Becoming a Clinical Technologist

Technologists work across many different physics and engineering areas

Clinical technologists (also known as Healthcare Science Practitioners) are responsible for maintaining, monitoring and operating sophisticated equipment and instruments used to diagnose illness and to treat patients. They typically work as part of a multidisciplinary team that can include clinical scientists, radiologists and radiographers.  

Duties vary depending on the area of clinical technology a technologist works in. However, typical duties include: 

  • monitoring and testing medical devices and equipment 
  • calibrating devices, taking measurements and readings 
  • ensuring that equipment and devices are safe to use 
  • repairing and maintaining specialist, and often complex, equipment and/or materials 
  • maintaining accurate records of the condition of specialist medical devices and any safety checks, repairing and tests that have taken place 
  • contributing to technical problem solving so that any device/equipment issues can be quickly resolved 
  • in some roles, providing training on the safe use of specialist medical devices to staff and, in some cases, patients and carers 
  • working closely with other professionals (e.g. technologists, radiographers, radiologists, nurses and clinical scientists) 
  • communicating clearly and accurately to ensure that equipment and materials are used safely and processes are understood

In order to train as a clinical technologist, an A level in physics or engineering is required, together with a suitable level 4 qualification. (A level 4 qualification is typically a certificate of higher education (CertHE), higher apprenticeship, higher national certificate (HNC), level 4 award, level 4 certificate, level 4 diploma, level 4 NVQ). 

The majority of technologist jobs require a general degree in physics or engineering.  After completing this you can then apply for a job at a hospital. The majority of hospital based jobs will include further post-graduate training and you can gain more qualifications whilst working in order to register with the Register of Clinical technologists.

There are several routes to training as a Clinical Technologist:

  • The Clinical Technologist Training Scheme, operated by IPEM. 
  • Healthcare science practitioner degree apprenticeship (search for an apprenticeship). 
  • The Practitioner Training Programme (PTP), operated by the National School of Healthcare Science 

Search the list of universities which offer the PTP 

Examples of courses: Diagnostic Radiography - BSc(Hons) - UWE Bristol: Courses; Healthcare Science (Nuclear Medicine), BSc (Hons) - Swansea University

If you do not already have a degree you can begin with an integrated degree apprenticeship.