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Genes are instructions which tell the body how to make all the proteins it needs to survive and grow. Cancer genomics is the study of genes and how alterations in genes can lead to changes in cells which cause cancer.
Training and qualifications required
There are three entry points into genetics (1) with at least two if not three A-levels including science subjects (or equivalent level-3 qualifications) and a good spread of GCSEs at A-C grade to take an accredited BSc degree in healthcare science (genetic science) for the Practitioner Training Programme (PTP); (2) through the NHS Scientist Training Programme for which you’ll need a 1st or 2.1 either in an undergraduate honours degree or an integrated master’s degree in a relevant pure or applied science (e.g. in biomedical science, microbiology, genetics or biochemistry). If you have a relevant 2.2 honours degree, you’ll also be considered if you have a higher degree in a subject relevant to the specialism for which you are applying. Evidence of research experience is desirable; (3) or after gaining postgraduate qualifications or considerable relevant experience as a clinical scientist through Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) or both.
Expected working hours and salary range
Working in healthcare science, specialising in cancer genomics, your salary will typically be between AfC bands 5 and 9, depending on your precise role and level of responsibility. As a healthcare science practitioner, you’d usually start on band 5. Trainee clinical scientists train at band 6 level, and qualified clinical scientists are generally appointed at band 7. With experience and further qualifications, including HSST training, you could apply for posts up to band 9. NHS staff usually work a standard 37.5 hours per week. They may work a shift pattern. Terms and conditions of service can vary for employers outside the NHS.
With further training or experience or both, you may be able to develop your career further and apply for vacancies in areas such as further specialisation, management, research, or teaching.