Becoming an Assessor

Healthcare scientists make a very important contribution to high quality, safe and effective patient care through technological advances, innovation and improved interaction and communication with clinical teams and patients – whether they have qualified before MSC or after.

Equivalence is an agreed method of assessing whether prior-qualified Healthcare Scientists can be granted equivalence with current MSC training, experience, skills and knowledge to achieve registration – with the HCPC or with the AHCS.

Independent professional and lay assessors review equivalence applications and determine whether applicants can be awarded a Certificate of Equivalence.

This section of the Assessors Area is designed for those who wish to find out more information about becoming an assessor with the Academy.


What are the criteria for applying to be an assessor?

Professional equivalence assessors will have been endorsed by the relevant AHCS professional group lead, have received appropriate training, be engaged in the AHCS ongoing assessor development programme.

Professional assessors are normally:

  • on the HCPC clinical scientist register. Occasionally, specialist academics are invited to become assessors;
  • working within an appropriate specialism;
  • in good standing with their regulator and professional body;
  • currently working at an appropriate level to make a professional judgement about evidence provided within an application one of our programmes.

Lay assessors are often people who have an interest in ensuring patient and public safety within Healthcare Science. They have good general skills to help them work online, lead an assessment panel, summarise evidence and write feedback for applicants.

Current assessors with the Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS), HCPC and who undertake training assessments within education providers are eligible and are welcome to become assessors with the AHCS.


What are the benefits for me of becoming an assessor?

The AHCS is very grateful for the support of its assessors and our aim is for both parties to gain from the relationship. Benefits for assessors include:

  • training including regular refreshers;
  • the opportunity to build your own CPD;
  • gaining experience as an assessor;
  • benefiting the Healthcare Science community;
  • contributing to high quality patient care and safety;
  • all reasonable expenses are reimbursed;
  • lay assessors receive a daily fee.

What are the differences in the roles of professional and lay assessor?

Applications are assigned one or two professional assessors (one within specialty) and a lay assessor. Professional assessors are expert either within the specialism of the application or working within wider scientific division.

The role of the professional assessor is to:

  • utilise their expert professional, clinical and scientific knowledge and understanding of the applicant’s area of practise, SoPs and relevant curriculum to determine whether an Equivalence award should be made;
  • they write a summary of evidence and constructive feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence submitted.

The role of the lay chairperson is to lead the assessment of an application, ensuring equality and fairness and representing the views of patients and the public within the equivalence process. The lay chairperson is asked to:

  • chair the assessment panel;
  • lead the interview process within the STPE programme;
  • draw together the comments from the professional assessors and their own findings to provide final feedback for the applicant;
  • notify the assessors and liaise with the AHCS Development Co-ordinator (as appropriate) if there are delays to the assessment timetable or issues of process within the panel.

How many Equivalence assessment programmes are there?

You can undertake assessment for more than one programme – it depends entirely on your experience and the amount of time you are willing to spend on assessment. Currently, we have three Equivalence assessment programmes:

  • HSSE (Higher Specialist Scientist Equivalence);
  • STPE (Scientist Training Programme Equivalence);
  • PTPE (Practitioner Training Programme Equivalence).

In addition, we liaise with assessors for the four specialities for the Certificate of Competence.  Please see here for more details.


How are assessments undertaken?

Apart from STPE, all assessments are undertaken online normally.  For STPE, an interview is required as part of the assessment process.  Note that we are currently moving from automatic face-to-face interviews to mainly video-interviewing.


Where can I find further information?

You may find it helpful to glance through our Assessor’s Guidance for HSSE as this is the most recently reviewed guidance. If you decide to go further, you will be asked to:

  • Submit a short copy of your CV.
  • Sign a copy of our Code of Conduct form.
  • Confirm that you are happy that we contact your professional body and/or our relevant Professional Group Lead to endorse your appointment as assessor.

Thank you for considering becoming an assessor with the Academy.  If you would like to progress further, please contact beth.dodson@ahcs.ac.uk.