Clinical engineer

biomedical engineer bio-engineer
Healthcare
Discover Produce

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Six year jobs forecast

The information is supplied by LMI For All

What's it like?

You would design the amazing technology and medical implants which help injured or disabled people enjoy better health and greater independence.

You could work on the equipment used for keyhole surgery, design wheelchairs or create artificial limbs for people with disabilities.

You’d test equipment like:

  • Walking aids
  • Wheelchairs
  • Speech synthesizers

You’d develop artificial limbs that attach to a person’s tissue and gives them greater control over their movement. You’d carefully help the patients understand the technology and become accustomed to using it.

You might experiment with new materials to make artificial joints, heart valves and hearing implants, which may reduce the chance that the patient’s body will reject it.

Working with doctors, you’d design equipment for new medical techniques, for example, optical instruments for keyhole surgery.

You’d look after and maintain advanced medical equipment such as scanners, imaging machines and monitoring systems. You’d do quality assurance checks to make sure all the equipment works correctly and safely.

You might also work on creating technology to research disease.

It would be very important to keep up to date with scientific, engineering and medical research.

You could work for the National Health Service (NHS) or in the private sector. You can see information about the NHS pay and conditions on the Clinical engineering page on the NHS Careers website.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work around 37.5 hours a week. Your working hours would normally be 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. Part-time work is also possible.

Environment

If you work in a hospital, your time would be split between a clinic and an engineering workshop. In research or industry, you would be usually be based in a laboratory.

Travel

If you work in a hospital, you will need to travel locally, usually to manage and maintain medical equipment in hospitals or health centres. You may also to travel for conferences and meetings. If you work in research or industry, you will need to travel to introduce new equipment to hospitals.​​​​​

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Caring for people
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You need a good honours degree (SCQF level 10) in an appropriate subject such as physics or engineering. Degrees in Biotechnologies, Biochemistry or Microbiology are also acceptable.

For entry to a degree (SCQF level 10) you need National 5 qualifications and four to five Highers. Some universities ask for qualifications to be gained in one sitting. 

You can also enter a degree with a relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8). With Advanced Highers, HNC or HND qualification you may enter the second or third year of some degree courses. 

If you have a degree in a suitable engineering, healthcare or life sciences subject, you could take a specialist postgraduate course in bioengineering (SCQF level 11).

Your degree should be accredited by an engineering institute, such as the Institution of Engineering and Technologies (IET) or the Engineering Council.

Some universities offer an integrated masters (SCQF level 11) combining a degree and masters courses. Entry is the same as for a degree.

Useful subjects

Most courses require:

  • Maths
  • English
  • Physics
  • Technologies subjects such as Engineering Science

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrates an understanding of engineering and health. This could be gained through:

  • Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCQF level 4/5)
  • Foundation Apprenticeship Engineering (SCQF level 6)
  • Skills for Work Laboratory Science (SCQF level 5)
  • Foundation Apprenticeship Scientific Technologies (laboratory skills) (SCQF level 6)