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Health Careers

Taking the pulse of health careers in Wales

We all need to use health services at some point in our lives. But have you thought about a career in health?

With a population that is aging more demand will be on the health sector to provide services.

Did you know that there are over 350 different roles in the NHS alone? (Step into the NHS, 2017)
The number of people employed by the NHS in Wales is nearly 74,000. (StatsWales, 2015)

Developments in technology and health mean that job roles range from Nurse to Computer Programmer, and from GP to Medical Engineer. Health careers also include jobs in complementary therapies such as Acupuncturist, Chiropractor and Reflexologist.

As health is such a large sector with many different types of jobs, why not take a look and see if there is a job that’s right for you?

The NHS advertised 9,500
job vacancies in the last 12 months. They were the employer that advertised the greatest number of jobs within Wales.
(Labour Insights, 2017)

Around 80%
of the people who work in health careers work in the NHS or voluntary sector.
(NHS Wales Workforce, 2015)
Around 8,300
jobs were advertised online for Nurses within the last 12 months. It was the most common job online to be advertised
(Labour Insights, 2017)

nurses were working in the UK in 2016, a rise of 23% since
(RCN, 2016)

1 in 9 of the total workforce in Wales work in Health related careers.
(NOMIS BRES, 2015)

Wales needs more...

Nursing Healthcare Support Workers,
Dental Nurses, Physiotherapists,
Medical Practitioners (Doctors),
Dental Practitioners (Dentists), Nurses,
Health Associate Professionals,
Medical and Dental Technicians, 
Biological Scientists and Biochemists, Pharmacists

Employment Hotspots

These are the total number of all jobs in the health sector in areas of Wales (Rounded figures).





Rhondda Cynon Taf







Who employs nurses and midwives?

 Health authority or NHS trust: 80.8%

 Private sector: 14.7%

 Charity/voluntary sector: 1.0%

 Other public sector: 2.7%

Who employs nursing healthcare support workers?

 Health authority or NHS trust: 64.8%

 Private sector: 22.7%

 Charity/voluntary sector: 6.6%

 Other public sector: 2.7%

(RCN Labour Market Review, 2016)


















Merthyr Tydfil


Neath Port Talbot








Vale of Glamorgan


Blaenau Gwent





(NOMIS BRES, 2015)

Meet the Employers

The NHS is the main employer for health careers in Wales. There are 8 health boards within the NHS across Wales. NHS jobs can be found at

Other health employers include GP and Dental practices, private healthcare facilities and laboratories.

Find the location of hospitals in Wales:

What can I earn?

Salaries can vary depending on your experience, the employer and where you live. Higher salaries can be awarded for more senior positions. Salaries also vary for self-employed workers.

Jobs within the NHS in Wales have a specific pay structure.

Pay for jobs outside the NHS can vary. The majority of people in complementary therapies are self-employed and so their income can vary widely.

Approximate Job Salary range dependent on experience (£)

£14,000 - £19,000

£14,000 - £19,000

£14,000 - £19,000

£15,500 - £25,500

£16,000 - £22,000

£16,000 - £32,000

£21,000 - £28,000

£21,000 - £34,000

£21,000 - £34,000

£21,000 - £34,000

£21,000 - £34,000

£21,500 - £34,500

£22,000 - £35,000

£22,000 - £35,000

£21,000 - £40,000

£21,000 - £40,000

£21,000 - £40,000

£25,000 - £45,000

£25,500 - £67,000

£38,500 - £82,500

£54,500 - £82,000

£76,000 - £102,500

Getting In

Many jobs in health require science subjects such as Biology and Chemistry, in addition to Maths and English. Jobs in health often require degrees and professional qualifications.

If you don’t have the GCSE’s and A levels in the right subjects, some university courses accept Access courses. Check with the university first to make sure that they accept the specific access course you are selecting.

Here are some examples of courses you can do:

  • GCSE Science
  • Introduction to Massage Therapy
  • VRQ Level 2 in Complementary Therapies
  • AS/A Level Biology
  • AS/A Level Chemistry
  • AS/A Level Physics

Examples of degree level qualifications include:

  • HND Health Informatics
  • BDS Dental Surgery
  • BMid Midwifery
  • BN Adult Nursing
  • BN Childrens Nursing
  • BSc Physiotherapy
  • BSc Acupuncture
  • BSc Dental Therapy and Dental Hygiene
  • BSc Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging
  • BSc Operating Department Practitioner
  • BSc Healthcare Science
  • MBBCh Medicine
  • MEng Medical Engineering
  • Master of Chiropractic
  • MSc Pain Management
‘There is a growing need for IT technology skills within the NHS. NHS Wales is investing in apprenticeships and graduate development opportunities for technology skills. This includes partnering with University of Wales Trinity St Davids in Swansea to provide training’
(NHS Informatics Service, 2016)
If you like IT and working with data, find out more about what’s involved in the NHS Wales Health Informatics (IT service for the Wales NHS) through work experience.

Search for Apprenticeships Find a course Try our Career Search  Find a HE Course

Talent Bank is an education programme for life and health sciences led by Gower College Swansea involving:

  • Full time study for young people wanting to study science, maths, technology and engineering subjects.
  • Higher apprenticeship programme for people over 18 employed in either life science or human health sectors
(ARCH, 2017)

The Welsh Government is investing 

£95 million to train Healthcare Professionals in Wales including:

  •  13% increase in nursing training places
  • 40% increase in midwifery training places

(Welsh Government, 2017)

Find out about Funding

‘Over 1/4 of all nurses
work part time’
(RCN Labour Market Review, 2016)


Health Associate Professionals include jobs such as Acupunturist, Homeopath, Hypnotherapist, Massage Therapist, Reflexologist and Sports Therapist. People who work in these jobs are often self employed.

Find out more about becoming self-employed: 

Get networking!

Networking and word of mouth are particularly important in the health sector. Get to know other people and businesses, face-to-face, and through social media.
Build your network of contacts to sell yourself and your ideas.

Network! Network! Network!

Get experience!

Get as much work experience as you can.  Lack of general work experience is one of the top 3 reasons employers give for not employing someone.

Over 1/2 of staff employed in the NHS in the UK are professionally qualified. (Workforce and Facilities, NHS Digital 2016)

Skills in Demand

Jobs that are on the UK Shortage Occupation list within health include:

Consultants in:
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Clinical Neurophysiology
  • Haematology
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Old Age Psychiatry

(UK Shortage Occupations List, 2014)


Specialist Nurses:

  • Working in Operating Theatres
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Units

(UK Shortage Occupations List, 2014)

Operating Department Practitioner, Diagnostic Radiographer, Therapeutic Radiographer. 

(UK Shortage Occupations List, 2014)




Doctors with specialisms in Anaesthetics, Emergency Medicine, General Medicine, General Surgery

(NHS Workforce Wales, 2015)



Wales has the 2nd lowest GP coverage and 2nd oldest workforce in the UK. Almost ¼ of GPs in Wales are 55 or over. More GPs are needed to replace those who are retiring and to meet changing needs of the future.
(RCGP, 2015)

Vacancies for doctors was the 6th highest advertised job online in Wales within the last 12 months.
(Labour Insights, 2017)

The demand for IT skills is increasing as health careers provide digital services such as ehealth / telemedicine.
(NHS Workforce Wales, 2015)

Welsh Government has announced over £5.5 million for digital priorities within the Welsh NHS. (Welsh Government, 2017) In line with current trends there is also likely to be growth of IT jobs within the NHS in Wales.

New in Sector

IT and technology within health careers

88% of adults in the UK use the internet but only 2% use it to interact with the NHS.
(Nuffield Trust, 2016)

New diagnostic methods and robotics are being developed in health all requiring IT and technology related skills.
(NHS Workforce Wales, 2015)

  • Over 165,000 health apps are available
  • 500 million people in the world will use a healthcare app this year
  • 50% of the UK population will use the internet for self diagnosis
  • 75% of people search the web for health information
    (Nuffield Trust, 2016)

Health related IT skills and careers will include:

  • Programmers and developers - wearable devices and apps – providing real-time data to medical staff and monitoring away from the hospital (Nuffield Trust, 2016)
  • Operating and managing telehealth – doctors appointments online (Nuffield Trust, 2016)
  • Predictive analytics and big data – uses computer algorithms to analyse electronic patient records and generate information on those people at risk in the near future (Nuffield Trust, 2016)
  • Robotics – The number of robot-assisted operations worldwide increased from 80,000 in 2007 to 205,000 in 2010. (The Kings Fund, 2017) Due to Welsh Government investment hospital theatres in Wales have robotic training equipment and robotic treatment systems (NHS Wales, 2015)
  • Virtual simulation - a way of training medical students in surgical procedures (The Kings Fund, 2017)

See our Spotlight on Information Communication Technology
for more information on careers in IT.

Other advances are in genetics, regenerative medicine, stem cell research and neuroscience.
(Life Science Exchange, 2014)

See our Spotlight on Life Sciences for more information.

Do I need Welsh Language skills?

If you work in Wales, being able to speak and write in both Welsh and English can give you an advantage in the workplace.


368 GPs stated they could speak Welsh in 2015. This means that there is roughly 1.2 Welsh speaking GPs per 10,000 people.
(StatsWales 2015)


The Welsh Government is committed to strengthening the use of Welsh Language within health care.
(Gov.Wales, 2016)

“Being able to access Welsh language services is a clear desire for can also be a matter of need and vital in securing positive well-being outcomes”.
(Welsh Government, 2016)











In the health sector

of the Human health and social care workforce is Welsh speaking
(Llywodraeth Cymru, 2014)


What about the future?

Fastest growing health careers in Wales, shown in percentage of growth.

 Ophthalmic Opticians



 Medical and Dental Technicians

 Dental Practioners

 Ambulance Staff


 Health Associate Professionals

 Health Professionals

 Health Services and Public Health
Managers and Directors

 Dental Nurses


 Nursing Healthcare Support Worker

 Health Care Practice Managers

 Medical Radiographers


 Medical Practioners

 Pharmaceutical Technicians

(Working Futures 2014-2024)

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