Health and Medicine

Health and Medicine Image

If you are going to work in this career area you must have a strong interest in people - in caring for them and keeping them healthy and improving their quality of life. This area includes a wide range of jobs at different levels.

There are around 2.5 million people working in the UK healthcare sector. The largest UK employer is the NHS with more than 1.5 million employees, making it one of the top 5 largest workforces in the world.


What areas can I work in?

Health and medicine covers a huge range of occupations: alternative medicine, ambulance services, dentistry, dietetics, medical technology, medicine and surgery, nursing and auxiliary work, occupational therapy, ophthalmics and orthoptics, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry, radiography and speech and arts therapy.

To see the routes to getting into each of these sectors, take a look at our Career Pathway.

What kind of companies can I work for?

Most jobs in this sector are with either the public sector, mainly the National Health Service (NHS) or private healthcare companies and clinics. You can work within:

You can also work for voluntary or not-for-profit organisations, such as the British Red Cross or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) UK.


What’s the job market like?

There are currently 269,900 people working in healthcare in Scotland - of those, NHS Scotland employs 156,875 people. 

The healthcare workforce is expected to grow in Scotland by 2.5% (or by 6,700 people) by 2024, and is forecast to account for 7.7% of total jobs in Scotland. It is predicted that a further 28,000 people will be needed to fill job openings by 2024, mainly due to its ageing workforce and people leaving because of retirement. This is one of the main employment challenges in this sector, with the median age of healthcare workers in Scotland at 45 years of age. 22.9% of medical staff are aged 55 and over in the NHS.

Currently there are shortages in highly qualified professional staff including medical practitioners, psychologists, pharmacists, medical radiographers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, nurses, and paramedics.

There also continues to be a demand for Modern Apprentices in this area. Across all healthcare sectors, there are currently some 6,009 Modern Apprentices in training.

Facts and figures

Want to find out more?

Skills for Health is the Sector Skills Council for the health sector, their website provides lots of careers information for entry level careers.



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Career Pathway

Health and Medicine Career Pathway
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Career Area

Health and Medicine

Career Sectors

Alternative Medicine

Related courses by level

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Ambulance Services



Medical Technology

Medicine and Surgery

Nursing and Auxiliary Work

Occupational Therapy

Ophthalmics and Orthoptics





Speech Therapy


Related courses by level

No courses listed.