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Which Route to Clinical Scientist HCPC Registration is best for me?

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A summary guide prepared by the Association of Clinical Scientists and the Academy for Healthcare Science.

In order to work in the UK under the protected title ‘Clinical Scientist’ one must first gain registration as such with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). Until that point one may work in clinical science in the UK but as a pre-registrant/trainee.

There are different options available to individuals wishing to apply to obtain HCPC registration as a Clinical Scientist in the UK.

HCPC International route

This route is for those already considered fully trained, qualified and working overseas, but wishing to obtain HCPC registration in the UK as a Clinical Scientist. These individuals should obtain information directly from the HCPC.

Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) Certificate of Attainment / Certificate of Equivalence

Certificate of Attainment

This route is for those who have successfully completed a formal Modernising Scientific Careers Scientist Training Programme (STP).

Certificate of Equivalence

For those who have undertaken training, hold qualifications and/or professional experience equivalent to those trained through the relevant STP programme. The AHCS do not prescribe a specific length of training to confer equivalence, although applicants should note that graduates from the STP programme will complete three years of Masters level (EQF level 7) education including a minimum of 90 weeks integrated workplace training, and it is unlikely that periods of experience substantially less than this will be deemed adequate. Applicants are assessed against Good Scientific Practice in relation to the appropriate STP learning outcomes that can be found in the STP Curricula and Learning Guides on the NHS Networks website here. Applications for the Certificate of Equivalence (STP) are considered in three stages, the preliminary (screening) application, preparing the portfolio and the assessment stage. In the preliminary stage, the applicant’s basic qualifications and experience are reviewed, this is an administrative check and the applicant should ensure that they have the appropriate background to apply. Once applicants have been approved for portfolio submission, a portfolio must be submitted within six months of the approval date, except in exceptional circumstances. For more detail on these options please seek information directly from the AHCS.

Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS) Certificate of Attainment

ACS Route ONE

For those who have successfully completed an ACS constituent member professional body approved formal pre-registrant clinical scientist training role (formally ‘Grade A’) and have other relevant experience working as a pre-registered clinical scientist supervised by a GMC or HCPC registered clinical scientist (or a supervisor approved by the ACS Board on request). This experience comprise at least three years of relevant full time work in total.

ACS Route TWO

For those who may not have completed the formal training associated with Route ONE, but have extensive experience, totalling at least six years, in the relevant field, of which at least three years must be in the role of a supervised pre-registrant clinical scientist (with the above conditions of supervision). The remaining experience may be taken from time working towards completing a relevant PhD, or work as a Biomedical Scientist with appropriate experience.

Notes

For both ACS Routes individuals will be required to produce a portfolio of evidence of their experience. This total experience must then be confirmed by interview, in which an assessment of their portfolio of evidence of training and experience will also be required to confirm attainment of approved competences (both Generic and Modality/Sub-Modality specific competencies).

It may be noted that for either of the ACS Routes we can accept experience gained from overseas towards an application.

Please see the ACS Guidelines for application on the ACS website for more information, in particular pages 4 & 5 for the formal definitions and subsequent explanations of each route of application.

For more information specific to your modality, including advice on training and qualified Clinical Scientist opportunities in the UK, you may wish to contact the relevant ACS constituent member professional body to your field for advice. If the relevant professional body is unable to advise please direct any specific queries you might have to the administrative office who will forward to the relevant professional body’s representative on the ACS Board who may be able to respond with some advice in due course.