Careers & Training  >  FAQs Healthcare Scientist

    Frequently Asked Questions - Healthcare Scientist

    How do I get into Medical Physics or Biomedical Engineering?

    How can I find out about training for this career?

    Is the training the same in each country of the United Kingdom?


    The Scientist Training Programme (STP) for Medical Physicists and Biomedical Engineers in England is supported and facilitated by the National School for Healthcare Scientists.   Once training is successfully completed the Academy for Healthcare Science awards Certificates of Equivalence and Attainment.  Holders of these certificates are then eligible for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and can use the protected title of Clinical Scientist. Entry into training is highly competitive.  It combines three years of on the job training with an accredited MSc. The training process (April 2013) is in a state of transition from the previous IPEM scheme into the Modernising Scientific Careers scheme described in the links above.  Both schemes are designed to enable candidates to register with the Health and Care Professions Council and use the protected title of Clinical Scientist.

    Further information on the above organisations can be found at these links: 


    Supernumerary Clinical Scientist trainees are NHS employed on a postgraduate-level scheme to develop competences necessary to meet the Health and Care Professions Council requirements. Accreditation of these competences is currently via the Association of Clinical Scientists. From September 2012 the Academy for Healthcare Science is also licensed to award completion of training certification. Both bodies have agreed with HCPC a 3-year full-time training period.

    Scottish Trainees have equivalent learning outcomes to ensure UK-compatibility under modernised framework.


    Wales mirrors that of the NHS England.  Swansea University was successful in gaining accreditation for the Medical Physics STP. For more details please check the NHS Wales webpage

    Northern Ireland

    Plans to recruit clinical scientists in Northern Ireland are under review.

    What is included in the training?

    There are Learning Guides and course contents documents on the NHS Networks website.  Click here for details.

    I am studying physics or engineering at University - how can I get into this career?

    Firstly, you need to aim for as high a grade as you can get.  A 2:1 is the minimum accepted.  If you can get any volunteer time or visits to hospital medical physics or engineering departments then that would be very useful in an application.  There will be hospitals locally that may be able to help.  If you phone the Medical Physics or Engineering departments you can find out if anything is planned.  Any contact you can have with patients of any kind would be helpful.  There is a strong emphasis on patient communication as well as physics and engineering in this career.

    Joining IPEM is another good idea.  As a student member you have access to extra news and information that could help an application:

    Another useful thing to try is the STEMNET organisation. This organisation recruits volunteer Ambassadors who go out to schools and other groups to explain Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths information,  Find out if you could help out as an ambassador

    How can I apply for a training post?

    NHS Careers page information about training starting in 2017. The recruitment process for 2016 is now closed

    Examples of Learning Guides for the training courses.

    Training posts for the Healthcare Scientist Training in England, Wales or Northern Ireland will be advertised on the NHS Jobs website and New Scientist online around January each year for starting in the following September:

    I would like to get some work experience in Medical Physics or Clinical Engineering – can IPEM help?

    IPEM doesn’t organise work experience but you can try contacting large medical physics departments to see if there are any opportunities. 

    You could also try becoming a STEMNET Ambassador

    This organisation offers opportunities to volunteer in schools to help with science projects and talks etc.

    I have overseas qualifications. Can I apply for a training or other post?

    If you have any overseas qualifications and would like to apply in the UK please check the UK NARIC website. 

    This organisation will charge a fee and provide you with a certificate which shows the UK equivalent level of your overseas qualifications.  UK employers and universities will need to see this certificate when you apply for a course, job or training post.

    It is up to individual employers to decide whether or not to employ a UK or overseas candidate for a post.  It is, therefore, not possible for IPEM to comment on the validity of qualifications or experience.  Please contact individual employers to find this out.

    You can use this link to check the UK Borders Agency website for information about your eligibility to work in the UK if you are not sure.

    Overseas candidates can apply direct to the HCPC for registration.  Please check their website for details of eligibility and application for the International Route. IPEM is not involved in this process.

    Which other websites would be useful?

    The NHS has some useful information about this career.

    If you have any further queries about training please contact the following:  

    How can I get back into the profession? 

    People leave the profession for a number of reasons and then at a later stage choose to come back. It is a matter of convincing an employer that you are the right candidate for the job they have available. Try the following websites: 

    IPEM Jobs pages

    NHS Scotland Jobs    

    NHS England and Wales Jobs

    When applying for a job it is advisable to make contact with the department to find out what they specifically are about.

    You might also like to become a member of IPEM - You would then have access to further information and contacts.

    Returning to Work

    If you are no longer “active” on a register, such as the HCPC, you would require a period of supervised practice to become re-registered. You could ask a new employer if they would provide this for you.

    If you had accreditation for qualifications such as RPA2000 you would need to investigate reinstating this.

    You can re-apply to the RCT by completing a full new application. 




    This information is correct to the best of our knowledge 11 September 2014.


    © Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine

    Registered in England and Wales (No. 3080332)
    Registered Charity (No.1047999)