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Career Advice Career Development

The best courses for NHS advancement

The 5 best courses for NHS advancement

If, like many people, you want to give something back to the community by ensuring the health of the nation is properly cared for – looking for a job in the NHS might be the route for you to take.

But before you close the page because you don’t have a medical background, you should know you don’t actually need one to work in the NHS; the organisation is always looking for skilled non-medical workers to work alongside and assist doctors, surgeons and nurses, and to help the whole operation run smoothly.

Here’s how you can break into the NHS, or if you work there already, how you can increase your chances of longevity and possible promotion.

If you want to break into the NHS

If you want to work in the NHS in a non-medical capacity, the following educational options may provide a route to doing so.

Apprenticeships

The NHS, like other organisations in different sectors, provides opportunities for young people to get a foot on the career ladder. Apprenticeships offer great ways for young people to learn and gain real work experience at the same time.

There are no set entry qualifications for an apprenticeship; it’s up to the school or college to decide if the student is a good fit. Then, if the apprentice proves good enough, they may be offered a permanent job which they can use as the first stepping stone in a long career.

University

Around half of the NHS workforce has a university degree or professional qualification. However, if you want a job with added responsibility – such as management or consultancy – you will almost certainly need to have a strong and relevant degree to add to your experience.

The best thing to do is look at the sort of jobs the NHS is offering and decide whether or not a degree is required. In many cases a degree will only enhance your chances of getting the job you want, whether you want to work in finance, legal services or other healthcare roles.

If you already work in the NHS

The following options are for people who are already employed by the National Health Service and who want to either solidify their position or make their case for career progression within it.

BSMSA-accredited courses

There are plenty of opportunities for current NHS employees to gain qualifications to help take their careers to the next level through the British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA).

Gaining a certificate such as the City and Guilds L3 Certificate in Medical Terminology takes up to nine months to complete, but it will show that you are serious about your career and that you want to learn about the technical side of healthcare.

Also, Customer Care - An Introduction, is a great short course for receptionists or workers in patient-facing roles who want to improve the level of care they administer to patients – it takes 8-10 hours of study to complete.

AMSPAR qualifications

Association of Medical Secretaries Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR) provides training, newsletters and online forums all geared towards helping professionals out.

It offers a range of approved qualifications which are recognised by the NHS and that will help prove you’re serious about your career – hopefully leading to progression.

IHRIM qualifications

The Institute of Health Records and Information Management is an organisation for professionals working with health records, who deal with clinical coding or other health-related information.

It offers a number of accreditations and qualifications such as the National Clinical Coding Qualification (UK) and the Technical Competence in Health Records Practice and Advanced levels, both of which are useful for clinical coders to have if they want to further their careers.

Are you qualified enough?

Take a look at our current job openings and see if you’ve got the skills and qualifications to be considered to for job. Don’t worry if you haven't just yet, because the courses listed above will mean that in future you will have a better chance of working for one of the world’s biggest employers.

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