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Transitioning from the Military to Medical Field Service Engineering

11th July 2023
Posted by
Albert Baines

In the video, Albert, a specialist recruiter at Zenopa, interview Mark, an ex-forces candidate that we have placed into the Healthcare Field Service industry.

How did you transition from the military into the Healthcare Field Service industry?

Mark has spent over a decade working within the air force as an avionics engineer. He decided to leave the air force to explore new opportunities and settle down in one location.
Moving into the medical industry wasn’t something he initially had in mind. Upon entering his resettlement phase, Mark got his electrical 18th license and a siemens licence for programming software, having planned on going into a warehouse engineering role.
However, about 5 months before his outdate, Zenopa contacted Mark with an opportunity.

Was there much upskilling or training involved in the transition?

In Mark’s experience, moving from military aircraft to medical engineering wasn’t hugely different. “You have to learn the different terminology but actually the premise behind it is very similar.”
In regard to upskilling, Mark has achieved a medical engineering qualification at Eastwood Park. This was a 10-day course to learn about different ISO’s and safety testing standards. He describes this that as “definitely something worth doing” as part of your transition from the military to medical device engineering.
The biggest thing he had to learn was the field service aspect. In the military the days are quite structured and set up for you, whereas field service is much more flexibility to manage your own workload.

How easy is it to make the transition?

The transition is “really easy” to make; a lot of medical engineers come from a military background. It’s certainly a space where employers are looking for attributes that military people have- “that drive to get things done and get things done properly”.
“It’s definitely somewhere that I would recommend military engineers to go into”
Something that Mark really enjoys about medical device engineering (specifically his role in the endoscopy and theatrical space) is that you can leave knowing that your service and rectification helps people going into potentially lifesaving cancer treatment or diagnostic work.

Is there much opportunity for progression?

In regard to promotions, there’s definitely quicker routes within the civilian space compared to the military space. In medical device engineering, you get promoted based on who is the best person for that job rather than wider aspects.
Mark has been promoted form field service engineer to senior engineer, to regional manager, now managing a broad spectrum of places. Going forward, he has applied for a national manager role where he could manage all of the engineers where he works.

Any advice for anyone wanting to make the same transition?

“The networking thing is really important”
Make sure you look into the different courses that are available.
Speak to the people within the military that currently do that role. There are plenty of biomedical engineers that service the medical equipment within the military.
Find people who have left the military on LinkedIn and drop them a message, people are more than happy to help.
Make sure you’re looking for the right recruiters that will actively help you and find the roles you are looking for.

Are you looking for a role in medical field service engineering?

Are you looking for your next field service engineer?
Contact albert@zenopa.com today

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