Entry requirements, skills and interests (respiratory physiology and sleep sciences)
You can enter respiratory physiology and sleep sciences with A-levels (or equivalent level-3 qualifications), after a relevant honours degree or with experience as a registered clinical scientist.
Entry points and requirements
There are three entry points into respiratory physiology and sleep sciences:
- with A-levels or equivalent level-3 qualifications
- with a relevant degree
- as an experienced clinical scientist
With A-levels or equivalent level-3 qualifications
You’ll need two or three A2 or A-levels* including science subjects and a good spread of GCSEs at A-C grade to enter as a healthcare science practitioner through the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) by taking an accredited BSc (Hons) degree in healthcare science.
(*alternative or equivalent qualifications may be accepted by some universities, but you’re advised to check with each university (or visit their website) before making an application).
Use our course finder to search for universities running accredited BSc degrees in healthcare science.
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 physiological sciences (which include respiratory physiology and sleep science), the most commonly accepted degrees will be in physiology, pure or applied physics, engineering, biology, human biology or sports science (if there is sufficient scientific content).
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.
You need to be sure that you’ve reviewed the job description and person specification for the training (on the National School of Healthcare Science’s website), and the information on this page. You then need to be sure to match the skills and knowledge required to the content of your degree and the specialism you wish to apply for.
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.
As an experienced clinical scientist
With experience as a registered clinical scientist, you can apply for Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST).
It can be advantageous to have gained some experience of working in a relevant environment – such as customer care, or a role with direct patient contact - 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.
Find out more about the training you’ll receive and registration for a career in respiratory physiology and sleep sciences.
To work in respiratory physiology and sleep 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
- effective communication skills
- a mature, calm, confident but sympathetic approach to achieve the best outcome for each patient as many patients may be anxious about the procedures and will need reassurance from you
- confidence with technology, systems and processes
- the ability 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.