Careers in health

This page explores the broad range of career options available under the 'health' umbrella. Below, you'll find useful resources, top tips, and more information about roles in and routes into the health sector.

What is a career in health?

Health is a diverse area which encompasses work in private sector organisations, international organisations, not-for-profits, start-ups and the public sector. Within the private sector, opportunities exist in the pharmaceutical industry, medical and healthcare technology, and also in health consultancy.

Within this broad range of areas, a variety of roles are available including health economist, consultant, researcher, policy analyst, healthcare manager or roles working directly with patients in a clinical setting.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the essential role the health sector plays on a global scale, and also emphasised the direct impact that careers in this sector have in establishing and in supporting the wellbeing of citizens in addition to maintaining economic and political security.

A career in health can encompass working in local, national or international settings. The social science perspective which underpins studying at LSE provides a broad range of opportunities for professional development and progression.

Where can I work, what can I do, and how can I get there?

Where can I work?

Organisations that employ people in this area either directly or with certain roles with a key focus on health include: 

  • Civil service and governments 
  • Private sector consultancy, both specialised health consultancy firms and generalist consultancies with a healthcare practice area
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Public health organisations
  • Environmental health organisations
  • Digital health and medical technology companies
  • Healthcare providers (public sector and private healthcare organisations)
  • Charities and NGOs
  • International organisations
  • Health-focused research in academia or think tanks 

What can I do?

  • Health consultant – a health consultant can focus on creating strategies for healthcare providers, governments and the pharmaceutical industry, to achieve their goals without compromising patient care. Consultants can work ‘in house’ as part of a healthcare or provider or pharmaceutical company or work for management consultancy firm. Some consultancies specialise in health (IQVIA and Candesic are examples) while other firms will have healthcare as one of their practice areas. Strong teamwork and collaboration skills, the ability to work under pressure and analyse complex data are important when working as a health consultant.
  • Health economist – a health economist can work in the public and private sectors and international organisations. Health economists apply the theories of production, efficiency, disparities, competition, and regulation to better inform the public and private sector on the most efficient, cost-effective and equitable course of action. Health economists can undertake evaluation of new technologies, as well as the study of appropriate prices, anti-trust policy, optimal public and private investment and strategic behaviour. Strong analytical and research and communication skills are valued by organisations who employ health economists.
  • Public health professional – Public health is a multidisciplinary field concerned with preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting the health of populations. Roles can be people focused, administrative or strategic and can be found in research, government (at both local and national level) and the charity and voluntary sectors.
  • Pharmaceuticals marketing and sales – jobs roles in this area in the pharmaceutical industry focus on generating leads or prospects and developing strategies to launch and market new products. Roles within sales focus on identifying customers (healthcare providers and governments for example) and building relationships with potential clients. Strong communication, relationship buildingskills are valued by employers, with an increasing focus on data analytics too.
  • Policy officer/researcher – roles that focus on health policy and research can be found in universities, think tanks (the Kings Fund and the Health Foundation are examples) within local and national government and also the charity and NGO sectors. Useful information regarding policy and research roles more generally can be found on the relevant LSE Careers employment sector pages for these areas.

How can I get there?

While some larger organisations, such as consultancies, governments, and pharmaceutical companies, offer graduate schemes, many smaller, more specialised organisations will advertise on specific websites or rely on interested applicants making a speculative application. To support your career planning and job search it’s important to build your network and connect with relevant LSE alumni and others in the field. LSE’s Ask An Alum tool can help with this in addition to other networking tools such as LinkedIn.

If you are looking to gain experience

Internships and work experience are valuable ways of developing skills and also an understanding of specific areas within this broad sector. Voluntary work can be useful to gain experience of working with service users within the healthcare sector and also insights into primary care and healthcare delivery.

If you are early in your career

There are structured graduate programmes for the larger consultancies (both specialist firms and those with a health-focused practice area). Large pharmaceutical companies (GSK, Novo Nordisk and Pfizer are examples) may also offer graduate programmes across a range of business areas including management, marketing and finance. Graduate programmes offer structured training and are often 18 months to 2 years in duration. Check individual company websites for details of these programmes and also timelines for application, and selection, and be aware of deadlines.

Smaller companies and organisations will often advertise opportunities year-round in response to changing objectives and business requirements. Keeping track of companies and organisations of interest can form the basis of an effective job search and networking strategy.

If you have more experience

In the health sector, more experienced hiring usually happens through advertised vacancies, specialist recruitment agencies and professional networks. Meeting LSE alumni who have established careers in the field will help answer questions relevant to your individual circumstances. For more experienced candidates, a CV which highlights previous positions and achievements in combination with LSE studies can emphasise the value you can offer.

If you are looking to change career

The move from working within primary health with patients in a clinical role, to another area of the sector will require an evaluation of how skills gained in a previous professional setting can be translated and presented to a future employer. Reflecting on both the skills and knowledge gained during studies at LSE is an important part of this process. Speaking with LSE alumni will also provide sector insights and highlight potential opportunities. This blog post from LSE Careers offers ideas for areas to focus on when considering a career change

Where can I find out more about working in this sector?

Interested in finding out more about a career in ‘health’?

Here are some helpful links, including the ways LSE Careers can work with you on your journey.



Jobs and opportunities


We’re here to talk over your career plans with you. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, so don’t feel you have to have it all worked out. You can book a one-to-one appointment with a careers consultant on CareerHub