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).



MSc courses in laboratory medicine

Biochemistry, University of Manchester

The Clinical Science (blood sciences) MSc programme is provided by the University of Manchester as part of the Scientist Training Programme (STP). The course is delivered in a ‘block release’ format, whereby students spend a block of 4-5 full weeks at university each academic year. The course is comprised of traditional lectures, workshops and interactive tutorials.

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.

Immunology, University of Manchester

This is provided by the University of Manchester in a block release fashion. In year one, trainees spend five weeks undertaking core modules in Professional Practice, Analytical Methods and Introduction to Blood Sciences. The aim of year one is to bring all trainees to a base knowledge in topics encompassing all areas of diagnostic and clinical pathology. All lectures will be shared with blood scientists across related specialities such as biochemistry, with the exception of the Professional Practice module, which is undertaken by trainees from diverse specialisms, and which aims to build their clinical skills through participation in interactive communication skill workshops and lectures in medical imaging, public health and medical ethics. The blood science lectures provide an overview of clinical biochemistry, haematology, genetics and immunology. This theoretical clinical knowledge supports the trainees’ clinical rotations they undertake at their base hospital in tear one. 
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.

Microbiology, Queen Mary University of London

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.