Clinical scientists research and develop techniques and equipment to help prevent, diagnose and treat illness.
Salary range: £30,401 to £50,819
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.
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
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can get into this job through a healthcare science practitioner degree apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
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
You can find out more about how to become a clinical scientist from Health Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
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
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).