Returning to a career in healthcare science

Return to practice for healthcare scientists is a programme for healthcare scientists who have left their profession to re-enter and gain their registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). 

If you already have the skills and experience to make a big difference to patients, clients, carers and their families, the NHS is keen to help you on your return to practice (RtP) journey. 

Updating your skills

If you have had a career break, you may need to undertake a period of updating your skills and knowledge before you can return to work in the healthcare sector (including the NHS, private, voluntary and independent sector) and become re-registered on the HCPC professional register.

The HCPC defines a returnee to practice as an individual who has been out of practice for more than two years. This applies to you if your registration has lapsed, or if you did not go on to register once finishing your qualifications, and therefore have not practised.

The HCPC recommends these minimum requirements to update your skills:

  • 0-2 years out of your profession – no requirements
  • 2-5 years out of your profession – 30 days of updating your skills and knowledge
  • 5 years or over out of your profession – 60 days of updating your skills and knowledge

Register your interest

The first step on your RtP journey is to let us know that you are thinking of returning to practice. They can then keep you up to date with any new courses, funding and support that is available to you.

Complete our online form to register your interest in returning. 

RtP requirements for your profession

Your professional body will be able to let you know the specific RtP requirements for your profession.

Click on the relevant link below to find out more about working in this area of healthcare science today. Your professional body will be able to let you know the specific RtP requirements and courses available for your profession. Find the web page for your profession from the list below, and use the contact details provided in the Further information section to contact your professional body. 

Clinical bioinformatics, life sciences, physical sciences and biomedical engineering, physiological sciences

Supporting your study

A number of local universities and NHS trusts are encouraging returnees to work with them to gain the relevant skills and knowledge to meet the re-registration requirements for the HCPC.

NHS England can provide funding for out-of-pocket expenses and any relevant RtP course or appropriate postgraduate study delivered by English universities running pre-registration programmes in healthcare science.

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