Last updated August 2017
These Equivalence FAQs for applicants are designed to support the formal Equivalence guidance and documentation. If you have any suggestions for answers to additional FAQs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. What does “equivalence” mean?
Equivalence is when two things are directly comparable although not exactly the same, because they have equal attributes such as value, significance, amount or function. In the context of education/training, qualifications and experience, equivalence is said to exist when the outcomes of two processes are directly comparable even though the paths to achieving them are different. When equivalence is shown to exist between a new qualification and the qualification or experience a person already has, further education or training becomes unnecessary.
For Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC), Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) assessors are reviewing submitted evidence of knowledge, skills and competencies of people’s existing qualifications and experience against the MSC learning outcomes contained in the relevant curriculum. When a person provides evidence that they have the knowledge, skills and competence equating to the relevant MSC programme outcomes, s/he is issued with a Certificate of Equivalence.
The certificate confers eligibility to apply for appropriate registration with either the AHCS or the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), depending on the programme level of the application.
Q. Are there equivalence programmes for every MSC training programme?
Currently, there are three Equivalence programme levels :
- Higher Specialist Scientist, Equivalence (HSSE)
- Scientist Training Programme, Equivalence (STPE)
- Practitioner Training Programme, Equivalence (PTPE)
Other career level equivalence will be developed alongside new MSC registration routes.
Q. How do I undertake the equivalence process?
The complete Equivalence process including assessment is conducted on the Academy’s secure IT system, including email communications about your progress.
Q. What evidence do I need to demonstrate equivalence?
Your evidence will need to show that (a) your training, qualifications and experience are comparable to the specialism curriculum learning outcomes and (b) you adhere to all aspects of Good Scientific Practice.
Q. Are there any language requirements for applications from outside of the United Kingdom?
The equivalence process can also be applied to EU and overseas applicants. Applicants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are required to provide evidence of English language skills.
Applicants from outside the EEA whose first language is not English must provide a language test certificate with a minimum International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7.0 with no element less than 6.5 or a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet Based Test (IBT) Minimum score of 100/120.
Q. How will the Academy assess and decide whether my existing qualification/s and experience are equivalent to the relevant MSC training programme?
Professional assessors determine equivalence for applicants within scientific division and specialism, working in conjunction with lay assessors who act as chair of the assessment panel. The assessment panel makes a professional and informed judgement by evaluating the evidence you provide about the comparability of your own qualifications and experience to the MSC programme learning outcomes.
Q. At the Scientist Training Programme level, what does having a Certificate of Equivalence really mean? And how is it different from a Certificate of Attainment?
The AHCS was granted approval by the Health and Care Professions Council to award the Certificate of Equivalence and the Certificate of Attainment for Clinical Scientists. The Certificate of Equivalence is awarded to an applicant whose evidence has demonstrated that their education and experience have equipped them with the same knowledge and skills as the MSC Scientist Training Programme and that they comply with all aspects of Good Scientific Practice. The Certificate of Attainment is awarded upon successful completion of a MSC Scientist Training Programme. Certificates of Equivalence and Attainment confer eligibility to apply to join the HCPC register of Clinical Scientists.
Q. I am already on a Scientist Training Programme that was not accredited when I started. How will I become registered?
The AHCS and the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) have worked together to provide a process to enable trainees who began a non-accredited Scientist Training Programme to exit with an Academy Certificate that will confer eligibility to apply for HCPC registration. Please discuss this with your education provider and the NSHCS.
Q. I have been awarded Equivalence and would like to register? How can I do this?
For PTPE and HSSE programme levels, you can apply here. For STPE, AHCS will notify HCPC of your award. You can then apply for registration directly through HCPC here. You will then be able to find yourself registered on the HCPC website as a Clinical Scientist. This is a protected title as outlined here. Any deviation from this must be agreed with your Trust.
Q. Does AHCS have an Appeals and Complaints process?
Yes. For further information see the AHCS Appeals and Complaints for equivalence certification policy (POL003) . Appeals must be made in writing within 28 days of the date of your award. Appeals can be made based on procedural matters related to the Equivalence process, not to the outcome of the process.
Appeals against judgements of Assessors or the ratification panel will not be Appeals will be considered by an Appeals Panel and if necessary the Panel may undertake an investigation of the process which was undertaken, including receiving written statements or conducting interviews.
Q. Do I have to attend an interview?
The Academy reserves the right to call an applicant to interview, but only the STPE programme has an interview as an integral part of the process. Interviews may be conducted by video-conference or face-to-face. Any interview will last no longer than 60 minutes.
Q. Where can I find more information?
Look at the general and specific programme guidance on the Equivalence guidance page.
The Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) and the Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS) have produced a summary guide to outline the different options available to individuals wishing to apply to obtain HCPC registration as a Clinical Scientist in the UK.