FAQ - Clinical Scientist Training

What is the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP)? 
The Scientist Training Programme (STP) is a three year training programme run by the National School of Healthcare Science on behalf of the NHS.  The course includes various work-based rotations in hospitals and you will also complete a part-time master's degree at one of the universities which are part of the programme.  During the training you will be paid a salary equivalent to Band 6 on the NHS pay scale (approx. £25000 pa).  This is a very competitive programme which is oversubscribed.  Recruitment generally starts in January with a clearly defined deadline.

You can find more detailed FAQ questions about the STP programme in England and Wales here:

How about training in Scotland and Northern Ireland?
In Scotland the STP training does not have a centralised recruitment system like the STP in England and Wales. Clinical Scientists trainees are commissioned by NHS Education Scotland (NES).  It follows a similar three year route with hospital rotations, a part time Master's degree and a salary equivalent to Band 6 of the NHS pay scale (approx. £25000 pa).  Recruitment starts at the beginning of the year and positions are often advertised through https://jobs.scot.nhs.uk/.

You can find more detailed FAQ about the Scottish Training programme here

You can find more details about training in Northern Ireland here

I know I want to do the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP)
You need to ensure you have the right entry requirements and the right language skills (if you apply from outside the UK).  We recommend you prepare well for the application and the interview and where possible try to get some work experience to demonstrate your interest.  There are also a number of open days you can attend, so watch out on our twitter feed as we will always advertise them.

I have not been able to get on the NHS Scientists Training Programme (STP)  but really want to try again, what do I do now?

There are a number of options open to you if you are keen to pursue this career.  Obviously we do not know why you were unsuccessful and we cannot guarantee that any of these options will be successful. 

  1. you could use this year to obtain some work experience in the relevant field of interest which would demonstrate a degree of engagement with the profession.

  2. Gain practical experience with a view of later moving into the role of a scientist by applying for Technologist / Dosimetrist / Practitioner job in the NHS. They are at a lower salary band than clinical scientist but increasingly require a science degree and specific dedicated training programs once you are appointed.   However please note that if your aim is to become a Clinical Scientist then you still need to complete the STP training or gain HCPC Registration through Route 2 (see below)

  3. If you are working in such a role (Technologist or similar) you can apply for the general STP training again or, if your department is prepared to sponsor you, apply for an INTERNAL STP Training place.  These Internal STP places are funded by the hospital and are relatively rare. Departments might consider it when they struggle to attract qualified staff or if their service provision is likely to increase and they are planning ahead to train more staff.  In this case you would do most of your practical work in the hospital you are already working in. 

  4. Do an appropriate master’s qualification on an accredited course but you are likely to need to self-fund this additional degree.  An additional degree will not reduce the time you spend on the STP Training though and will not guarantee you an STP training place.   But it does give you more experience which can either help with your application or can count towards a route 2 approach.

If you do get as far as an interview :  we have asked recent STP Trainees to put their Top Tips for the Interview together


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