What is a Clinical engineer? The School Leaver Guide
What is a Clinical engineer?
A Clinical Engineer develops equipment for patients such as walking aids, artificial limbs and hearing implants. They are expected to manage and carry out checks on medical equipment such as scanners and monitoring systems. A Clinical Engineer can work in health centres, hospitals or in laboratories.
What does a Clinical engineer do?
A Clinical Engineer should be a confident communicator as they are expected to speak to patients. A typical day for a Clinical Engineer will involve:
- Managing medical equipment
- Carrying out checks on medical equipment such as scanners
- Designing and developing equipment (such as hearing aids and artificial limbs) from new materials
- Working closely with medical professionals to develop new assistive technologies
- Testing equipment and ensuring that they are working correctly and safely
- Attending meetings and conferences
- Depending on the role (e.g. in research) a Clinical Engineer may be expected to introduce new equipment to hospitals
- Liaising with equipment manufacturers
- Being responsible for providing quality service to patients
Skills & interests required for a Clinical engineer
- Excellent communication skills
- Excellent technical knowledge
- Ability to work effectively
- Ability to work in a team
- Ability to budget
- Comfortable with introducing equipment into hospitals
Clinical Engineers tend to work between 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday. They may be expected to work evenings or on weekends.
Clinic, laboratory or an engineering workshop.
Travel is expected to conferences and meetings. You will also need to travel to hospitals and health centres in order to access, maintain and carry out checks on the medical equipment.
Salary ranges & earning potential
A trainee Clinical Engineer will earn between £22,000 - £25,000 per annum.
An experienced Clinical Engineer will earn between £26,000 to £35,000 per annum.
A highly experienced Clinical Engineer can expect to earn upwards of £41,000 per annum.
An applicant is expected to have achieved a minimum 2:1 in a science or engineering subject. If they want to work in the NHS, they must apply for further training under the Scientist Training Programme. This is a 3 years NHS graduate entry programme in which you’ll work as you learn. If you are not looking to apply to this training scheme, then working in a private sector job and working your way up to an engineer is doable.
Alternatively, applicants without a degree can apply for the Practitioner Training Programme, this is a three year healthcare degree complete with NHS work placements.
Useful subjects to study at school