We’ve all been appreciating the NHS more than ever over the past year. If you feel inspired and want to join the NHS, it’s a good idea to learn more about how it works and which jobs are particularly in demand. As an NHS employee, you’ll also be able to rely on our affordable loan system for any unexpected costs!
There are more than 350 different roles available in the NHS — covering a wide variety of areas, both clinical and non-clinical. Depending on your experience, qualifications or interests, the NHS likely has a position to suit you. It’s also one of the largest employers in the world (and the biggest in Europe) with over 1.5 million staff.
What jobs are there in the NHS?
There are 14 broad categories of jobs in the NHS — they are as follows:
- Allied health professions
- Ambulance service team
- Dental team
- Health informatics
- Healthcare science
- Medical associate professions
- Psychological professionals
- Public health and the wider healthcare team
Each category has many subsections. For example within the Dental team there are Dental hygienists, Dental nurses, Dental technicians, and Dental therapists, as well as Dentists themselves.
You can compare and contrast roles within the broader categories to work out what would suit you best. Perhaps you want to compare Midwifery versus Obstetrics and gynaecology? The handy NHS tool allows you to do just that.
If you want to see more snapshot examples of specific roles, they are also helpfully broken down from A to Z — for example, you may not realise that the NHS employs Dieticians and Gardeners as well as Surgeons and Paramedics. There is a real breadth of opportunity within the NHS.
What jobs are in high demand in the NHS?
There are on average around 25,000 vacancies advertised every month on the NHS Jobs website, and you'll find thousands of new ones advertised every day. If you decide to look for a job in the NHS, you should try to find out a few things before making your applications, such as:
What training there will be (some employers offer training programmes and apprenticeships)
What opportunities for progression are available
Whether you can gain qualifications through the workplace, through part-time study or distance learning
At the moment, the highest-demand jobs are Coronavirus-related and can be found on their careers page, highlighted with a bold red star. It’s worth noting that some roles are even advertised with a welcome bonus of £500 cash, such as that of Bank Staff Nurse.
There is also a current recruitment drive for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, which is a crucial part of the NHS’s response to the pandemic. In these roles, you will work as part of a dynamic team in delivering a safe and effective service for the mass delivery of vaccinations for COVID-19. You will be responsible for administering or supervising the vaccine programme, working within a team of staff in vaccination sites.
What qualifications do you need to work in the NHS?
Around 50% of the NHS workforce have a university or other professional qualification, but there are lots of opportunities for staff without these qualifications, especially in the ‘Wider healthcare team’. There are lots of pathways into an NHS career, such as through a clinical or non-clinical apprenticeship.
It’s important to check the requirements for the specific role you are interested in, as some roles in the NHS require a specific training route and need academic qualifications. These include the allied health professions, medicine, nursing and pharmacy. Other roles are less stringent — you can study from a range of different subjects and then apply that knowledge to jobs in the NHS.
For the specific Covid-19 Vaccination Programme mentioned above, there are a mixture of roles available; some do need qualifications, but others provide full training.
For those just thinking about starting a career with the NHS, it’s worth noting that you can also get financial support with your studies. The type of support certainly varies though, depending on the career and your course. If you plan to go to university to study a health-related degree such as nursing, midwifery or one of the allied health professions, there’s also the NHS Learning Support Fund which offers help with childcare, travel and accommodation while training.
If you are a full-time NHS student, you can get a bursary from the NHS and a possible extra £1,000 grant. If you are eligible for a bursary, the NHS will also pay your tuition fees. If you are studying and a full-time parent, you may also be eligible for the NHS Bursary Childcare allowance. You might be able to get a second student loan for some healthcare-related courses as well.
How much do NHS workers get paid?
How much you earn will depend on the job you are working in, and you will earn more as your career progresses. There are also lots of other benefits of an NHS career such as a generous pension, flexible working and the opportunity to make a difference to people's lives, no matter what role you are in.
Your salary will depend on your role and your specific employer. The main pay system for staff in the NHS is known as ‘Agenda for Change’ (AfC) — although this doesn’t include everybody (doctors, dentists and senior managers and have their own pay agreements). This main payment system is also known as ‘NHS Terms and Conditions of Service’ but for clarity, you should always check with the employer to confirm the pay rate for any post for which you are applying.
For the specific Covid-19 Vaccination Programme mentioned above the pay is as follows:
- Covid-19 Vaccination Programme Vaccinator – from £10.09 - £11.19 p/hour (indicative)
- Covid-19 Vaccination Programme Registered Health Care Professional (Immunisations) – from £12.74 p/hour (indicative)
- Covid-19 Vaccination Programme RHCP Clinical Supervisor (Immunisations) – from £16.04 p/hour (indicative)
For individuals working in London and areas just outside the capital, pay rates will be slightly higher due to it being a high-cost area. Work undertaken on Sundays and public holidays will also attract an enhanced rate of pay. These roles are based on a Fixed Term Contract for 3-6 months, but please be aware that due to the versatile nature of this programme, this term could be subject to change.
In general, the NHS benefits as mentioned above usually include:
A standard working week of 37.5 hours
- Pay enhancements to reward out of hours, shift and overtime working
- Holiday entitlement of 27 days a year, plus eight general and public holidays. This rises to 33 days after 10 years of service
- Better career and pay progression based on the application of knowledge and skills
- Annual personal development reviews to support career aspirations
How do I get a job in the NHS with no experience?
The NHS is always looking for people with transferable skills who can bring life experience and insights from working in other sectors — so don’t worry if you have a non-traditional background, or if you don’t have clinical experience. You can complete the Find your career tool to see which of the huge range of jobs in the NHS might suit you. You can even apply for the apprenticeship programme which offers a route into hundreds of different NHS careers through a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning.
If you are trying to boost your application and you’re in education, your local NHS organisations may offer the opportunity to gain work experience which will help. Each NHS organisation will have its own policy, so you will have to contact them or visit their websites to find out more. Voluntary work is another way of gaining experience and an insight into working in the health sector. There are also many volunteering organisations out there where you can start looking, including Volunteering England, Do It! and Volunteering Matters.
For the specific Covid-19 Vaccination Programme mentioned above, there are roles for those who might not yet have experience, such as students on Higher Education medical or healthcare related courses, or for those who have undertaken short courses such as Life Support or Advanced First Aid. Work within the NHS is definitely worth exploring further if you are keen to make a difference.
As an NHS or public sector employee, you’re eligible for our ethical loans as well! We are the alternative to toxic high-cost loans, and we want to make a difference offering affordable loans to those who need them most. Explore the rest of the Salad Money website to learn more.