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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)

£32,305 Starter


£93,734 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a clinical scientist

You can get into this job through:

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


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 (STP), which will qualify you to work as a clinical scientist.

You may be able to apply for the STP with a lower second class degree if you also have a postgraduate qualification relevant to the specialist area you want to work in.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You may be able to start by doing a higher or degree apprenticeship. The following apprenticeships are available for this role:

  • healthcare science associate higher apprenticeship
  • healthcare practitioner degree apprenticeship
  • clinical science degree apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information


You could apply to join the NHS Practitioner Training Programme.

You would study for a degree in healthcare science, which includes 50 weeks of work-based training. To apply, you'll 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, or equivalent qualifications

Direct Application

You can apply for the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP), if you're already working in the health service and have a recognised scientific background.

More Information


Further information

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

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

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
  • science skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could work in 1 of 4 main clinical science areas:

  • clinical bioinformatics
  • life sciences
  • physical science and bioengineering
  • physiological sciences

Depending on your area, you could:

  • research, develop and test new methods of diagnosis and treatment
  • advise medical staff on using commercial products and equipment
  • work directly with patients in audiology or cardiac physiology
  • investigate organ abnormalities and find ways of improving a patient's wellbeing
  • research infertility, including IVF treatment and assisted reproduction - embryology
  • investigate the causes of illness or death - pathology
  • study cells to check for inherited diseases - genetics
  • analyse, diagnose and monitor blood-based disorders - haematology
  • collect and analyse complex data to help develop treatments - bioinformatics

Working environment

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

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

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

As an experienced clinical scientist, you could become a consultant, move into management or take up university teaching.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a clinical scientist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science (Biomedical Science)

  • Start date: 05 September 2023
  • Location: Loughborough

Level 3 BTEC National in Applied Science - Biomedical

  • Start date: 12 September 2023
  • Location: Kingston on Thames

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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