Health and Medicine

Career Area 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. This area includes a wide range of jobs, with 350 different roles.

There are over 2.5 million people working in the UK healthcare sector, with 270,000 of those working in Scotland. 

The largest UK employer in healthcare 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.

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:

What’s the job market like?

NHS Scotland employs around 163,000 people in over 70 different occupations. It employs around 80% of the health sector workforce in Scotland, with the remaining 20% employed in the private healthcare sector and in the voluntary sector.

There are shortages in highly qualified professional staff including medical radiographers, and all grades in anaesthetics, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology.

An ongoing future challenge facing NHS Scotland is the ageing workforce, with the median age at 46. The proportion of staff aged 50 and over has increased from 28.6% to 38.5% over the last ten years, with Support services and Personal and Social Care services having the largest proportion.

Facts and figures

Here are a few workforce facts about the healthcare sector:

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.


Was this article useful?
Please help us improve Planit by rating this article.

Career Area

Health and Medicine

Career Sectors

Alternative Medicine

Related courses by level

No courses listed.

Ambulance Services



Medical Technology

Medicine and Surgery

Nursing and Auxiliary Work

Occupational Therapy

Ophthalmics and Orthoptics





Speech Therapy