Biomedical scientists are professionals working in healthcare who analyse samples from patients to diagnose various diseases and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.
If science is your passion and it has always fascinated you to look down a microscope, a dynamic and an exciting career as a biomedical scientist could be for you.
What do Biomedical Scientists do?
As a biomedical scientist, you may be expected to perform the following tasks as a part of your job:
- Collection and analysis of blood, tissue or fluid sample
- Performing tests and to diagnose diseases
- Screening of blood abnormalities
- Supporting blood transfusion and transplant service through blood grouping and matching
- Data collection and record maintenance
- Preparation of reports
- Conducting research
Depending upon your interest, you may specialize in one of the three areas:
- Infection sciences
- Blood sciences
- Cellular sciences
As per nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk,the pay system in the NHS is called Agenda for Change (AfC). Biomedical scientists start at Band 5 and progress to team leader or specialist roles which are at Band 6.The range of typical salaries at senior level/with experience, e.g. for a team manager or advanced practitioner (Band 7) is higher. Higher salaries may be available after this with further progression.
£21,388 - £27,901
£25,783 - £34,530
Up to £40,558
Education and Training
To be accepted onto a degree course in this profession, it is advisable to study Biology and Chemistry at ‘A’ Level and already have GCSE mathematics or equivalent. Other science graduates with science degrees containing the principle subjects of anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology and medical microbiology may enter the profession, but may be required to undertake additional modules as a part of their studies.
You may choose any of these three paths in order to be trained as a biomedical scientist with the NHS:
- Opt for an accredited integrated B.SC degree in Healthcare Science (life sciences).
- Take an honors degree in biomedical science from an institute accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
- Get into biomedical science as a trainee. You usually need at least two A levels in science or a related subject. Places are sponsored and advertised by employers such as the NHS. During these programs you will both work and study towards an accredited degree.
If you wish to work in the NHS it is vital that your institute is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Graduates can gain employment with the NHS as a trainee biomedical scientist. While in job, you are required to complete a portfolio that will provide evidence of your competence. On completion of your training you are awarded a Certificate of Competence after external verification by the IBMS.
You may refer to Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) for applications to full-time courses in biomedical science and healthcare science (life sciences)
For vacancies in trainee biomedical posts, refer to NHS Jobs .
Once you are registered and working as a biomedical scientist, you may consider specializing in an area. This can be done through advance IBMS accredited courses and qualifications. The courses include:
- Specialist, Higher Specialist, and Advanced Specialist Diplomas
- M.Sc. degree courses
- Professional doctorates
To become a biomedical scientist, you need:
- Deep interest in science and medicine
- An interest in medicine and the development of new treatments
- Strong concentration power
- Be able to pay attention to detail and maintain high standards of accuracy
- High ethical standards
- Decision making skills
- Inquisitive mind
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to lead a research and development team
- Excellent spoken and written communication skills
- Good interpersonal skills
- Ability to handle pressure
- Laboratory skills and manual dexterity
- Good computing skills and IT knowledge
Once qualified, you may work in any of the following:
- Laboratories for the NHS and private sector
- Health Protection Agency (HPA)
- Forensic science
- National Blood Authority
- Medical Research Council
You may also be employed in other roles such as the veterinary service, the Health and Safety Executive, university laboratories, pharmaceutical and product manufacturers, Her Majesty’s Forces and various government departments.
You may also consider undertaking international healthcare projects in hospitals, schools and universities. There are also numerous opportunities to work with various international organizations such as the World Health Organization or the Voluntary Service Overseas.
Since this is a continually changing and dynamic profession you are offered exciting career opportunities with excellent promotion prospects such as specialist laboratory work, expert and consultant roles, research positions, education and management. You may also apply for research through the NHS Scientist Training Program (STP).
While this profession, which seems to be highly lucrative, demands a lot of hard work. You should only consider becoming a Biomedical Scientist if you have strong determination and enjoy a lot of practical and analytical work.