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Biomedical scientist

Biomedical scientists test samples from patients, to support doctors and healthcare professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £41,250 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37.5 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need:

  • an Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) accredited BSc (Hons) degree
  • at least one year’s experience at an approved laboratory - during this time you’ll work towards completion of the Registration Training Portfolio for the Certificate of Competence awarded by IBMS
  • registration as a biomedical scientist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
You may be able to get into biomedical science as a trainee. You'll usually need at least 2 A levels in science or a related subject. Places are sponsored by employers like the NHS and are advertised as trainee biomedical scientist positions. You'd work and study towards an accredited degree. 

Health Careers has more information about becoming a biomedical scientist.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to concentrate for long periods
  • a good level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • an enquiring mind and good problem-solving skills
  • the ability to lead a research and development team
  • strong spoken and written communication skills
  • empathy and understanding when working directly with patients

3. What you'll do

You’ll usually work in a laboratory, testing and analysing biological samples. 

You’ll specialise in one of these areas:

  • infection sciences
  • blood sciences
  • cellular sciences

Depending on your chosen area, your duties could include:

  • testing for diseases like Legionnaires’ disease and food poisoning
  • screening and testing for infectious diseases like rubella or hepatitis
  • analysing blood for disease and monitoring organ function
  • supporting the blood transfusion and transplant service through blood grouping and matching
  • screening for blood abnormalities and diseases, like anaemia and leukaemia
  • processing and analysing tissue samples from operations and autopsies
  • using specialist procedures like cell culture to detect cancer
  • routine testing of fluid and tissue samples like cervical smear tests
  • updating paperwork or computerised systems with data and test results
You’ll also be involved in carrying out new research, and will support junior staff and technicians.

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 to £28,500 (Band 5)

Experienced: £26,250 to £35,250 (Band 6, specialist)

Highly Experienced: up to £41,250 (Band 7, advanced)

Consultants can earn more.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

In the NHS you’ll usually work 37.5 hours a week. You may also be expected to work evening and weekend shifts or be on-call. 

You’ll mainly work in very clean and sometimes sterile environments. 

You’ll be required to wear protective clothing.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into research, training and education, product development and commerce. 

In the NHS, you could work as a team leader, specialist, manager or professional manager with further training and qualifications.

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Last updated: 21 December 2016