Clinical Scientist is a protected role which is achieved through registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) upon meeting their requirements. In order to reach registration, there are a few options for trainees. The IPEM Part I Training Scheme is no longer open to new applicants and, with the introduction of Modernising Scientific Careers, has been superseded by the Scientist Training Programme (STP). The STP is a three-year training programme run by the National School of Healthcare Science on behalf of the NHS. The course includes various work-based rotations in hospitals, and you will also complete a part-time master's degree at one of the universities which are part of the programme. This is a very competitive programme which is oversubscribed. Recruitment generally starts in January with a clearly defined deadline. For more information and FAQ's regarding STP, see here.
There are also plans in motion to create apprenticeships where a trainee works towards their MSc and completes their training in the workplace and be assessed at the end by the end point assessor. More information is available here.
An increasingly popular route to registration is ‘Route 2’, which has been in operation for many years. The basic requirement is a first- or second-class appropriate Science Honours degree, and employment in an appropriate training environment (medical physics or clinical engineering department). Then a trainee needs to build up a portfolio of experience through a combination of postgraduate learning (MSc or PhD) and work, although most Route 2 trainees already have their MSc before beginning their training. This experience needs to be sufficient to demonstrate that they meet all the competencies as defined by the Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS). Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering has five sub-modalities – Radiotherapy, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology & Radiation Protection, Non-ionising Radiation Techniques and Clinical Engineering, Physiological Measurement & Computing. It is unlikely that this can be achieved in less than 4 years of postgraduate experience but there will be wide variation in individual circumstances. It is essential that supervised clinical science practice is included in a hospital environment so the traineemust be employed in a suitable role to get this experience. For more information and FAQ's regarding Route 2, see here.
IPEM offer their Part II Training Scheme to their members as invaluable support for those going through Route 2.
The IPEM Part II Training Scheme continues and applications are still invited.
Prospective registrants should note that the administration of registration is not undertaken by IPEM's office, rather, it is the responsibility of the Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS) acting as agent for the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). ACS' administrative office is located with the Association of Clinical Biochemists. IPEM's staff will be happy to deal with any general enquiries but are not able to deal with specific ones.
For more information regarding the ACS, please visit their website here.
For more information regarding the HCPC, please visit their website here.
IPEM offer their Part II Training Scheme to support trainees in their professional development with the aim to reach the protected title of Clinical Scientist through Route 2. Route 2 remains open for those who have not followed a formal training programme but who, through a combination of postgraduate learning and work, have built up a portfolio of experience that enables them to demonstrate all competencies as defined by the ACS. It is unlikely that this can be achieved in less than 4 years of postgraduate experience but there will be wide variation in individual circumstances. It is essential that an applicant's experience includes sufficient clinical exposure in a working environment. The total experience is demonstrated by interview and assessment of a portfolio of evidence of training and experience to confirm attainment of the approved competences. For each Part II trainee IPEM appoints an External (Training) Advisor (EA) who is individually selected based on their expertise in the trainee's field of specialization and works in another department than the trainee. The EA approves the training plan when satisfactory or suggests improvements where necessary. A successful interview and assessment results in the award of the ACS Certificate of Attainment which the candidate can then present to the HCPC in order to gain registration. IPEM’s Part II Training Scheme leads trainees to the protected title of 'Clinical Scientist' by preparing the them for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. It is offered to associate members as one of our member benefits, alongside discounted IPEM conference fees.
IPEM is committed to supporting Route 2 trainees to ACS assessment by offering the Part II Training Scheme. You can download our flyer here.
We asked our current trainees and clinical scientists that have been through the scheme the following questions:
Why did you choose to join the Part ll Training Scheme?
“As there was no experience in my department in the route 2 registration I joined the Part II training scheme so that I could have some help by an external advisor, regarding how the portfolio should include and the level of experience it was required from me.”
“I chose to join as I wanted more structure to the Route 2 approach –as a routine trainee it can sometimes feel like your pathway toward accreditation isn’t completely clear. Though in practice my group and supervisor provided the structure I needed.”
“I had considered applying to the STP in my final year of university, but the year I graduated, there were no places in my home county and I wasn’t in a position to move away. I began a PhD (not in medical physics, unfortunately) but after 18 months, I realised it wasn’t for me and looked for physics vacancies locally. I got a job as a technician in a Diagnostic Radiology/Radiation Protection department and had been there almost 18 months when a progression opportunity arose. The department offered to put me through Route II, and I accepted, as I knew by then that I wanted to be a Clinical Scientist.”
How has having an External Advisor affected your experience?
“Having an External Advisor was helpful as they could give me feedback on tasks that I had done so far, how I presented them in the portfolio, what was important to write, also suggested more things that could offer me useful experience and what to expect from the interview after submission. This way I had a bit more confidence that what I had been doing so far was enough and usable for my professional registration.”
“My external supervisor was ultimately not really needed – I felt like I had all the supervision I needed internally! It was reassuring to have an external supervisor however and if I hadn’t felt that my training was adequate, they would have been a good contact to have.”
"Having an external advisor hasn’t currently affected my experience, as we’ve only had a brief introductory email conversation, but it did help me to feel able to approach her about a work-related matter as I’d already made a connection with her."
Would you recommend the Part ll Training Scheme to other trainees?
“It is something I would recommend, yes.”
“I certainly think the Part II training is a useful step in formalising your training pathway and getting some structure and oversight that is otherwise lacking in the route 2 approach. I would recommend it.”
“Yes, I would recommend it to other trainees. I feel that the training really equips you with the skills and knowledge to become a Clinical Scientist, as you’re doing the job every day in the specialism of your choice, rather than having to work in areas you have no interest in and completing (seemingly endless) competencies that may not have relevance to your future career.”
If you are working in a relevant post and would like to apply to join the Part II Training Scheme to achieve ACS assessment please complete the application form here. We will find an External Advisor to help mentor you through your training. You can decide how much of their help you would like.
Your application should include a CV, job description and a training plan showing how you will achieve the ACS competences. For more information regarding competences please visit the ACS website here. The ACS website also has a very useful page of frequently asked questions here.
There is no charge for enrolment on IPEM's Part II Training Scheme but trainees must be Associate members of IPEM. For more information on how to apply please click here.
If you have any queries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine
Registered in England and Wales (No. 3080332)
Registered Charity (No.1047999)