• Healthcare


Overview of the Sector

The largest employer in the healthcare sector in the UK is the NHS; employing more than 1.5 million people. However, a significant proportion of the healthcare sector workforce is in independent healthcare in care homes and community care as well as not-for-profit organisations such as the British Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières. (Prospects)

Typical Jobs in the healthcare sector

What do I need to gain graduate employment?


For professional roles in healthcare you will need a relevant approved degree in order to register with the relevant professional body. If you have a relevant first degree, (usually science) you could consider graduate entry. For some areas there may be fast track options. You will typically need a 2:1 or a 2:2 and a substantial amount of relevant work experience. You will also need to complete a Clinical Aptitude test. To find details of universities approved to run accelerated health-related courses:use the NHS course finder tool

If you have a 2:1 degree in pure or applied science, you could consider the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP). This offers the chance for paid work while studying towards a Masters degree in areas such as blood sciences, genetics and medical physics.


Experience working with people, either paid or unpaid can be an important factor in gaining a place on a recognised degree programme. Once you have gained entry, training can be very intense and clinical and practical experience will an integral part of these degree programmes. Medicine, Dentistry & Pharmacy require a further period of foundation/pre-registration training before becoming fully professionally qualified.

Outside of your degree take advantage of any opportunities to develop your interpersonal skills, leadership & problem solving skills through extra-curricular activities. Pharmacy students may be able to get paid part time employment as a pharmacy assistant during their study. 

The Person:

You will need to able to communicate with a wide range of people, often in times of distress or need. The ability to stay calm under pressure, show empathy and have a caring & approachable nature. You will also need to be able to work in a team and demonstrate leadership skills and decisiveness.

Key Employers- NI & UK

  • National Health Service (NHS)
  • Community Health
  • Private sector healthcare providers that have been contracted to provide services to NHS patients
  • Schools and further and higher education institutions
  • Private sector clinics and hospitals
  • Prisons and the armed forces
  • Voluntary organisations
  • Local authorities (for work in nursing and residential homes)

Local/Northern Ireland Opportunities

On Campus resources:

Advertised Roles:

Health and Social Care jobs in Northern Ireland are advertised through the Health Service Recruit website  and in the local press.  

Jobs in independent healthcare providers and community pharmacies are usually advertised on company websites, in the local press or via specialist recruitment agencies.

Unadvertised roles and networking:

Attendance at conferences and training events provides opportunities for professional networking.
Pharmacy- It may be possible to approach smaller independent community pharmacies with speculative applications.

Northern Ireland Specific websites providing opportunities for volunteering: 

  • CommunityNI- paid positions
  • VolunteerNow- works to promote, enhance and support volunteering across Northern Ireland
  • NIDirect- directory of opportunities

Job search websites specific to Northern Ireland include:

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UK and Global Opportunities

On Campus resources:

  • ‘Going Global’–  database of jobs and internships, key employers and country guides avilable through MyFuture -> Jobs -> Goinglobal
  • Sector specific Careers Fairs– Schools of Nursing, Medicine & Pharmacy


Jobs within the NHS are advertised through NHS Jobs and NHS Trust websites.

Jobs in independent healthcare providers are usually advertised on company websites, in local and national press or via specialist recruitment agencies.

Further afield:

There are numerous organisations that can help you find volunteering and work projects abroad, but be aware of the costs involved. Some examples include;


The British Medical Council has a very useful career section which covers topics including medical electives, volunteering and working abroad.  Country profiles are provided for Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Australia and the European Economic Area.  These include information sections on visa and work opportunities, how the healthcare system operates and what you will need to ensure you can legally practise in your chosen country.  


Professional Related Bodies and Organisations

Further Reading and Information

Prospects industry insights and Gradireland sector career guides will help you to search for employment in this employment sector.


Gradireland Career Sector Guides: Medical and healthcare

TARGETjobs: Healthcare


Further information resources are available at the Student Guidance Centre Hub (Opening hours: Mon- Fri 09:00- 17:00), including free copies of Gradireland, TargetJobs and Prospects guides plus self-help guides and employer brochures. The Student Guidance Centre Hub has free wifi, tea and coffee.

This information is obtained from a variety of sources, including the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS), Prospects, Gradireland and relevant professional organisations and other appropriate resources, as available.

We endeavour to ensure that our online resources are current and contain relevant information. However, we cannot accept responsibility for the contents of external websites.