Assistant technical officer
Healthcare science assistants support healthcare professionals.
Salary range: £17,652 to £23,671
How to become a healthcare science assistant
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could take a college course, like a Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science to help improve your chances of finding work.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can do an intermediate apprenticeship in healthcare science.
The Academy of Healthcare Science has more information about apprenticeships.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
You may have an advantage if you’ve worked or volunteered in a health or social care role.
You can apply directly for jobs. You’ll usually need:
- good literacy, numeracy and IT skills
- an understanding of medical terminology
- some experience of working in a healthcare or lab setting
Professional and industry bodies
You could join organisations like the Academy for Healthcare Science for professional development and training opportunities.
You can find out more about becoming a healthcare science assistant from:
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to use your initiative
- the ability to work well with others
- analytical thinking skills
- maths knowledge
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be flexible and open to change
- knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties might include:
- labelling, sorting and storing specimens
- helping with tissue and fluid sample analysis
- putting together chemical solutions
- loading and operating machines
- using a computer to input and analyse data
- disposing of hazardous waste
- sterilising equipment
- maintaining stock levels
You could work in an office, in a laboratory or at a GP practice.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could apply for a senior post as a healthcare science associate.
With a degree you could work towards becoming a healthcare scientist or biomedical scientist, or apply for the NHS Practitioner Training Programme.
You could also train to become a cardiological technician, cardiographer, cervical cytology screener or phlebotomist.