Allied Medical Professions

The first step to becoming an allied medical professional is to take a degree or postgraduate course approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). Search for HCPC-approved courses using the NHS course finder.


From September 2020 allied health profession students (except nutritionists) receive a bursary, which they do not need to pay back. You are also able to access funding for tuition and maintenance loans from the Student Loans Company even if this is your second degree.


Dietitians translate scientific information about nutrition into practical advice to help people make healthy decisions about food. They assess, diagnose and treat diet-related problems and aim to raise awareness of the link between food and health to prevent future problems.

A key part of the healthcare team, dietitians are the only statutorily regulated nutrition professionals.

Graduate entry

Accelerated degrees for graduates last 15 months - 2 years. Normally, applicants for these courses will have successfully completed an honours degree containing an acceptable level of Human Physiology and Biochemistry. A good command of spoken and written English is essential. A desire to communicate healthy eating information to a wide range of audiences and promote healthy food choices is also important. Courses accredited by the British Dietetic Association

Work experience

Visit a hospital before applying and find out as much as possible about the work - some colleges and universities expect applicants to have visited a dietetic unit. It's also useful to get some voluntary or paid work experience in a related hospital setting to show your interest and understanding of the area. Contact the dietetic manager at your local hospital to ask about opportunities.


Nutritionists carry out research and use scientific knowledge to provide information and advice about the effects of food and nutrition on health and wellbeing. Also known as community nutritionist, public health nutritionist and food for health adviser.

Nutritionists work in a variety of organisations, including food companies, retailers, sports and leisure, media and the NHS. Nutritionists do not give dietary advice to individual patients or work with patients without supervision (this is done by a registered dietitian).

Many employers expect you to be registered with the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists including public health, exercise and animal nutritionists. To register you will usually need an Association for Nutrition-approved degree or postgraduate qualification in nutrition or public health nutrition.

Work Experience

Experience is helpful when applying for a course or first job in nutrition, e.g. in the health service as a healthcare assistant or dietetic assistant. It's also possible to get some work in a related food area such as food technology, product development or food safety and then move into a nutrition role. Companies such as Unilever, GSK and Nestle can sometimes offer work placements or internships. Work placements in Public Health Nutrition may be arranged with local universities.

Try contacting your local NHS Primary Care trust where many Public Health Nutrition jobs are based. You may be able to find voluntary opportunities with charities or not-for-profit groups e.g. working with a food bank.


Nutritionists are not registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and do not qualify for NHS bursaries and loans. Explore alternative postgraduate funding options.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists (OT) help people to overcome difficulties, which may be the result of physical or mental illness, an accident or the ageing process. They work with clients to help them lead full and independent lives and, where possible prevent disability.

Graduate entry

An accelerated two-year Masters (or postgraduate diploma), is available for graduates within the last five years with at least a 2.1 in a relevant degree and some health or social care experience. Relevant subjects include biological or medical sciences, other health-related subjects, psychology and sociology.

Become an OT - comprehensive advice and a directory of UK courses. Contact universities individually to confirm entry requirements. It is necessary to apply directly to Universities for most accelerated postgraduate programmes.

Occupational therapy support workers and technical assistants with acceptable qualifications can work towards becoming OTs by taking a pre-registration programme leading to full professional recognition. Check individual courses for entry requirements.

Work experience

You are expected to have at least visited an OT department before applying for the degree. Previous experience is particularly important for the two-year accelerated course and may include working with older people and people with mental health or physical disabilities. As the demands for the job are very varied, you will need to have experiences that demonstrate that you can be creative, persuasive, patient and flexible. An inquiring mind is important to the success of both assessment and treatment.

A wide range of volunteering experience either in a community or hospital environment is useful. Jobs that could help you gain relevant experience include working as an occupational therapy assistant, social care support worker, social work assistant, teaching assistant in a special needs environment.


Physiotherapists treat patients with physical difficulties resulting from illness, injury, disability or ageing. They treat people of all ages including children, the elderly, stroke patients and people with sports injuries.

Graduate entry

Some science and other graduates are eligible for accelerated two-year pre-registration MSc degree programmes in Physiotherapy or Rehabilitation Science. Most courses require a 2:1 degree and evidence of undergraduate research or dissertation. Apply directly to institutions. Degrees that may help you gain entry to an MSc programme include biological sciences, behavioural sciences, sports science, health-related disciplines, psychology, physiology, anatomy, chemistry, physical education.

Graduates of other subjects may apply for places on validated BSc degree courses if they satisfy the basic eligibility criteria. List of accredited courses.

Work experience

Work experience in any aspect of healthcare can provide admissions tutors with evidence that you have the ability to communicate well with all ages and sections of the community, and can cope with bodily fluids, illness and disability.

  • Local hospitals and their physiotherapy departments (private or public)
  • Private physiotherapy clinics - search for local physiotherapists
  • Sports clinics, football clubs or special schools, units (for physically disabled children and adults)
  • Nursing homes for the elderly
  • Voluntary work e.g. with the Red Cross, St Johns Ambulance Society or the MS Society


There are two types of radiographer. Diagnostic radiographers employ a range of sophisticated equipment including X-rays and ultrasound to produce high quality images to diagnose an injury or disease. Therapeutic radiographers plan and deliver radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

Graduate entry

You need a 2:1 or above in a related science or health care subject e.g. biological science, forensic science, biomedical science, nutrition and dietetics, psychology, health science, nursing, sports science, pharmacology or physics. List of courses.

Work experience

Work experience in a radiography department or shadowing a qualified diagnostic radiographer would strengthen an application for diagnostic radiography. Universities frequently expect a visit report as part of the entry criteria. For therapeutic radiography work with the public, particularly in a health-related role, is useful. It is essential to spend some time at a radiotherapy centre. Contact the radiotherapy service manager at your local hospital and ask if you can undertake a placement or spend time shadowing a qualified therapeutic radiographer.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and language therapists (SLT) assess and treat speech, language and communication problems in people of all ages to help them better communicate. They will also work with people who have eating and swallowing problems.

Graduate entry

Degree subjects often considered relevant for entry to accelerated two-year postgraduate courses include speech science/ therapy/ communication studies, linguistics, psychology, physiology, biological science, human biology and social science. Apply direct to Universities, closing dates vary but generally fall between September and December. List of accredited courses.

Work experience

Competition for places on all courses is high and pre-entry experience and knowledge of the profession is essential. Read up about the profession, try to visit child and adult clinics to observe and talk to practitioners. Admissions tutors appreciate that it can be difficult to arrange visits to clinics so will consider a wide range of relevant experience.

Relevant work experience can include volunteering or paid work as a speech therapy assistant, with children, elderly or disabled people in either a health or social care environment such as a nursing home or school. Local stroke groups often need volunteers.

Reflect on your experiences and remember examples of the skills for use in applications: communicating with people of all ages and backgrounds, patience, creativity, team working, being organised, flexibility, ability to be at ease in a clinical environment.