Biomedical engineer, bio-engineer
Clinical engineers design, develop and maintain equipment for diagnosing illness and treating patients.
Salary range: £24,214 to £43,772
How 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 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.
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
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could get into this job through a healthcare science practitioner degree apprenticeship.
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
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.
- you’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, in a laboratory, at a research facility or in a workshop.
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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