A Healthcare Scientist Practitioner will analyse samples taken from patient's blood, urine or other bodily fluids to help prevent, diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions. They are often based in a hospital laboratory and will interpret the results of samples to advise clinicians and GPs on the best course of treatment for their patient.
There are a number of routes into a career in healthcare science. These include:
- apprenticeships at levels 2 and 4 for healthcare science assistants and associates respectively
- the undergraduate NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) - available as a full-time degree (see below) and increasingly, as an apprenticeship at level 6
- the graduate-entry NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) is for graduates with a relevant degree in science or engineering
- Higher Specialist Scientist Training for registered and experienced clinical scientists
Take a look at our diagram which sets out the different healthcare science career and training pathways.
Find out more about healthcare science apprenticeships on the National School of Healthcare Science website
NHS Practitioner Training Programme
The PTP leads to an approved and accredited degree in in one of five themes of healthcare science:
- cardiovascular, respiratory and sleep sciences (cardiac physiology, respiratory and sleep sciences)
- neurosensory sciences (audiology, neurophysiology, ophthalmic and vision science)
- pathology sciences (blood sciences, infection sciences, cellular sciences, genetics science)
- medical physics (radiotherapy physics, radiation physics, nuclear medicine)
- clinical engineering (medical engineering, radiation engineering, renal technology, rehabilitation engineering)
Applications for first degrees are made through UCAS.
Find out more about the PTP on the National School for Healthcare Science website.
Entry requirements for healthcare science degree courses vary because each university sets its own entry criteria. You are likely to need two or three A-levels (or equivalent level three qualifications) including one or two science subjects or maths, plus supporting GCSEs. Contact universities directly to find out whether qualifications equivalent to A-levels and GCSEs are acceptable. Our course finder lists accredited degrees in healthcare science.
- The ability to plan and do research
- Strong problem-solving abilities
- Attention to detail
- An analytical mind
- Able to lead and motivate others
- A willingness to keep up to date with new medical research
- Excellent communication skills
- Self motivation
£28,050 to £33,000