Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme - 2017 recruitment

If you are a registered and experienced clinical scientist, you could train to become a consultant healthcare scientist. Recruitment opens for the 2017 programme on Monday 20 March 2017.

Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) is a quality assured five-year work-based and doctoral-level programme for clinical scientists. HSST ensures a future workforce supply of very senior clinical scientists who are eligible to apply for available consultant clinical scientist posts in specialist areas. 

Staff looking at a screen

How does it work?

The programme runs on a work-based education and training programme curricula in a number of specialisms including:

Getting in

HSST posts can be 'direct entry' (by competitive appointment into a newly established HSST post) or 'in-service' (reserved appointment in which the identified applicant is already in employment and is supported by their employers throughout the training).

Direct entry - apply for a newly advertised post in an accredited training department. To qualify for direct entry you will not be currently employed by the NHS (if you are employed by the NHS you must resign from your position if you receive an unconditional offer). You will follow the whole programme full time through to award (except for any exemptions details of which are available in the FAQs on the National School of Healthcare Science’s website), whilst occupying a fixed-term five year training contract with a host organisation.

In-service - you are nominated by your current employer to move into an existing post. To qualify for in service entry you will already be employed as a clinical scientist and have your employers support to undertake the HSST programme. Your employer will stay the same throughout the programme which you will complete full time through to award, except for any exemptions. See the FAQs on the National School of Healthcare Science’s (NSHCS) website for details.


To be eligible for HSST, you will need at least one further year in the workplace to consolidate and enhance clinical scientific skills, learning and experience (including research and education) and the ability to demonstrate meeting any additional specific selection criteria required for a particular specialism at interview. You will also need registration (or eligibility and application underway) with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a clinical scientist.

For full details, visit the NSHCS website.

Healthcare science specialisms available through HSST

For 2017 entry, posts are likely** to be available in the following specialisms:

Clinical bioinformatics

Life sciences (completion of the HSST will also include the fellowship examination from the Royal College of Pathologists)

Physical sciences

Physiological sciences

**Please check the National School of Healthcare Science website for the latest list of specialisms in the 2017 HSST intake.


All applicants should view the information available on the NSHCS website before submitting an application. This will advise applicants on the HSST specialisms and training available for direct entrant applicants. 

Direct entry applicants and in-service applicants click on Applying to the programme from the NSHCS website to access the online application portal. 


Direct entry applicants can apply from 1pm on Monday 20 March 2017. You must submit your completed application form by no later than 5pm on Monday 17 April 2017. However, it is recommended that you complete your application form as early as possible. 

In-service applicants can apply from 1pm on Monday 20 March 2017 until 5pm on Friday 5 May 2017.

No late applications will be accepted so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to make an informed application.


There is considerable competition for places.

All the information you need

For information about the HSST recruitment process and to apply, visit the NSHCS website where you will find a wealth of information including:

Good luck with your application!


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