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How to become a clinical technologist in clinical engineering

You'll need to complete a work-based training programme to become a clinical technologist in clinical engineering in the NHS.

What is a clinical technologist in clinical engineering?

Clinical technologists in clinical engineering work in one of these 4 areas:

  • medical engineering
  • radiation engineering
  • rehabilitation engineering
  • renal technology

They calibrate, maintain, monitor, test, and repair specialist equipment and medical devices.

Starting your career as a clinical technologist in clinical engineering

Choosing subjects at school

To get on a college or university course that could lead to a career as a clinical technologist in clinical engineering, useful subjects include: 

  • Physics
  • Science
  • Design and Technology
  • Computing Science
  • Biology 
  • English
  • Maths

Speak to your guidance teacher or careers adviser about subjects offered at your school.

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to college, university, or a new job with NHSScotland. 

Education and training pathway

To become a clinical technologist in clinical engineering, you must complete the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) Clinical Technologist Training Scheme. You’ll need a qualification at SCQF level 7 or above to apply. For example: 

  • HNC Applied Sciences at SCQF level 7.
  • HND Mechanical Engineering at SCQF level 8.
  • BSc (Hons) Physics at SCQF level 10.

You’ll find more information about SCQF levels on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) website. You can also search for college courses and university degree programmes on My World of Work.

Widening access

Widening participation supports adult learners who want to go to university. If you’re an adult with few or no qualifications, you could get into higher education through the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP). Many universities also provide access programmes to help you get the degree entry qualifications you need.

IPEM Clinical Technologist Training Scheme

The IPEM Clinical Technologist Training Scheme at SCQF level 9 is delivered in the workplace. 

As a trainee, you’ll have a training plan and learn how to maintain and monitor complex equipment so it can be used safely. During the 2-year programme, your practical skills will be assessed. You’ll also complete a portfolio of work to achieve the IPEM diploma.

Once qualified, you can join the Register of Clinical Technologists.

Training opportunities are advertised on our recruitment website.

Other work-based training programmes

Some health boards in Scotland offer opportunities to learn while you earn through apprenticeship-style programmes. You can also apply for these training programmes on our recruitment website.

Get to know the role

As a clinical technologist in clinical engineering, you'll use your knowledge of physics or engineering to operate and monitor the safe use of hospital equipment.

Your work will help patients receive accurate diagnoses and treatment. You’ll perform tests to check and fix complex medical equipment. Once you’ve completed this, you'll also record the test results.

Tasks include: 

  • Contribute to technical problem-solving so issues are quickly and efficiently fixed.
  • Monitor and advise on safe working practices for other staff within the hospital environment.
  • Design medical equipment.
  • Provide training on the safe use of specialist equipment and medical devices.
  • Keep accurate records of safety checks, repairs, and tests of equipment and medical devices.

You'll need these skills:

  • focussing
  • caring
  • collaboration
  • decision-making 
  • leadership
  • problem-solving

You'll also be expected to have the scientific and technical skills necessary for the role.

Clinical technologists in clinical engineering work with other healthcare professionals, including: 

  • clinical scientists
  • clinical engineers
  • radiographers
  • doctors
  • nurses

You could work in: 

  • hospital workshops and laboratories
  • wards and clinics
  • patients' homes

Learning and development

The Register of Clinical Technologists (RCT) sets the standard for training and conduct and maintains high standards of practice for clinical technologists. You can register with the RCT once qualified.

As a clinical technologist in clinical engineering, you must keep your knowledge and skills up to date with continuing professional development (CPD). Your CPD should be varied and balanced. It can include:

  • applying for research grants
  • researching new devices
  • post-qualification training courses
  • receiving training on new equipment

The RCT audits the CPD activities of its members each year. If selected, you'll submit a record of your learning and development to be reviewed by the RCT's CPD Audit Panel.

Career progression

With experience, you could become a training supervisor for the next generation of clinical technologists. There are also opportunities for you to move into academic research with an MSc or PhD in a relevant subject.

Professional bodies

When you become a qualified clinical technologist in clinical engineering, you can join the following professional bodies:

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