Guest Blog: The Good, The Bad and The Healthy: Routes Into Medicine

Susanna, Inspiring Interns

doctor-1228627_960_720There’s more to the medical profession than GPs and surgeons. You don’t have to look like Meredith Grey to do the good work in a hospital; in fact, you don’t even need a medical degree. Check out these five non-doctor jobs that will have you tending the sickly in no time.

Music, drama or art therapist

Love the arts? Think spreading your passion can only do good? Well, you’re not wrong. Art therapies have been proven effective in the treatment of both physical and mental conditions, and trained professionals are always needed.

You’ll need to have good qualifications in your chosen field, as well as additional training to be a therapist. For example, a music therapist must have a three-year BA in music from university or a music college; then, they are required to complete the BAMT MA. You can take the latter as a full-time course over two years, or on a part-time basis for three or four. Entry from an education or psychology background is also acceptable, if a high musical capability is also demonstrated.

And music isn’t the only relevant field. You can provide therapy through visual art, drama and even dance. Why not use your artistic skills for the common good?


Those who enjoy science and/or mathematics might consider a career as a radiographer. This is a highly technical job that can expand into computing tomography, mammography or ultrasound.

The money’s pretty good. Starting in the £20,000 region, you can earn up to £70,000 as a senior consultant. Work comprises about thirty-seven hours a week, sometimes including unsociable shifts. Whether therapeutic or diagnostic, the job involves working alongside physicists, radiologists, clinical oncologists and other professionals. So if you can serve someone a coffee with a smile at 4 AM, this might be the role for you.

Radiographer candidates must have completed a course or MA prescribed by the HCPC.

Forensic psychologist

Time for the CSI lovers among you to crawl out the woodwork. The police are always looking for good forensic psychologists, although it’s a job that requires professional medical training. Plus, the money’s good; consultants and higher can earn over £70,000.

You can turn any degree into the appropriate qualification by completing a conversion course in forensic psychology. Just look on the British Psychology Society website. It’s a popular job though, so you’ll need a strong 2:1 degree and the mettle to compete with a lot of qualified candidates.

Personal care assistant

This is a reasonably low-skill role that nevertheless can be very taxing, and very rewarding, for any jobseeker. Looking after the vulnerable, aged or disabled is a valuable action by any standards. If you want to make a real and positive difference to someone’s life, this is the place to start.

Personal care assistants don’t need much in the way of academic qualifications, but the money is low to match. You’ll start at NMW – in some cases with accommodation provided – and rise into the 20k region with optional training. To be a good care assistant, you need a bunch of pastoral and soft skills; impatient people have no business here. Voluntary work can be an effective route in.


Love babies? This actually might not be the role for you. Midwives work with mothers throughout pregnancy to ensure a hassle-free birth; they don’t tend to oversee babies beyond the foetal stage. But never fear: this is essential work, necessary to the very future of our race. And what could be more rewarding than that?

To be a midwife, you can do a specialised degree or, if you’re already a nurse, an eighteen-month conversion course. You will need basic GCSEs and A-Levels but no higher education is required beyond that.

Midwifery isn’t the only important nursing job, of course. You can look at similar nurse roles here, all essential in their own way. And remember – men can be nurses too!

So it turns out that a medical degree is not essential to do some good in this world. If you do have a medical qualification and are unsure whether doctor work is right for you, be aware of your alternatives. There are all sorts of things you can use medicine for, and not all of it involves a stethoscope. Just look at Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, who graduated from medical school in 1953; three years later, he was attempting to forcibly liberate Cuba.

So keep your options open. And remember: a career in healthcare, or revolutionary politics, is always available to you.

Susanna Quirke writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment firm which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship jobs and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.


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