Biomedical science

Biomedical scientists carry out a range of laboratory and scientific tests to support the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Operating theatres, accident and emergency (A&E) and many other hospital departments would not function without biomedical scientists. For example, in A&E, you would work in the blood sciences department, testing emergency blood transfusions for blood groups and samples from patients who have overdosed or had a heart attack.

Male laboratory worker

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Working life

Biomedical scientists investigate a range of medical conditions, including:

  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • blood disorders (eg anaemia)
  • meningitis
  • hepatitis
  • AIDS

You would also perform a key role in screening for diseases, identifying those caused by bacteria and viruses and monitoring the effects of medication and other treatments. You would learn to work with computers, sophisticated automated equipment, microscopes and other hi-tech laboratory equipment and you would use a wide range of complex modern techniques in your day-to-day work.

The work is highly varied, practical and analytical. You would usually specialise in one of three specific areas:

'What we do is vital for helping pathologists make a better diagnosis and find the right treatment for patients.'

Saghar Missaghian-Cully, senior biomedical scientist in histopathology

Read Saghar's story

You could work for an NHS hospital trust or other NHS organisations. There are also opportunities with NHS Blood and Transplant and Public Health England. You will work as part of a team including other healthcare science staff, doctors and nurses.

Entry requirements

To become a biomedical scientist, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

There are currently three main entry routes into becoming a biomedical scientist:

  • through the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) by taking an accredited integrated BSc degree in Healthcare Science (life sciences). 
  • a biomedical science degree accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • by gaining employment with the NHS as a trainee biomedical scientist.

Each route will need A-levels including at least one science. We recommend you contact universities to discuss exact entry requirements and whether any particular experience is required. 

Other opportunities

You could become a healthcare science assistant or associate who work in many areas of healthcare science and support biomedical scientists. 

Must have skills 

You’ll need:

  • an interest in science and technology 
  • good communication skills 
  • to be comfortable using modern technology and complex equipment
  • a meticulous attention to detail 
  • good interpersonal skills and be able to work as part of a team.

Training and development 

You could become a member of the Institute of Biomedical Science who offer courses and events to support your development. There are also opportunities to specialise in particular areas of biomedical science such blood sciences, cellular sciences, infection sciences and microbiology). You could also teach or train current staff or the next generation of biomedical scientists, manage a biomedical science service or undertake clinical academic research.

Pay and benefits 

You'll typically start at band 5 of the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system but could progress to band 9 with experience. You'll usually work a standard 37.5 hours per week and may work shifts. You’ll also have access to our generous pension scheme and health service discounts, as well as 27 days of annual leave plus bank holidays.

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    Biomedical Science - accredited courses listed by Institute for Biomedical Science

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    • Study mode
      Duration of the course
      Leading to a career in
      Biomedical science
    • Contact details
      020 7713 0214
    • Region
      All UK
      Admissions address
      Biomedical Science Careers
      12 Coldbath Square
      EC1R 5HL

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