Medical field service engineers set up, repair and maintain complex medical equipment used in hospitals, clinics, universities and research companies. They act as a link between the customer or user and equipment supplier or manufacturer.
You could be:
- working with a wide range of medical equipment; blood transfusion, incubation, blood pressure or patient monitoring systems, or medical imaging systems such as x-ray, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or ultrasound
- carrying out fault finding, repair and maintenance, or responding to emergency callouts
- supporting customers throughout the lifespan of the equipment
- setting up and monitoring the early stages of newly designed equipment
- training medical and other staff how to use equipment and answering technical questions
- working with engineers to design or improve equipment, service and installation
- maintaining records, manuals and spare parts stock
- producing technical reports and reporting user feedback
- dealing with manufacturers, service staff, logistics, sales and management.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Salaries are typically between £23,000 and £35,000 a year. This rises to around £45,000 a year or more with experience, particularly when working with highly complex equipment like MRI and CT scanners. Many employers offer additional benefits such as life insurance, company car, bonus scheme, private health care and pension scheme.
- You might work from an office, workshop, or from your home.
- You will spend much of your time with customers, such as representatives or managers of hospitals, health surgeries, clinics, laboratories or drug manufacturers.
- You would work around 40 hours a week. You might have to work shifts including evenings and weekends.
- You will do a lot of travelling, sometimes around the UK or overseas, depending on your customer base.
- You could work as part of a team of engineers, covering a geographic area or special client group.
- You might have to lift heavy or awkward equipment.
- You would regularly attend training courses or conferences, perhaps sometimes abroad.
Workforce Employment Status
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- In most cases you would need a degree in an electrical, mechanical or building services engineering. You may get in with a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND).
- You might get in through a Modern Apprenticeship in Engineering, which could lead to a trainee job.
- For entry to a degree course you need 4-5 Highers including Maths and Physics or a technological subject. For an HNC or HND course you will need 2-3 Highers plus some subjects at National 5.
- Most employers ask for experience in healthcare or electronic systems as well as working with customers.
- Certain colour vision conditions may affect entry to careers in this branch of engineering.
- You will need a full driving licence.
Opportunities are with medical equipment and medical device systems manufacturers or providers. Look for jobs in the press and on the internet, including employment agencies and job websites such as The Engineer. Individual employers also directly advertise vacancies on their websites.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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Job Outlook Scotland
Percentage of workforce registered as unemployed (Scotland)
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Job Outlook Scotland and UK
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What Does it Take?
You should be:
- interested in science and technology
- able to work on your own
- able to keep calm and work under pressure
- willing to keep up to date with technology
- good at explaining complex technical information clearly to others.
You should have:
- good customer service skills
- excellent verbal and written communication skills
- good analytical and problem solving skills
- strong IT, electrical and mechanical skills.
- If you do a Modern Apprenticeship, you would work for an employer and study for Scottish Vocational Qualifications at SCQF Level 6 or 7 on a block or part time basis at college.
- Training is on the job, where you learn about full product ranges and get specialist training from manufacturers.
- Your training will be ongoing as new products and technologies come on the market.
- After gaining your HNC, HND or degree and some work experience, you can register with the Engineering Council as a professional engineer – either the Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).
- For IEng you need to have either a recognised Bachelor's degree or recognised HNC, HND or Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) at SCQF Level 8 or 9, plus further study to Bachelor's degree level.
- For CEng you need to have a recognised Bachelor's degree with Honours plus a recognised Masters degree (or equivalent), or a recognised integrated Master of Engineering (MEng) degree.
- Once you are a chartered engineer, as part of your continuing professional development (CPD) you must keep up to date with advances in technology throughout your career.
- You could move into a either a technical sales engineering role, or a technical specialist or management role.
- Electronic engineers who first qualify as IEng can progress to CEng after further training and experience. This can open up a wider range of opportunities.
- You might move into other areas such as product development or technical marketing.
- You could teach or work in academic research in colleges and universities.
- You might become a consultant, offering specialist engineering services.
- There can be good opportunities to work abroad.
- The Engineering Council sets and maintains the standards of the engineering profession in the UK.
- The Tomorrow’s Engineers website has more information on careers in engineering.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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