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The Clinical Scientist Integrated Assessment Unit (IAU) – the single entry route for Clinical Scientist registration from 1 April 2014

Details about the operation of the Clinical Scientist Integrated Assessment Unit – the single entry point for registration from 1 April 2014 onwards

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Making the path to Clinical Scientist registration as straightforward as possible.

The Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS) and the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) have come together to make the process for HCPC Registration as a Clinical Scientist as straightforward as possible by setting up an Integrated Assessment Unit (IAU).

The IAU will simplify the process by providing a single entrance portal for individuals seeking to be registered as Clinical Scientists.  From 1 April 2014, the ACS and AHCS will accept applications through a single entrance procedure. The IAU will simplify the application procedure and provide guidance to individuals on the most appropriate route for them.


Navigating the path to Registration

The HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) recognises three pathways that confer eligibility for registration as a Clinical Scientist. These are:

1. The ACS Certificate of Attainment, obtained either by

–          Route 1 (for applicants who have completed a pre-MSC approved training programme including an MSc) or by

–          Route 2 (for applicants with six years relevant experience, three of which must have been in a clinical scientist role

2. The AHCS Certificate of Attainment, awarded to applicants who have completed an approved course from the Scientist Training Programme of Modernising Scientific Careers. These combine an MSc and approved work-based training.

3. The AHCS Certificate of Equivalence, awarded to applicants who can demonstrate skills and knowledge equivalent to those who have completed an approved STP course.


Working together for consistency and quality

The ACS and AHCS are committed to ensuring that these certificates are maintained at a consistent and common standard, and that applicants receive clear advice as to which route would be most suitable for a particular individual.

The following general principles apply:

  1. Applicants who are currently training on pre-MSC training programmes (e.g. in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, or on approved embryology MSc courses) should proceed via ACS Route 1
  2. There are currently some modalitites for which  the only route through to registration will be via the ACS
  3. Applicants on approved STP courses should proceed via the AHCS certification route. The AHCS Certificate of Attainment is available without further assessment procedures to anyone who started an approved STP course after October 2012. The HCPC requires that students who started on STP prior to that date must apply for the Academy’s Certificate of Equivalence
  4. Applicants who have not completed approved courses of training as a Clinical Scientist may apply either via ACS Route 2 or the AHCS Certificate of Equivalence. Many candidates will be qualified to apply through either route, and both routes require an equivalent standard of training as a clinical scientist. They differ slightly in entry requirements and scope of practise.The ACS Route 2 requires applicants to have six years relevant postgraduate experience, three of which must have been obtained in a clinical scientist role. The AHCS Certificate of Equivalence has no formal requirement for length of experience, but does require applicants to demonstrate achievement of the outcomes listed in the AHCS Good Scientific Practice document, interpreted in the context of a current STP curriculum.Applicants who lack the breadth of experience inherent in the MSC curricula may therefore favour the ACS Route 2, whereas applicants who have the necessary skills and experience as clinical scientists but cannot meet the precise requirements for ACS Route 2 may favour AHCS Equivalence. Specific guidance in individual cases will be provided by the IAU, but it will be for candidates and their supervisors to decide which route they will use.The ACS and AHCS will be working on a detailed plan of how this will be implemented and achieved so that candidates are given full information and advice regarding which route they could take.   Moreover the ACS and AHCS will be working together to ensure consistency between the assessments and the assessors for all routes. Similarly the charges for assessments will be harmonised so that a similar fee structure is in place between the ACS and AHCS
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