Entry requirements, skills and interests (cellular sciences)
You can enter a career in cellular science through an accredited honours degree in cellular science or as a graduate through the NHS Scientist Training Programme.
There are currently two entry points into this area of work:
As a healthcare science practitioner through the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) you'll take an accredited BSc degree in healthcare science (cellular science). You will typically need at least two if not three A2 or A-levels including science subjects and a good spread of GCSEs at A-C grade. Alternative/equivalent qualifications may be accepted by some universities, but you are advised to check with each university (or visit their website) before making an application.
You can apply for a place on the graduate-entry NHS Scientist Training Programme for which you must have a 1st or 2.1 either in an undergraduate honours degree or an integrated master’s degree in a pure or applied science subject relevant to the specialism for which you are applying.
If you have a 2.2 honours degree or better in any subject, you will also be considered if you have a higher degree* that is relevant to the specialism for which you are applying.
(*Higher degree as defined on page 17 of The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies Please note this does not include postgraduate diplomas or postgraduate certificates.)
Because of the extensive variation in degrees available it isn’t possible to provide a definitive list of relevant degrees for entry to the STP. For STP positions in the life sciences (which include cellular sciences), the most commonly accepted degrees will be in biomedical sciences, biology, microbiology, genetics or biochemistry.
For all candidates, evidence of research experience (e.g. in the form of a higher degree or equivalent evidence of scientific and academic capability) is considered desirable.
For full details of entry requirements for the STP, including qualifications, scientific skills, transferable skills and physical requirements, please see the person specification on the National School of Healthcare Science’s website.
It can be advantageous to have gained some experience of working in a relevant environment before applying for a place on a course or job vacancy. You should always check with the course provider or employer to see what sort of experience is preferred or required.
To work in cellular sciences, you’ll need:
- an interest in science and technology, a good academic background and an ability to update and test your knowledge against experience
- good communication skills and be able to liaise with the healthcare team and advise and reassure patients
- to be comfortable using modern technology and complex equipment
- meticulous attention to detail - to produce highly accurate work even when under pressure
- good interpersonal skills as you may have direct contact with patients and you must respect their privacy, be sympathetic and have a friendly and professional attitude towards them
- to be able to work as part of a team.
If you work in a role with responsibility for resources (such as staff, budgets or equipment) you'll need excellent leadership skills and be able to use your initiative within the remit of your job role.
If you're applying for a healthcare science role or training position either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you're applying for a university course funded by the NHS.
The NHS values form a key part of the NHS Constitution.