Careers and Employability Service

I want to work in Healthcare

Useful links

Accelerated courses
There are now a number of fast track courses for graduates lasting two years including dietetics, nursing, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and radiography. There are also 4 year accelerated courses medicine and dentistry [12]. The courses are very intensive and competition can be high for places on some courses especially those for medicine and dentistry.
To find details of universities approved to run shortened/accelerated health-related courses: use the course finder tool Health Careers Course finder

Work experience
Try to get work experience in a hospital: even taking library books round the wards is useful. Apply well in advance as some hospitals have waiting lists. Most hospitals will have a volunteer coordinator who can help you: you can find out about on their web site. For Canterbury hospital volunteering oppportunities, see Voluntary work
Kent and Medway NHS trust; East Kent Hospitals Trust
NHS England find voluntary opportunities through local NHS trusts
Health CareersGaining experience in various ways to prepare for a career in health

Bursaries and tuition fees

Postgraduate students - The Government has continued to provide a bursary for tuition and maintenance to meet the full costs of the course for a capped number of postgraduate students applying for postgraduate courses leading to registration (including masters and postgraduate diplomas/certificates) starting between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018. Subject to parliamentary approval, from August 2018 new postgraduate pre-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students will access loans from the Student Loans Company.

Information on financial support for students undertaking medical and dental courses Health Careers
Currently (2018) graduates can undertake an undergraduate course in therapies with funding through the student loan company.
You have to be "eligible" and on an NHS-funded course to be able to get financial help from the NHS.  For more information about the financial support available from the NHS, go to www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/students [15]

Alternative Therapies

PROFILE: Alternative Medicine Practitioner

INVOLVES: Treating illnesses & injuries by means other than pharmaceutical or surgical, such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic (see below), herbalist,  homeopathy, hypnotherapy and reflexology, generally with the aim of treating the whole person - body, mind & spirit - rather than just the symptoms presented
EMPLOYERS: Usually self-employed; some GPs practices & hospitals employ complementary medicine practitioners.
RELATED JOBS: physiotherapist, occupational therapist, nurse, counsellor.
SATISFACTIONS: Helping people; seeing them improve & come to a better understanding of themselves & their illness; independence & flexibility.
NEGATIVES: Some therapies can be physically or emotionally demanding; uncertainties of self-employment; may be isolated from fellow-practitioners
SKILLS: spoken communication; listening; sensitivity; analysing & investigating.
ADVANCEMENT: May start as assistant in established practice & then go it alone. Possible to move into teaching or research.
Prospects Occupational Profiles https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/browse-sector/healthcare [12] 
Courses
DEGREE: Any degree - life sciences may give some exemptions. BSc degree is available for some therapies, such as osteopathy & phytotherapy. A-levels in science subjects may be required. Need to follow a course recognised by the professional body for the particular therapy. Often available part-time, but this can take up to 5 years. Training & qualification varies considerably between different therapies so check with the relevant professional body.
TIPS: Contact the British Complementary Medicine Association https://www.bcma.co.uk/therapies for details of recognised professional bodies & check credentials of training providers with the appropriate body

  • Search for complimentary therapist across the UK in the Therapy Directory
  • Institute for Complementary and natural Medicine www.icnm.org.uk/includes education and careers information
  • The Research Council for Complementary Medicine www.rccm.org.uk  [16]– includes course listings

Chiropractice
Chiropractic treatment involves manipulating the joints, muscles and tendons, to offer pain relief. The profession is growing and experienced Chiropractitioners may earn over £50,000 p.a.
Courses

Funding
Course fees are normally between 3,000 and £5,000 p.a. If you have already done another degree you may may have to fund yourself. Many chiropractic students will have problems with funding and the above colleges should be able to give you good advice. McTimoney has loans via Nat West bank.
For further information see the Prospects Profile for Chiropractitioner https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/chiropractor
Funding
Some courses are delivered masters for which the postgraduate loan of up to £10,609(2018) can be accessed.
A professional and Career Deveopment Loan of up to £10,000 may be available from a bank, there is no interest charged during study but repayment is required on completion of the course.
Providers of training may have lists of possible funding sources.
Alternative sources of funding can be searched for through various data bases:
https://www.postgraduate-funding.com/gateway
https://www.findamasters.com/funding/
For further information see: www.kent.ac.uk/furtherstudy/fees-and-funding

Art/Drama /Music Therapies


Creative arts therapist may wrk for the NHS, charities or be self employed.
A full list of Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) approved courses in Art therapies
For all art therapies relevant voluntary experience will be very important when applying for masters courses. For further information and opportunities  voluntary work, Kentunion.co.uk/volunteeringDo-it.org/. NHS volunteering see individual NHS trust
Art Therapy
Prospects Occupational Profile Art Therapist https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/art-therapist [12]

  • British Association of Art Therapists www.baat.org  [13]includes careers information and a list of training programmes
  • NHS Careers page on art therapy 

To find details of universities offering HCPC approved masters in Art Therapy see Health Careers course finder  Drama Therapy
Prospects Occupational Profile Drama Therapist www.prospects.ac.uk/dramatherapist.htm [16]

To find details of universities offering HCPC approved masters in Drama Therapy see Health Careers course finder. Applicants will usually have a degree in arts, psychology some programmes are designed for graduates in other health professions.  Music Therapy
Prospects.ac.uk Job profile; Health Careers Allied Health profession Music therapist

  • British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) careers informarion, course listing including introductory weekend and short courses
  • To find details of universities offer HCPC approved master Health Careers course finder most applicants will have a degree in Music but applicants with other degrees and grade 8 will be considered. Competition for places is high, early application is recommended.

Medicine and Dentistry

Detailed information on Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science can be found at http://www.kent.ac.uk/workin/doctor.htm 
Information on medical specialisms and a full list of graduate entry accelerated course can be found on the NHS Health careers Explore roles and Course finder.
Job Profiles for a Hospital doctor; General Practitioner; Dentist

Nursing

PROFILES: Registered Nurse
INVOLVES: Assessing the needs of patients, planning their care & then carrying it out. Responding to urgent care needs (i.e. tending to wounds etc), getting patients ready for treatment & operation & assisting with tests & examinations. 
EMPLOYERS: Hospital and Community NHS trusts, private hospitals, charities (e.g. hospice charities), agencies, nursing homes, private companies. Potential for work abroad
RELATED JOBS: medicine, paramedical careers (i.e. occupational therapy, physiotherapy), care managers, social work, also psychiatric & mental handicap nursing. See Health Careers for details of 100’s of careers
SATISFACTIONS: "The thanks from the patients & relatives, knowing it's a useful job, being an organiser/manager, variety - loads of it." 
NEGATIVES: "Pay. Constant change (i.e. trying to keep up with the changes in training). The hours. A graduate should have the motivation & intelligence to go all the way but having a degree may not help if it isn't nursing related." 
SKILLS: cooperating, listening, practical skills, decision making, stamina 
ADVANCEMENT: Can move up to senior staff nurse, ward manager, nurse training, Health Service administration, district nursing, children's nursing, health education & many other areas. 
DEGREE: Any degree subject - a degree is not necessary. Biological sciences or psychology may be useful. There are some shortened ‘Accelerated’ nurse training courses for graduates. 
TIPS: Apply through UCAS for degree courses. Get experience in a healthcare setting, e.g. care work, paid or voluntary. Show an understanding of the role of a nurse and your commitment to the profession.

Find out more

Accelerated nursing programmes for graduates
There are some fast track programmes in Nursing for graduates. These programmes generally last two years full time and lead to registration in adult, children's, mental health or learning disabilities nursing. They are designed for graduates with relevant degrees, such as biological science, psychology, sociology or sports science, and have a strong emphasis on learning in the practice environment. 

Occupational Therapy

PROFILE: Occupational Therapist
INVOLVES: working with people with disabilities (physical, mental & learning) to enable them to live as independently as possible. This involves: assessing & teaching basic living skills, providing equipment, visiting people's homes, working with groups & individuals, using activities e.g. pottery, drama, cookery to develop others skills. Enabling them to take stock & make changes if they wish, giving direction towards information, new skills, helping agencies, supporting through change.
EMPLOYERS: Hospitals, GP's, Social Service departments, private practice, voluntary work – worldwide.
RELATED JOBS: Work closely with nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, speech & language therapists & clinical psychologists. Whilst there are overlaps with these professions each has a significantly different role within the team. Social work & nursing approach the problems in a more directive way.
SATISFACTIONS: "Working with people, enabling people to reach their potential & to achieve what they see as important within their lives. Deep pleasure of watching people find themselves & make considered choices towards better lives. The job is very varied, especially as within O.T. there are many different areas of specialism e.g. pediatrics, eating disorders, neurological disorders."
NEGATIVES: "It is possible to be isolated & unsupported unless you yourself take the initiative to ensure adequate good quality supervision. Need to be non-judgmental, offering opportunity not direction. Salary. Prospects for promotion are good but it is difficult to get to high positions within an NHS Trust. O.T. is a young profession & needs much promotion."
SKILLS: spoken communication, co-operating, listening, practical skills.
ADVANCEMENT: Can move into general NHS management & lecturing in O.T.
Occupational therapist Prospects.ac.uk, Health Careers
Qualifications



DEGREE: A degree in Occupational Therapy is essential (unless taking postgraduate diploma route). Must also have at least a GCSE in Science. Graduates in subjects other than Occupational Therapy can undertake a Accelerated course for graduates. Degree courses in biology, sociology, psychology, management would help with this. You could also enter as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, with a view to pursuing the p/t option of training which is 4 years. 
VACANCY SOURCES: British Journal of Occupational Therapy; Therapy Weekly; www.jobs.nhs.uk/
TIPS: Get experience in a relevant field e.g. care worker, O.T. assistant. Contact O.T's & ask to visit their departments, shadow them for one day. Try working as a technician or volunteer in the area that interests you - i.e. paediatrics, orthopaedics, mental health, learning difficulties, to make sure it's what you want.
List of all postgraduate NHS approved courses at www.hpc-uk.org/education/programmes/register [20]

Physician's Associate

This is a new role in hospitals. Physician associates support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients.  They are trained to perform a number of roles including: taking medical histories; performing examinations; diagnosing illnesses and analysing test results. They work under the direct supervision of a doctor. You usually need a science orientated first degree to get onto a 2 year training programme to find which included many aspects of a medical degree but focusses on acute medicine, general adult medicine and general practice. For full list of programmes see Health Careers Course finder.

Physiotherapist

INVOLVES: Examination & assessment of people with disorders of movement. Patient treatment using massage, hydrotherapy & manipulation; multidisciplinary teamwork with doctors, social workers, nurses; supervision of junior staff; clinical education of students. Helping patients return to normal daily life.
EMPLOYERS: NHS & private hospitals, private practice, sports clubs, companies.
RELATED JOBS: occupational therapy, speech therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, nursing.
SATISFACTIONS: Seeing patients improve & return home.
NEGATIVES: "Pressures of NHS (more & more throughput expected with less resources); shortage of physiotherapists leading to unreasonable workloads; increasing complaints from patients, the stress of the situations encountered, overwork, low pay compared to other professions."
SKILLS: investigating, co-operating, listening, practical skills.
ADVANCEMENT: In the NHS progress from staff physiotherapist to Senior II to Senior I to superintendent to district physiotherapist. Other possibilities are Health Service management, teaching & research. Self employment is an option
Prospects Occupational Profile www.prospects.ac.uk/physiotherapist_job_description.htm [24]
Health Careers Physiotherapist profile
Qualifications



DEGREE: Must have a BSc/MSc in physiotherapy. There are some fast track Masters programmes for graduates in other subjects which give qualified status. Search the Health Careers Course finder for accelerated(pre registration) courses VACANCY SOURCES: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy www.jobs.nhs.uk/
TIPS: Require science 'A' Levels & some work experience e.g. as a physio helper plus something extra that makes one 'stand out' from the rest e.g. sports achievement, etc., etc. Work experience essential before deciding. Opportunities are available as Physiotherapy assistants in the NHS

For details of the financial support that may be available for physiotherapy courses, see www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/financial-support

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Podiatry

Foot care: previously known as chiropody
Prospects Occupational Profile: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/podiatrist [16]
Find out more
To find details of universities approved to run shortened/accelerated health-related courses: use the course finder tool www.hpc-uk.org/education/programmes/register [17].
See Careers in Podiatry www.careersinpodiatry.com/ [18] for further information.

Psychology

I want to work in PsychologyUniversity of Kent
British Psychological Society (BPS) career pathways and option for a career in psychology
Health Psychology Job Profile List of Masters and PhD courses can be found on Health Careers Course Finder
Clinical Psychology Job profile

  • Single application route for all postgraduate courses in Clinical Psychology Clearing House for Postgraduate PhD Courses in Clinical Psychology  www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp [14]

Mental Health Nurse
Counsellor
Psychotherapist
Counselling Psychologist
Psychological Well-being Practitioner

Speech Therapy

INVOLVES: Diagnoses & treats speech, language, & swallowing disorders in patients. Works with children & adults on a one-to-one basis & in groups to enable them to communicate to the best of their ability. 
EMPLOYERS: The NHS, education organisations (e.g. special schools), charities.
RELATED JOBS: drama therapist, music therapist, occupational therapist, clinical psychologist, educational psychologist, special educational needs teacher.
SATISFACTIONS: Developing a relationship of trust with a patient. Helping them through rehabilitation to cure.
NEGATIVES: Pay. Being unable to help some patients. Occasional lack of resources.
SKILLS: communication skills, teamwork, organisational skills, and flexibility.
ADVANCEMENT: Speech Therapist to Manager of a Speech Therapy unit.
Prospects Occupational Profile www.prospects.ac.uk/speech_and_language_therapist.htm [14]
Health Careers Speech and language therapist
Qualifications


DEGREE: a Speech Science/Therapy degree is required unless taking 2 year diploma/MSc postgraduate course. Entry to this normally requires a 2:1 or higher in a linguistics, psychology, or biology-related degree. Apply early for postgraduate courses as there is lots of competition and gain relevant work experience. 
VACANCY SOURCES: Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists;; www.nhsjobs.com [12] 
TIPS: Apply for postgraduate courses early & gain relevant work experience.
  • Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists www.rcslt.org  [13]The website of the Professional Body for Speech and Language Therapists includes advice on gaining experience and financial support for students and a list of recognised courses, including shortened two-year courses for graduates in relevant subjects such as linguistics and psychology.
  • To find details of universities approved to run shortened/accelerated health-related courses: use the course finder tool www.healthcareers/coursefinder
  • For details of the financial support that may be available for speech and language therapy courses, see www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/financial-support
  • NHS Careers www.healthcareers.nhs.uk
  • The Communication Trust www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk [19] supports children's speech, language and communication skills.

I’'m interested in training to become a speech and language therapist, but how good are the employment prospects?
Speech & language therapists, the public spending cuts and reorganisation of the NHS have affected employment prospects in this area.  There is an increase in opportunities within education linked to individual or groups of schools.I have a social sciences degree – will this allow me to be accepted onto a postgraduate course in speech and language therapy?
Although many universities mention social sciences as being a relevant degree background, some subjects in this field, such as psychology, are usually seen as more "relevant" than others – you should check with the universities that offer SLT courses. However, a less “relevant” degree needn't stop you being accepted onto a course. City University, for example, says that "A degree in a relevant subject is an advantage, but candidates are selected on the basis of their motivation, social skills, and appropriate academic abilities, rather than the subject of their degree". However, there is a lot of competition to get onto these courses and you would probably need some relevant work or voluntary experience to help show your motivation and your knowledge of SLT.
The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists has a useful careers guide at www.rcslt.org/speech_and_language_therapy/careers/career [20]

NHS Scientist Training Programme

The NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) offers specialisms based around the following areas:
Andrology, Audiology, Cancer Genomics, Cardiac Science, Clinical Biochemistry, Clinical Bioinformatics (Genomics), Clinical Bioinformatics Clinical Engineering including: Rehabilitation Engineering, Clinical Measurement and Development, Clinical Immunology, Clinical Microbiology, Clinical Pharmaceutical Science, Gastrointestinal Physiology, Genomics (formerly Genetics), Genomic Counselling (formerly Genetic Counselling), Haematology and Transfusion Science, Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics, Medical Physics, Neurophysiology, Ophthalmic and Vision Sciences, Reconstructive Science, Reproductive Science, Respiratory and Sleep Sciences, Vascular Science.
For details of these careers see Health Careers and Prospects Job profiles  
Application to the programme is competitive approximately 21 applicants per position in 2017 with Immunology and microbiology the most competitive. Applications are open from Mid January to Mid February. This is a paid 3 year programme with full funding for a masters linked to your specialism
Undergraduate route Health Science Practitioner Training Programme (PTP)
Health Careers includes detailed information on routes into a wide range of health science careers

For wider overview of careers in science see: www.kent.ac.uk/workin/ScienceJobs

Radiography and Audiology

Radiography
There are two types of radiographer. Diagnostic radiographers employ a range of sophisticated equipment including X-rays and ultrasound to produce high quality images to diagnose an injury or disease. Therapeutic radiographers plan and deliver radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer.
For undergraduate courses such as that at Christ Church, Canterbury you must apply via UCAS by January 15th of the year you wish to enter.
Employability is very high with graduates having little trouble finding jobs at present .
The Christ Church course is intensive: you study for 39 weeks each year. About half of these are at the university and half in clinical practice. In year 2 and 3 you will also be rostered for weekend, Bank holiday and night shifts.  
Postgraduate accelerated courses for graduates, some of two years in duration are offered at several universities See www.sor.org/about-radiography/career-radiography/directory-courses [12]
www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/course-finder
For further information, see:

Currently (2018) graduates can undertake an undergraduate course in therapies with funding through the student loan company.

Audiology and Hearing Therapy

PROFILE: Health Promotion Specialist/Public Health Practitioner

INVOLVES: Promotes good health by supporting other health professionals such as doctors & nurses in planning, implementing & evaluating health promotion programmes. Provides information, advice & training to the community as well as running health campaigns on specific issues (i.e. smoking, alcohol abuse etc,).
EMPLOYERS: NHS, Local authorities are now responsible for the delivery of public health agendas, Independent organisations such as charities & trusts may be responsible for the delivery of specific projects such as health living campaigns or childhood obesity. International opportunities with charities are highly competitive.
RELATED JOBS: Occupational Health worker, Environmental Health Officer, Welfare Rights Officer, Youth & Community Worker.
SATISFACTIONS: Addressing current health issues & making a contribution to the general health awareness of the public. Liaising with many groups including professional organisations & the general public.
NEGATIVES: Frustration when advice & guidance is ignored.
SKILLS: planning & organising, persuading people to change both their views & practises. Confronting issues & attitudes. Making presentations.
ADVANCEMENT: Assistant ..........to Officer..........to Manager.
DEGREE: Any subject, although health related degrees always enhance chances (biology, dietetics, food science, nutrition, psychology). 
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: Applicants for jobs have often studied the Diploma in Health Education/Promotion.
VACANCY SOURCES: Health Service Journal, Times Educational Supplement, Health Services Yearbook.
TIPS: Obtain relevant work experience such as teaching, nursing, promotional work.

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Public Health/Health Education

PROFILE: Health Promotion Specialist/Public Health Practitioner

INVOLVES: Promotes good health by supporting other health professionals such as doctors & nurses in planning, implementing & evaluating health promotion programmes. Provides information, advice & training to the community as well as running health campaigns on specific issues (i.e. smoking, alcohol abuse etc,).
EMPLOYERS: NHS, Local authorities are now responsible for the delivery of public health agendas, Independent organisations such as charities & trusts may be responsible for the delivery of specific projects such as health living campaigns or childhood obesity. International opportunities with charities are highly competitive.
RELATED JOBS: Occupational Health worker, Environmental Health Officer, Welfare Rights Officer, Youth & Community Worker.
SATISFACTIONS: Addressing current health issues & making a contribution to the general health awareness of the public. Liaising with many groups including professional organisations & the general public.
NEGATIVES: Frustration when advice & guidance is ignored.
SKILLS: planning & organising, persuading people to change both their views & practises. Confronting issues & attitudes. Making presentations.
ADVANCEMENT: Assistant ..........to Officer..........to Manager.
DEGREE: Any subject, although health related degrees always enhance chances (biology, dietetics, food science, nutrition, psychology). 
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: Applicants for jobs have often studied the Diploma in Health Education/Promotion.
VACANCY SOURCES: Health Service Journal, Times Educational Supplement, Health Services Yearbook.
TIPS: Obtain relevant work experience such as teaching, nursing, promotional work.

Dietetics and Nutrition

Dietetics
Most dieticians work in hospitals or community health services, informing and teaching the public and health professionals about diet and nutrition.

The title “dietician” is protected and in order to work as a dietician in the NHS you need to have an accredited qualification and be registered with the Health Professions Council. There are a number of 2 year conversion courses for graduates – see https://www.bda.uk.com/where to study information on qualifying. Normally, applicants for these courses need a degree in a related subject, which contains biochemistry and human physiology. A  Kent biomedical science degree should be acceptable.
To find details of universities approved to run shortened/accelerated health-related courses: use the course finder toolhttps://www.hcpc-uk.org/education/approved-programmes/
For details of the financial support that may be available for these courses, see https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/career-planning/study-and-training/considering-or-university/financial-support-university


Nutrition
Nutritionists work in a variety of organisations, including food companies, retailers, sports and leisure and the NHS (where they work under the supervision of a dietician). As "Nutritionist" is not a protected job title (unlike dietician), in theory anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.

Nutritional therapists work with clients to relieve the symptoms of illness (or maintain health) through diet and nutritional support. Their work is usually within private practice and nutritional therapists are often self-employed. While there are a number of courses available in nutritional therapy there is currently no legal regulation or accreditation of these courses, although the Nutritional Therapy Council www.nutritionaltherapyeducationcommission/NTEC/trainingcan provide details of courses that meet certain agreed standards.

 

 

 

 

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The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7ND, T: +44 (0)1227 764000 ext. 3299

Last Updated: 28/01/2022