FAQs - working in health

This page has some general frequently asked questions about working in health.

Where can I find job vacancies in the NHS in England and Wales?

All organisations delivering NHS services in England and Wales advertise their vacancies on the NHS Jobs website

Vacancies in Scotland and Northern Ireland are advertised on other websites.

I already work in the health sector and need help with developing my career. Where can I get this?

You should speak to your line manager and your training department. You can also contact the National Careers Service through its webchat service.

Will I still be able to train/work for the NHS if I have a criminal record?

It depends on the nature of the offence, and the sort of work you want to do in the NHS - for example, for roles with direct patient contact you will usually legally be required to declare all criminal offences. Any requirements like these will be stated in the job advertisement or when you apply to do a relevant university course.

Do I have to go to university to get a job in the health sector?

Not necessarily. Despite around 50% of the NHS workforce has a university or other professional qualification, there are lots of opportunities for staff without these qualifications, especially in the wider healthcare team.

What sort of careers could I consider in mental health?

There are many careers that you could consider in the NHS, including: 

What careers are there working with children?

Many careers involve working directly with or specialising to work exclusively with children including

What careers are there to work with patients who have cancer?

A number of careers involve providing direct or indirect care or treatment for patients with cancer incluiding

Am I too old to join the health sector?

There is no upper age limit to join the health sector. Indeed, maturity/life experience can be an asset for many roles. If the career you are considering requires university training, then you should discuss any concerns that you might have about your suitability with the universities directly. You might consider attending some university open days or contacting the university's admissions office before making a formal application.

You can use our course finder to get a list of universities approved to run courses for a number of clinical careers.

Does the NHS provide financial support to students going through university courses?

The type of support varies, depending on the career and the course. Visit our financial support pages for the latest information. 

How much can I earn in the NHS?

It depends on the type and level of job you are working in. Doctors, dentists and senior managers have their own pay systems, whereas all other NHS staff are paid under the NHS Terms and Conditions

I’m trying to get work experience in the NHS, but don’t know where to start. Can you help?

If you are still at school or college, your local NHS organisations may offer the opportunity to gain work experience. Each NHS organisation will have its own policy, so you will have to contact your local NHS organisation(s) or visit their website(s) to find out.

Voluntary work is another way of gaining experience and an insight into working in the health sector.

Can I do voluntary work?

Most NHS organisations provide voluntary opportunities and you'll need to contact your local NHS organisation(s) to find out more.

What does being a registered healthcare professional mean?

Many healthcare professionals are regulated such as nursing, medicine and physiotherapy. This means that you are legally required to be registered with the relevant regulatory body to be able to practice.

Many other professions have voluntary registration which means that it isn't a legal requirement to be registered, but it is usually in the interests of the individual to do so.

Where can I find the details for my local NHS organisation?

If you visit NHS.uk, you can search for the NHS organisations in your area. There are also details on the employer list of the NHS Jobs website.

I’ve been having problems applying online for job vacancies in the NHS.

NHS Jobs is used by all NHS organisations in England and Wales. If you are having problems with online applications through the site, please visit the candidate help information.

Where can I find more information about the different careers in the health sector?

You can find more information about careers in the health sector by visiting our explore roles section. You can alos try our Find your Career  quiz which will match your interests to careers in health. 

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