Careers, Education and Training
Clinical Scientist is the generic term for healthcare workers involved in Clinical Biochemistry, Clinical Immunology and Clinical Microbiology as well as other Life Sciences and those in the Physiological Sciences (Audiology and Clinical Physiology) and the Physical Sciences (Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering). They have a similar set of requirements to enter the careers since they all become registered as "fit to work" through the Health & Care Professions Council UK (HCPC). The HCPC provides security of patient safety in a similar manner as the General Medical Council (GMC) does for the medical profession.
The ACB Education, Training & Workforce Committee, together with the Regional Tutors and Trainees Committee, can often provide information and advice for those wishing to pursue a career in healthcare science.
If you would like to read some real life career stories of key healthcare scientists, please browse the NHS publication Extraordinary You.
In 2011, under the Modernising Scientific Careers initiative, the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) was established to support the implementation and delivery of the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).
- The National School of Healthcare Science - coordinates the recruitment of clinical scientists in England and Wales and collates applications.
- Pre-registration training posts for clinical scientists in Scotland are advertised in New Scientist early each year (Jan/Feb) with more information obtainable from the NHS Education for Scotland.
- Also take a look at the section on the NHS Careers Website for other information on Clinical Biochemists, Clinical Immunologists and Clinical Microbiologists.
- The Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) - for information and advice pursuing training as a Biomedical Scientist.
- The training of Medical Graduates wishing to specialise in clinical biochemistry, immunology and microbiology is coordinated through the Royal College of Pathologists with some information on the appropriate pages on this website.
In the first year, 5 weeks are spent undertaking modules in laboratory techniques and general healthcare science, alongside an overview of general biochemistry, haematology, genetics and immunology. Assessment in first year takes the format of both assignments and exams.
The second year modules are delivered in a 5 week block and cover the specialist biochemistry areas of endocrinology and major organ systems and cancer, alongside a module introducing research methods. A practical project is then undertaken in an NHS Trust during the second and third years of study and submitted towards the completion of the MSc. The third year modules are delivered over a 4 week block, and include paediatric and neonatal biochemistry, drug investigation (toxicology) and nutrition. Performance during the second and third years is assessed by examination and project dissertation only.
The second and third year modules provide specialist teaching modules in Immunology. Modules include Autoimmunity, Allergy, Immunology and Infection, Haematological Malignancies and Transplantation. These sessions underpin and deliver specialist clinical knowledge, which complements the trainees’ work-based experience. Trainees undertake an MSc research project during the second and third year. This will be overseen by an academic from University of Manchester but will be conducted at the trainee’s base hospital.
An MSc course is available at Queen Mary, University of London. Students are delivered lectures and practical material one day per week. First year modules include research skills, an introduction to microbiology, molecular biology and pathogenesis.Second year modules are delivered on day release and include clinical microbiology and infection, antimicrobial therapy, epidemiology and public health. A research project is undertaken in the third year after the taught components have been completed.
Visit our knowledge hub to find resources to support the training of Clinical Scientists and Medical trainees in Clinical Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology.
It provides information from the ACB Trainees' Committee, links to ACB documents and events that will help your training and career development.