If you have an interest in medicine and are thinking about pursuing a career in the industry, the good news is that there is a variety of jobs in medicine that can be genuinely rewarding, as well as help you to develop professionally and progress in your career.
Let’s take a look at the careers in medicine, the skills and attributes you will need to work in this sector, and the qualifications you may need.
- Why work in medicine?
- Different careers in medicine
- What skills are needed for a career in medicine?
- What qualifications help with a job in medicine?
Why work in medicine?
A chance to give back
Is having a job that makes a positive impact important to you? Whether you become a doctor or nurse, work as a mental health professional or go into medical research, one of the best things about a career in medicine is that every day you’ll be working on something that benefits people.
Work with a mix of people
A lot of careers in medicine come with the opportunity to work face-to-face with different people every day. These people include patients and their families as well as your coworkers. If you have great people skills and thrive in social situations, a job in medicine might be the right fit for you.
Medical professionals are in demand
If you decide to become a doctor or nurse, the chances are you will be able to find a job soon after getting your qualifications. It’s not just hospitals and GPs that are in need of medical professionals, you could also work for the Armed Forces, in schools, for a research company, plus many more workplaces.
Different careers in medicine
Doctors work in hospitals, at a GP (General Practitioner) surgery or for private healthcare companies. Their job is to diagnose and treat those who are medically ill. As a doctor, you could support a range of patients with varying health problems, or you could specialise:
- Anaesthetists specialise in pain management and work in hospitals to provide patients with anaesthesia before certain procedures
- Cardiologists assess and treat those with issues relating to the heart and blood vessels
- Radiologists use imaging to identify and treat a range of diseases and conditions
- Ophthalmologists combine medicine and surgery to help people with eye conditions
- Pathologists identify, treat and prevent a range of diseases
Nurses provide care directly to patients. As a nurse, you could work in a hospital, in a GP surgery, at a school as well as many other settings.
Dentists help people to look after their teeth and identify and treat dental infections and diseases.
Pharmacists help people with minor health issues or injuries by providing over-the-counter medication and clinical advice.
Mental health professional
Mental health professionals support people with their mental wellbeing. Take a look at possible careers in psychology.
A medical researcher works on projects that improve scientific knowledge in certain areas of medicine. This includes the planning and conducting of research experiments.
A midwife supports people who are pregnant as well as their families. Midwives provide care during pregnancy, birth and post-birth.
Surgeons assess patients to determine whether they need surgery. If surgery is necessary, a surgeon will perform the operation. Surgeons also spend time with patients and their families before surgical procedures to talk them through the surgery, answer any questions and provide support.
Paramedics provide an immediate response to emergency calls for medical aid. This involves responding to traumatic incidents where they are required to quickly assess a person’s condition and make life-saving decisions. They also respond to GP referrals and NHS 111 calls (111 is the number people are advised to call if they have an urgent medical problem and are unsure what to do).
Epidemiologists investigate outbreaks of disease or public health hazards. Epidemiology involves determining where these outbreaks originated, how to tackle them and recommending how to act.
International aid worker
Aid workers travel to areas that have been affected by things like disease, war and natural disasters, such as earthquakes or floods.
Naturopathy uses natural medicine to support people’s health and wellbeing. Natural medicine includes things such as massage, acupuncture and herbal remedies.
Health and social care roles
If the medical profession doesn’t sound completely right for you, but you still like the idea of working in a healthcare setting, take a look at the careers available in health and social care.
What skills are needed for a career in medicine?
Different careers in medicine require different skills. However, there are some skills that will benefit you in any job in medicine, such as:
- Attention to detail
If you are interested in a specific role, we would suggest looking at the job descriptions for these roles to see what skills regularly appear. A lot of medical roles will list skills as ‘essential’, meaning you won’t be considered for an interview if you don’t have them. Looking at job descriptions will allow you to identify the skills you need in order to work on them.
What qualifications help with a job in medicine?
The qualification requirements for careers in medicine vary between job types.
To become a doctor or surgeon, you will need to get a medical degree, after which you will go onto do foundation training before completing your specialty training. Take a look at the NHS website for more information on becoming a qualified doctor or qualified surgeon.
A degree is necessary to become a nurse, psychologist or therapist. Getting a degree is also one route to becoming a midwife and paramedic. If you would like to go into medical research or become an epidemiologist, it’s recommended that you study up to Masters or PhD level.
Pharmacists are required to undertake five years of training. This involves getting a Masters degree in pharmacy and a one-year training placement.
If you like the idea of being an international aid worker, having a degree in nursing, medicine or another health-related subject will help.
If you’d like to work in medicine but university isn’t the right path for you, don’t worry! There are still plenty of routes into the industry. For example:
- You can go to dental school to become a qualified dentist.
- You can become a midwife by studying a degree apprenticeship.
- To become a paramedic, you could become a student paramedic through an ambulance service trust or study a degree apprenticeship.
- Becoming a naturopath usually requires a diploma in naturopathy or a subject related to it, such as nutrition.
Take a look at the other sectors you could work in and view the vacancies available through Unitemps.
Last updated on 22 March 2023Share this article