Clinical scientist

Alternative titles for this job include Healthcare scientist

Clinical scientists research and develop techniques and equipment to help prevent, diagnose and treat illness.

Average salary (a year)

£30,401 Starter


£50,819 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on a rota

How to become a clinical scientist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You'll need a first or upper second class honours degree in a subject related to the specialist area you want to work in. For example:

  • life sciences like biology, genetics or biochemistry
  • biomedical science
  • medical physics

Once you have your degree, you can apply for the NHS Scientist Training Programme, which will qualify you to work as a clinical scientist.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including 2 sciences
  • 2 or 3 A levels, including maths and physics

More information


You can get into this job through a healthcare science practitioner degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship

More information


You could apply to join the NHS Practitioner Training Programme without a degree.

You would study for a degree in healthcare science, which includes work-based training. You would usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English, maths and a science subject
  • at least 2 A levels including maths or a science

More information

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a clinical scientist from Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to read English
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your duties will depend on your specific role, but may involve:

  • interpreting test results and suggesting treatments to doctors
  • researching, developing and testing new methods of diagnosis and treatment
  • giving doctors advice on buying and using commercial products and equipment
  • working directly with patients in audiology or cardiac physiology
  • investigating organ abnormalities and finding ways of improving a patient's wellbeing
  • in embryology - researching infertility, including IVF treatment, egg retrieval and assisted reproduction
  • in pathology - investigating the cause and progression of illness, or reason for death
  • in genetics - studying cells to check for inherited diseases
  • in haematology - analysing, diagnosing and monitoring blood-based disorders

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital or in a laboratory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into management or teaching.

You could also go on to study for a PhD or apply for the NHS Higher Specialist Scientific Training Programme (HSST).

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Healthcare Science Practitioner Apprentice - Laboratory

  • Wage : £180.00 Weekly
  • Location: Manchester M9 8GQ

Level 6 Healthcare Science Audiology Degree Apprenticeship

  • Wage : Competitive salary
  • Location: Cheltenham GL53 7AN

Courses In England

Applied Science (Biomedical Science)

  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: PLYMOUTH

Applied Science (Biomedical Science and Forensic and Analytical Science) - Level 3 Triple Diploma (NQF 2016 onwards)

  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: Blackpool

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