Careers as a laboratory scientist

Laboratory Science role include Support workers(band 2 and 3), Associate Practitioners (Band 4), Biomedical Scientists (Band 5+), Clinical Scientists (Band 7+), specialised roles such as admin, porters, IT, quality or training, management and Medical Pathologist (clinicians).

See Dominika’s day at work as a Trainee Biomedical Scientist

Hear Dominika talk about her role as a Trainee Biomedical Scientist

Biomedical Scientist training

To work as a Biomedical Scientist you need to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), a regulatory body which regulates many professions including Biomedical and Clinical Scientists. Biomedical Scientist is a protected title and the public can check that a member of staff is on the register.

To register with the HCPC, you need to have the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) Certificate of Competence, for which you must complete an appropriate academic qualification and an in-house training portfolio.

Possible academic pathways include an IBMS accredited degree, an IBMS non-accredited degree plus “top-up” modules, a Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) Healthcare Science degree or a Level 6 Healthcare science apprenticeship degree.

The Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) will assess the content of degrees and accredited them – not all Biomedical Science degrees are accredited, see a list of accredited degree courses and further information.

Without an accredited degree, you will need to contact the IBMS to assess your degree and they will provide details of further academic modules that need to be studied.

A Certificate of Competence is an in-house training portfolio that must be completed in a lab with IBMS training approval. It takes around 12 months to complete and evidence is assessed in-house, with external verification. Once you’ve obtained the Certificate of Competence you can register with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Further training, which allows progression to more senior roles and higher pay bands, includes:

  • Specialist diploma – discipline specific portfolio
  • Higher Specialist Diploma
  • Specialist Certificates in transfusion
  • IBMS Certificate of Expert Practice in quality or training
  • IBMS Advanced qualifications in Cervical and non-gynaecological cytology, Histopathology reporting, and Specimen Dissection
  • MSc degrees.

Clinical Scientist training

The Scientist Training Programme (STP), under the Modernising Scientific Career framework, is run by the National School of Healthcare Science. Training includes undertaking an MSc as well as in-house portfolio. Practical training is undertaken in accredited laboratories, which can involve rotation to other hospitals.

STP training is structured into three elements – work-based assessments and competencies, e-learning assessments and an MSc in Clinical Science. At the end of the STP training, you receive a Certificate of Completion (CCST) and can apply to the Academy of Healthcare Science (AHCS) for a Certificate of Attainment, which is required to register with HCPC as a Clinical Scientist.

For further training, you can undertake the FRCPath examinations, which are required for consultant posts. You can also complete the Higher Scientist Training Programme (HSST), which incorporates the FRCPath. Successful completion of the FRPath exams and the HSST programme will lead to the award of Certificate of Completion HSST (CCHSST) from the National Science of Healthcare Science and FRCPath from the Royal College of Pathologists.

Higher Scientist training programme (HSST)

There are three elements to the HSST:

  • Work-based elements – overseen by the National School of Healthcare Science
  • Academic elements – overseen by Manchester Academy for Healthcare Science Education (MAHSE)
  • FRCPath qualifications – overseen by Royal College of Pathologists.   

HSST students also have the option to complete the Doctor of Clinical Science (DClinSci) programme.

Support workers

Support workers can progress to a Band 4 Associate Practitioner post. They need a level 5 qualification, such as a foundation degree and can complete the IBMS Certificate of Achievement parts 1 and 2 and a Level 4 apprenticeship in Healthcare Science.

More information

Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) – email: mail@ibms.orgsee website, careers page.

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) – email:; see website.

Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) – email:; see website.

The Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine (ACB) – see website.

NHS Careers

NHS Jobs


Government website – apprenticeships

Modernising Scientific Careers Practitioner Training Programme (PTP)

Scientist Training Programme

National School of Healthcare Science –; see website.

The Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) – email:; see website.

Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education (MAHSE) – email:; see website.