Always wanted to help others? People who work in this sector are involved in the treatment and diagnosis of illness and injury. The career paths you can take, the people you can work with and the locations you can work in are as varied as you want them to be. You will need to be prepared for some serious training, but this will pay off. Medicine is a rewarding field to work in, and it is the sector for you if you fancy taking your career abroad some day; medical professionals are needed all over the world.
The medical profession is extremely broad and includes more than 60 specialist areas, however they fall into the following broader areas:
- Anaesthetics - is the field responsible for pain relief of patients during operations. Without anaesthetics much surgery would not be possible.
- General practice – is the first point of contact for patients. Based in the primary care sector, general practice works with the public that come into surgeries or at home visits, dealing with a range of health problems and referring patients to other professionals where necessary.
- Medicine – all doctors must train in this field, to a certain level. Some go on to specialise further. This area includes Accident & Emergency (A&E) medicine, a hospital based specialty which deals with a broad range of illnesses and injuries.
- Obstretics and Gynaecology – is the field of medicine that deals with the care of pregnant women, unborn children and diseases particular to women. Varied surgical work is involved, and again, professionals in this field often go on to specialise in something more specific.
- Ophthalmology – is the specialty relating to eyes: detecting defects in vision, signs of injury, ocular diseases or abnormality and problems with general health of the eyes.
- Paediatrics –is the specialism of medicine that deals with infants, children and young people, working holistically to focus on the child in the context of their family.
- Pathology – is all about diseases, understanding and detecting them and reducing the risks of future spread.
- Surgery – refers to the operations undertaken by doctors trained as surgeons to treat physical problems with the body. There are many different types of surgery including plastic surgery, paediatric (for children) and orthopaedic (working on bones). Podiatric physicians work on the feet. Paediatric surgeons work on children, and there are more specialties here too! Dental surgery is another branch of the field; see our Healthcare sector summary for more on dentistry.
- Check out some Alternative careers in this sector.
- Medical illustration – this field involves the production of clinical photography, medical art, graphic design and video that are needed for a range of applications in medicine as well as for teaching. Read more about careers in medical illustration.
- Physician assistance – this is a new role to the UK, supporting doctors; see here for more details.
- Psychiatry – see details about this profession in our Healthcare summary.
- Radiology – while radiography deals with producing images of diseases and injuries (see our Healthcare summary for more on this profession), radiology is concerned with the diagnosis using images. Read more about radiology and oncology and more about what radiologists do.
You will find more career options in this sector in our Healthcare summary. Another sector you may be interested in is Social Care and Guidance Work.
Check out the professional bodies’ own entries in the Profession Finder. A huge range of professional bodies cover the medical sector.
A really useful resource is the British Medical Association (BMA)'s careers pages. To get directed to the right place, take a look at a summary of their key guidance.
Here you will find information on: