When you first picture your career in healthcare it's often in one of the more obvious professions such as doctor or paramedic. However, there are many opportunities in other areas of expertise that might be perfect for you
Below are seven specialist NHS roles that all have superb career prospects and give you the chance to make a real difference. You'll get to witness improvements to the lives of many people first-hand. And what's more, while studying any of them you'll receive an annual payment of at least £5,000. The best bit? You won't have to pay a penny back.
As a diagnostic radiographer, you'll use the most advanced technologies to understand your patients' illnesses. You'll work with a supportive team to monitor patients' progress until their treatment ends. You'll be using some of the most complex and advanced technology around; one day you might be using a CT scanner to make a 3D image for a surgeon, the next preparing a patient for an MRI scan. It's a role that needs a combination of good technical skills and coordination, as well as the ability to build a rapport with patients and make them feel at ease during a stressful time.
Read more about life as a diagnostic radiographer.
Nothing is more rewarding than helping others live more comfortably and confidently. As an occupational therapist you'll empower people to overcome difficulties and live more independently, directly helping those with disabilities, traumas, ageing and other long-term conditions. This might mean helping people find a new way of doing an activity that's important to them like getting dressed, writing or even just moving around. You might also introduce people to new technology and show them how it can support them in their lives. This could be a simple crutch to help them get around, or state of the art assistive technology like rehab games or voice recognition software.
Find out how to become an occupational therapist.
As a lower-limb specialist, you'll provide treatment for foot and leg problems. Your care will help people live more comfortably and improve their quality of life. You could focus on a specialist area like surgery or orthotics, designing and fitting appliances like braces and in-shoe correction aids. Some podiatrists go on to specialise in sports injuries, working with footballers or runners, while others work with children or those suffering with diabetes. The job provides more flexibility than many healthcare jobs with podiatrists being able to work more flexible hours and from a variety of different settings including clinics, hospitals and sports centres.
Discover what it's like to be a podiatrist.
Ever thought about being on the front line of the fight against cancers and tumours? You could be the face of hope and support for people on this journey. You'll use some of the most complex and advanced technology to give precise doses of treatment and accurately target tumours. Your work could include planning a patient's radiotherapy treatment to researching new techniques for treating cancer. More importantly, you will care for the patients you treat at what is possibly one of the hardest times of their life, providing compassion, empathy and world class cancer treatments. Your care and attention can make a positive difference to a patient's day.
Read more about the role of a therapeutic radiographer.
Helping people overcome serious eye disorders and problems with their vision, you'll work with a range of patients who may be suffering with blurred, oscillating or double vision and many other symptoms. Variety is one of the most exciting things about being an orthoptist. As well as seeing different patients and conditions you'll also have the opportunity to work independently or as part of an inspiring multi-disciplinary team including consultant eye surgeons (ophthalmologists), optometrists and nurses.
See the entry requirements for an orthoptist.
As a prosthetist or orthotist, you'll empower people to move, walk and run independently by helping to design and fit prosthetics (artificial limbs) or orthotics (braces that support a limb function). You'll transform lives through varied work which might include fitting protheses for military veterans and amputees or giving surgeons advice during amputation procedures. You'll also work closely with your patients to make sure they know how to get the best out of the device you have fitted. By drawing on a mix of creativity, practical, and interpersonal skills you'll solve problems every day and get to be part of patients' emotional journey, seeing first-hand the benefit which your work has on people's lives.
Discover what prosthetist/orthotists do day-to-day.
Speech and language therapist
Speech problems can make people's lives incredibly difficult. As a speech and language therapist you could make a difference by helping them communicate more freely with others. This could be through improving their speech or through teaching them how to use non-verbal communication like signs. You'll see a variety of patients and help them with a range of different issues like supporting adults and children with learning difficulties to communicate with others, helping people overcome their stammering and helping adults with speech and swallowing difficulties as a result of a stroke or head, neck or throat cancer. You'll work closely with a supportive team of other professionals, including occupational therapists, nurses and teachers.
Read about the career prospects of a speech and language therapist.