Clinical Engineering

Job Description:

Clinical engineers design, develop and maintain equipment for diagnosing illness and treating patients.

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

In your day-to-day duties you may:

  • test equipment, like walking aids, wheelchairs and speech synthesizers (known as assistive technologies)
  • develop artificial limbs that attach to the patient’s own tissue
  • make artificial joints, heart valves and hearing implants from new materials
  • design equipment that allows doctors to try new medical techniques, like optical instruments for keyhole surgery
  • manage medical equipment, like scanners, imaging machines and monitoring systems
  • carry out quality assurance checks to ensure all equipment is working correctly and safely
  • work closely with other medical professionals and technical staff (teamwork)


You’ll need:

  • 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
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • excellent communication skills for talking to patients
  • the ability to prioritise workloads and plan effectively (organisational skills)
  • budgeting skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Requirements may vary from country to country.

In the UK, you’ll need a degree in a relevant science or engineering subject (2:1 or higher), or a postgraduate qualification, to apply for the Scientist Training Programme (STP) – a 3-year on-the-job National Hospital Service (NHS) training scheme.

Alternatively, with a degree you could also find employment in the private sector and work your way up to chartered engineer status.

If you don’t have a degree, you could apply for the Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) – a 3-year degree in healthcare science with NHS work placements.

You’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council once qualified.
You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work around 37.5 hours a week, between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. In a hospital setting, you may have to work evenings or weekends as part of an on-call rota, depending on your role.

If you work in a hospital, you’ll be based in a clinic and an engineering workshop. You’ll need to travel locally, usually to manage and maintain medical equipment in hospitals or health centres. You may also need to travel for conferences and meetings.

In research or industry, you’ll usually be based in a laboratory. You’ll travel to introduce new equipment to hospitals.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience and further training, you could become a consultant, specialising in particular clinical areas, or move into management, teaching or medical research.