What's it like?
You would test blood, tissue and fluid samples from ill people so they can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
You’d use computers and hi-tech equipment to test and analyse biological samples in a laboratory and identify a patient’s disease or condition. Your findings will help doctors and healthcare professionals to decide what medical treatment to give.
Sometimes you’d meet patients, who may be anxious and upset, to discuss their condition and get samples.
You would specialise in one of three areas:
Depending on your chosen area, you would:
You’d update paperwork or computerised systems with the data and test results so that patients’ records are accurate and the doctors can plan their treatment.
You would also do new research, and would often support junior staff and technicians.
You would research the chemistry of living cells to learn more about diseases or develop new drugs, medicines and crops.
Using scientific equipment and techniques you’d do tasks like examining samples under a microscope.
You could work in several different areas.
In a hospital, public health laboratory or research institute, you would:
If you worked in the pharmaceutical, food or brewing industries, you would:
In agriculture and the environment, you could work with water authorities, seed companies or local and central government.
You might also teach and do research in universities, colleges and schools, or medical, veterinary or dental schools.
You'd study living things like plants and animals and the world around them to increase our knowledge and understanding of them, the environment and genetics.
You could work in variety of areas.
You might help to develop new methods to diagnose, monitor and treat illness or disease.
You could help to tackle environmental problems, such as finding ways to clean up polluted rivers so that fish can thrive and to conserve plants and animals in their natural environment.
In agriculture and industry, for example, you might work on ways to
You could also specialise in related fields such as:
You would often work in a team with other scientists and technicians, and you may supervise support staff and carry out administration work.
To help your research it woudl be useful to have an understanding of statistics and relevant computer packages. You’d also need to keep up to date with advances in your field.
If you were based at a university or teaching hospital, you would teach and mentor students.
You would use your biology knowledge to come up with products and processes that improve our health, our food and our world.
Your work would depend on your specific field.
In medical biotechnology and biotherapeutics you might:
In environmental biotechnology you might:
In industrial biotechnology, you might:
In all three areas, you would:
You would inspire and motivate young people to learn about life and how organisms survive, thrive and change.
As a biology teacher you’d teach the pupils about cells, genes and evolution and the scientific principles and concepts used to understand the living world.
You would teach young people from 11 to 18 years old, in state and independent schools. You might also work in a college or learning centre.
You’d help your pupils develop skills in the accurate use of scientific language, formulae and equations and how to use practical techniques for scientific inquiry and investigation.
They would learn how scientific discoveries make an impact on people’s lives, society and the enviroment. You’d teach them the capacity to be scientifically literate citizens and prepare the foundations for some pupils to go on to a career in science and technologies.
You’d teach students of different ages and abilities and prepare young people to take the National Qualifications and Highers in this subject.
There is national guidance for Curriculum for Excellence Sciences and National Qualifications, which you would use when planning your teaching.
You’d encourage the students to take pride in their achievements inside and outside school. You’d support them to build good relationships with other students and teachers and play a positive part in the life of the school and the local community.
You’d help them get the knowledge, skills and attributes they’ll need for a successful and positive life when they leave school.
Sometimes you will need to deal with challenging behaviour. It may be difficult to get some teenagers to study so you’d need to be imaginative and enthusiastic to keep them interested.
You’d need to attend meetings and training courses. You’d work closely with colleagues to plan the school’s timetables, and work with other professionals, such as education psychologists and social workers.
You would do tests, research and investigations and support scientists and their research. You could work in different areas such as forensic science, scientific analysis, the health service, and in education.
You might work to diagnose diseases, measure levels of pollution or help to develop new products. You might work with specialised techniques such as ways of treating infertility.
If you worked in education, you would also set up equipment and demonstrate experiments.
You’d need to have a good awareness of health and safety regulations to work safely.
Your team would include scientists and other technicians. With experience you may also supervise lab support workers or junior technicians.
You would help people keep their teeth and gums healthy and strong. You’d explain to patients how to care for their teeth and gums. You’d check their mouths and treat any problems.
You’d carry out delicate procedures using medical instruments. You’d need to deal with anxious patients and people who may be upset because they are in pain.
Many dentists work as general dental practitioners (GDPs) in the community, looking after private and NHS patients. As a GDP you’d be self-employed and run your own practice. You’d mange the business and lead your team to provide a good dental service to your patients.
You would carry out dental treatments such as:
As part of treatments you’d also take X-rays and give local anaesthetics.
You’d refer patients to a dental hygienist or dental therapist for certain treatments. You’d also need to keep dental records for each patient.
There are other places you could work, such as:
In all these areas, you would use a range of dental and surgical techniques and instruments. In a hospital you would carry out some procedures in an operating theatre.
You could also work in dental public health. This is a relatively new and expanding field. You would assess the dental health needs of the regional population rather than treat individuals, and make sure that dental services meet those needs. You would work with other dentists, NHS professionals, government departments and related agencies.
You would help people get the right medicines and drugs and use them safely to treat illnesses and disease.
You’d check prescriptions, dispense medicines and make sure that the laws to control medicines are met.
You could work as a community pharmacist, for example in a high street shop, or in a hospital pharmacy either in the NHS or in a private hospital.
As a community pharmacist you would:
You would also run or help to run the business, including supervising and training staff.
In a hospital, you would:
Another option is to work as a pharmacist within a local NHS service.
You could also work in education or in industry, carrying out research into new medicines and running clinical trials.
You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Pharmacist page on the NHS Scotland Careers website.
You will be a qualified doctor specialising in the investigation and diagnosis of a range of clinical conditions and diseases, using a variety of imaging techniques such as:
As a clinical radiologist, you'll be responsible for reporting most imaging procedures and will also perform many of the interventional procedures. You'll work closely as part of a multidisciplinary team that includes radiographers, other doctors and medical staff from a range of specialities and will provide expert guidance and advice.
As a clinical radiologist, you'll need to:
You would carry out operations on patients who need them. They may be injured, have a worsening health condition, or wish to have plastic surgery.
Patients would be referred to you by other hospital doctors and GPs, or would come to you from an accident and emergency department. They may be anxious and upset, and you would need to calm them down.
This job comes with a lot of responsibility, as your patients would be putting complete trust in you. Your work could help change their lives. Sometimes, you could be helping to save a life.
You would specialise in one surgical area, such as working with children or trauma patients.
You might sometimes carry out research and publish papers.
You would respond rapidly to emergency calls and give immediate medical care to injured people in potentially life-threatening situations.
You'd deal with anything from minor wounds to serious injuries caused by a major accident. You'd treat shocked and traumatised people who will rely on you to help them and ease their pain. You would often transfer critically ill patients from one hospital to another.
You'd check the patient's condition and quickly decide what action to take. You'd make calm and reasoned decisions about the right treatment and care for them.
If you take a patient to hospital you would tell the staff about the person's condition as quickly and accurately.
You'd also keep accurate records of your cases and regularly check the ambulance equipment. You would need to respect patient confidentiality.
You could work on a traditional ambulance as part of a team or alone using a car, motorbike or bicycle. You may choose to work on a helicopter as part of the Air Ambulance Team or to join specialist teams working across a wider range of emergency situations. You'd also liaise with police and fire service crews.
You would motivate and support people to overcome physical difficulties caused by physical or mental illness, an accident or ageing. You’d help people lead full and independent lives and, where possible, prevent disability.
Working with your patients on a one-to-one basis, you’d create a treatment and activity programme to suit each person.
For example, you could:
You would keep notes about their progress. You’d advise and support patients, and their families and carers.
The people who need your help may be angry, disappointed or frustrated because of their circumstances. You’d need to be able to motivate and encourage them. You’d need to understand people’s priorities and lifestyles and devise treatment programmes to suit each person's needs and lifestyle.
Some patients may have conditions such as motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis, which means that they gradually become less mobile and more disabled. You would try to encourage a positive attitude, which can help people stay active for as long as possible.
With experience, you could specialise in an area such as:
You could work with patients for several months or just for a few sessions. You would often work as part of a team of professionals, including physiotherapists, nurses and social workers.
You would diagnose and treat sick animals. You would probably work in general practice, with pets, farm and zoo animals.You may work with all of these types of animals, or specialise in just one.
Many of the owners you talk to may be upset or anxious about their pets, so it would be important to have a kind and reassuring manner. You would also have to be very gentle with the animals you work with, as many of them will be fragile.
As a vet in general practice you would:
You might also be involved in inspecting hygiene and care standards in zoos, kennels, catteries, riding stables, pet shops and cattle markets.
You could also work in the public sector. You would then help prevent and control animal and human diseases, such as foot and mouth disease, and assess the safety of food processing plants and abattoirs.
Another option would be working in industry, supervising the production of drugs, chemicals and biological products.
You will translate scientific information about nutrition into practical advice to help people make health-conscious decisions about food. You'll assess, diagnose and treat diet-related problems and aim to raise awareness of the link between food and health to prevent future problems.
Although many dietitians work for the National Health Service (NHS) in a hospital or community setting, you can also work in:
Working in a hospital, you'll educate people who need special diets as part of their treatment. You may focus on specialist areas, such as children's health, diabetes, kidney disease, food allergies or eating disorders. In the community you may be involved in a range of health promotion activities.
Community dietitians and those working in public health may see a much wider range of patients in a variety of settings.
When working in a hospital or community setting, you may need to:
If you're working with athletes and sportspeople, you'll need to:
You would prepare and supply prescription medicine to treat people’s illnesses and health conditions.
You could be based in a community or hospital pharmacy. You’d work under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist.
If you work in a hospital pharmacy you might be responsible for making up medicines for patients who are having cancer treatment. These need to be made in special sterile conditions to avoid contamination. It is especially important in these cases to be as accurate and methodical as possible.
You would also be responsible for making sure that each department in the hospital has the right amount of medicine in stock. With experience, you could specialise in a particular area such as quality control, clinical trials or medicines information services.
If you work in a community pharmacy, you would talk with customers to:
You’d need to be able to explain things clearly. People may be embarrassed about their health conditions so you’d need to have tact and discretion.
You would refer them to a pharmacist or healthcare professional when necessary.
You would care for people who are sick, injured or disabled and support them and their families when they are anxious and upset.
You'd work with doctors to give the patients practical medical care. You'd respond sensitively to the person's needs so they feel safe and looked after.
You could work in a hospital or in the community at a GP's surgery, health centre or clinic. Most jobs are in the National Health Service (NHS) though you could also work at private hospitals or nursing homes, schools, colleges or for the prison service, the Armed Forces or in industry.
You could specialise in an area such as accident and emergency, cardiac rehabilitation, outpatients, neonatal nursing, and operating theatre work.
You need to be able to help any person without judgement and respect patient confidentiality.
sterile services technician
You would make sure that medical equipment is kept clean and safe for use with patients. You might look after items used in hospital wards, clinics or operating theatres.
You would use specialised equipment to clean large items.
It would be important to follow health and safety rules at all times.
You would study micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae. Your work could be used to prevent diseases, make new medicines or grow more food.
You could work in a variety of different areas.
If you work in healthcare as a clinical microbiologist you would identify pathogens – which produce diseases – and work out how to protect communities from the spread of infection.
Or you could do research and development in different areas, including:
Depending on the industry you would:
You would also present the findings of your research, supervise the work of support staff and do administrative work.
If you work as a researcher and lecturer in a university or teaching hospital, you would tutor, mentor and supervise students.
You would research new techniques and develop new medical equipment for treatments in hospitals. You’d make sure specialist equipment is safe and works properly.
You’d work with equipment, like MRI scanners, ultrasounds and x-rays, which are used to investigate patients' conditions.
You would develop new technology for diagnosis and treatment.
You could work on imaging techniques to track how organs are functioning and to help with image-guided surgery
If you wok on radiation and radio therapies you could calculate dosages for beams and radioactive implants used in the treatment of cancers.
You could develop electronic instruments which take measurements or support damaged organs.
Or you could work on laser technology. It is used to reduce the need for invasive surgery, for example to break up kidney stones or treating eye disorders.
You would work closely with medical professionals such as doctors, radiographers and medical physics technicians.
You’d need to keep up to date with the latest research in healthcare science, also known as clinical science.