Clinical Scientist

Job Description:

Clinical scientists research and develop techniques and equipment to help prevent, diagnose and treat illness.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

There are 4 main areas of clinical science. You could work in clinical bioinformatics, life sciences, physical sciences and biomedical engineering or physiological sciences.

Depending on your area you could:

  • research, develop and test methods of diagnosing and treatment
  • collect and analyse complex data to help develop treatments
  • assess different parts of the body to diagnose abnormalities
  • advise medical staff of how to use products and equipment
  • investigate the causes of illness or death
  • study cells or diagnose and analyse blood disorders


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • maths knowledge
  • science skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • complex problem-solving skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a clinical scientist, specific subjects are not typically required. However, a strong educational background in science and mathematics can be beneficial in preparing you for further education and training in this field. Here are some recommended subjects:

  1. Science: Science subjects like Biology, Chemistry, and Physics can provide a strong foundation in the basic principles of science and laboratory techniques, which are essential for clinical scientists.
  2. Mathematics: Mathematics is important for data analysis, statistical interpretation, and understanding quantitative aspects of scientific research.
  3. English Language: Strong communication skills, including reading and writing, are important for documenting research findings and communicating with colleagues.

Post School

You can get into this job through a university course or an apprenticeship.

You’ll need a first or upper second class honours (2:1) degree in a subject related to the specialist area you want to work in. For example:

  • life sciences like biology, genetics or biochemistry
  • biomedical science
  • medical physics

Scientific Training Programme
Once you have your degree, you could apply for a local Scientific Training Programme (STP). This programme will train you to become a qualified clinical scientist with a master’s degree.

You might be able to start by doing a higher or degree apprenticeship.

You could do a:

  • healthcare science associate higher apprenticeship
  • healthcare practitioner degree apprenticeship
  • clinical science degree apprenticeship

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 38 to 40 hours a week, occasionally including evenings and weekends.

You could work in a public or private hospital, in a laboratory or at a university.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could:

  • go on to study for a PhD
  • apply for a Higher Specialist Scientist Training programme (HSST)
  • become a consultant or move into management
  • become a higher education lecturer