspects of patients’ dental care. To work as a dental nurse, you have to be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) or be enrolled on a GDC-approved certificate or diploma course. You do not necessarily need academic qualifications to work as a trainee dental nurse but you will need to study for qualifications to progress.

Being a dental nurse requires a friendly, responsible attitude, a positive approach to people and a willingness to study. You must be happy to work as part of a team and willing to learn and understand the science behind dentistry.

  • Information and communication technology (ICT)

This is the development, management and support of the ICT infrastructure in health organisation, including the personal computers, email systems and mobile communications.

ICT staff deliver a variety of different services so people with different qualifications, knowledge and skills are needed. You may have a background in web development or IT helpdesks, for example. Entry requirements will differ depending on the role but it may be possible to enter an entry-level post with no formal qualifications, but GCSEs or equivalent qualifications are an advantage. Apprenticeships in health informatics are also available. Other roles will require very specific professional qualifications such as computer science. The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme also has a health informatics strand for graduates with relevant degrees.

Staff working in ICT will need good technical skills and an ability to diagnose problems systematically. Most roles will need experience and knowledge of Microsoft Windows operating systems and Microsoft Office packages. You’ll also need problem-solving skills, experience of working as a team and be able to work under pressure. ICT staff employed directly by health organisations will need a good understanding of healthcare systems. Those employed by contractors to deliver ICT systems won’t necessarily need this but it is always best to check any job descriptions and person specifications.

  • Pharmacy assistants

Pharmacy assistants help pharmacists order, prepare and dispense medicines. See how you could use your customer service skills in a pharmacy.

There are no set entry requirements to become pharmacy assistant. Employers usually expect good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. You will be given the training you need to be a member of the pharmacy team. This includes health and safety, use of IT systems, manufacturing medicines and dispensing prescriptions.

Pharmacy assistants should have excellent communication skills, customer service skills, IT and manual skills are all needed. You’ll also need to be accurate and methodical, able to read and carry out instructions, be interested in people’s health and able to explain clearly to members of the public.

  • Plumber

Plumbers in the NHS make sure that plumbing and heating systems are safe and in good working order.

There are no set entry requirements but employers expect plumbers to have a qualification and experience in plumbing and/or heating and ventilation. To train as a plumber, you usually need at least three GCSEs (or equivalent) including maths, English and science. Employers may ask for some experience in construction or other practical work. An apprenticeship in an estates support role can provide this. Employers may ask for a driving licence. When you start as a trainee plumber, your training will include health and safety, how to use the tools and equipment and all aspects of plumbing, drainage and heating work. You’ll be expected to study for vocational qualifications and may be encouraged to become multi-skilled by training in, for example, painting and decorating or tiling.

Plumbers need to be interested in practical work and repairs, able to follow technical instructions, accurate and methodical, health and safety aware, willing to work at heights where necessary and able to use tools. They also need good manual (hand) skills, organisational skills and time management skills.

  • Health records staff

Health records staff make sure that details of patients and their care are recorded and stored. They work with patients and other staff.

There are no set entry requirements for health records staff. Employers usually expect good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. For some jobs, employers may ask for other skills or qualifications such as word processing or data entry. You may be able to enter through an apprenticeship. You will get the training you need to do the job and may be offered the chance to take qualifications from organisations such as AMSPAR, BSMSA and IHRIM.

To work in health records staff, you’ll need to be accurate and methodical, able to work in a team but use your own initiative, willing to follow instructions and procedures, able to work with all types of people, be confident using the phone. You’ll need good organisational, IT and customer service skills.

  • Speech and Language Therapists

Speech and language therapists provide life-changing treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing.

You’ll need to study for an approved degree, which takes three or four years full time or up to six years part time. Courses in speech and language therapy may have different names, including speech and language pathology and speech science. To get onto an speech and language therapy degree course you usually need two or three A-levels (or equivalent qualifications), along with five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language, maths and science. Each institution sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check carefully.

You’ll need to enjoy using language and communication to help people, be able to motivate and reassure people, excellent communication and organisation skills and the ability to explain treatment to patients.

  • Dietician

Dietitians translate the science of nutrition into everyday information about food.

To practice as a dietitian, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). In order to register with the HCPC, you need to study for an approved degree in dietetics. This is usually a BSc (Hons) degree. Courses are three or four years.

Universities decide their own requirements but you’re likely to need two or three A levels or equivalent, including chemistry, maths or biology, along with five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language and maths. To get on to a postgraduate course you will normally be expected to hold an honours degree which contains an acceptable level of human physiology and biochemistry

Skills include an interest in science, food, people and their lifestyles, a positive and motivating attitude, an understanding of science be able to explain complex things simply and organisation skills.

  • Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists work with people to help with a range of problems which affect movement using exercise, massage and other techniques.

You need to study for an approved degree (BSc) in physiotherapy. Full time degrees usually take three years. Part time degrees vary from four to six years. There are also two-year accelerated MSc courses available to people who already have a BSc degree in a relevant subject.

To get onto a physiotherapy degree course you usually need two or three A levels (or equivalent qualifications), including a biological science and/or PE, along with five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language, maths and at least one science. Each institution sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check carefully.

Physiotherapists need to be happy to be hands-on with patients, good listeners, caring, able to motivate people and normally physically fit as the work can be strenuous. They also need good manual (hand) skills good organisation and communication skills and an ability to explain treatment to patients.

Interested in apprenticeships?

We believe in offering apprenticeships, giving you the opportunity to learn.

Apprenticeships provide you with an extensive range of life and employability skills, raising self-esteem, knowledge and skills and empowering you to move positively into employment and independent living.

Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to earn, learn and achieve nationally recognised qualifications at the same time. Apprenticeships in England are generally available from when you become 16 to when you reach 65. You can gain insight into a challenging and rewarding career and enjoy valuable training, working and learning opportunities.

For many, the later years at school can be frustrating when all you want to do is get out into the world, start working and earn a living. If you are already working, you may be looking to try something new or to improve your skills and knowledge to help progression up the career ladder. So, whether you’re looking for your first role or for promotion, apprenticeships give you the chance to do just that. They enable you to enter or stay in the world of work, earn a wage and learn new skills. Apprenticeships offer a mixture of on and off the job training, giving you skills for your chosen career and leading to nationally-recognised qualifications.

As an apprentice you’ll learn on the job and you will also spend time off the job with a training provider, often a local college, studying towards a work-based qualification such as a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Apprenticeships are designed with your manager, so they offer a structured training that enables you to learn the exact skills you need to do a job well.

Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels:

 Apprenticeship name  Level  Equivalent educational level
 Intermediate  2  5 GCSE passes A-C
 Advanced  3  2 A level passes
 Higher  4, 5, 6, 7  Foundation degree and above
 Degree  6, 7  Bachelor’s or master’s degree

 

You can read what our apprentices have to say about working for us here.

What do you need for a career in the NHS?

Whether you’re applying for a job or a college or university course, you will need to complete an application form.

The work you’ve done to prepare your CV will help you complete it.

Remember that the purpose of the form is to present individual information in a standard way so that everyone can be considered on the same basis. Therefore, make sure you:

  • follow the instructions carefully
  • provide all the information the questions ask for
  • give specific examples of things you’ve done if you’re asked to show how you meet the selection criteria; your application is likely to be scored according to how closely you meet the selection criteria
  • work with the space available for each section and don’t miss any sections out
  • make a practice copy first that you’re happy with before you complete the actual application form.

Most forms will give you the opportunity to say something about yourself and why you’re applying. The work you’ve done to prepare your CV will help you with this section.

Interviews

An interview is your chance to give a good account of yourself.

Preparation is key and you will increase your chances if you:

  • check out in advance where the interview will be held, work out how to get there and arrive with plenty of time to spare. Remember that hospitals and universities can be large and busy places: you need to know exactly where you need to be for your interview
  • remember the interview panel is on your side. You have been invited to the interview because they liked your application form and want to know more about you
  • listen carefully to the questions they ask, and answer them as clearly as you can
  • be prepared to demonstrate your understanding of the NHS values and how you would apply them in your everyday work
  • don’t rush. Think about your answers. If there’s something in the question you don’t understand, ask for clarification
  • think in advance about any questions you might have for the panel and take the opportunity to ask them at the end.

What our colleagues say