Learn about Healthcare Scientists

Healthcare scientists play a big role in patient care and are involved in 80 per cent of all clinical decisions made in the NHS. There are currently over 50,000 healthcare scientists in the NHS and public health services. 

Healthcare science is a broad term encompassing a highly diverse scientific workforce. They can be found in many areas of the NHS alongside doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals and are often developing new clinical and technological advances.

Many healthcare science staff work directly with patients in a range of ways from monitoring breathing or heart rates to treating patients with hearing difficulties. While some staff work exclusively in labs.

What routes are available into healthcare science?

There are many routes into healthcare science to help build your workforce as shown by our your future healthcare scientist infographic.

T Levels

T Levels are two-year technical Level 3 programmes, taught full-time by selected schools and colleges while including an industry placement.

T Level subjects include health, science and healthcare science, presenting an opportunity for employers to attract and develop future staff in healthcare science.  The healthcare science T-level includes topics such as understanding the healthcare science sector, human anatomy and physiology, diseases and disorders, genomics and medical physics, providing person-centred care, infection control and good scientific practices.

Although students complete their industry placement in an employment setting, they are not employees and are not required to be paid. For more information, including guidance, tools and resources visit employer industry placements and our T Levels resources.

Healthcare science apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a great way to attract and develop staff in healthcare science. A healthcare science apprentice could complete any of the following:

  • healthcare assistant (Level 2)
  • laboratory technician (Level 3)
  • healthcare science associate (Level 4)
  • healthcare science practitioner (Degree, Level 6).

These apprenticeships focus on various specialisms, from pharmaceutical and biotechnology to life science, physiological science, biomedical science, or physical science. 

For more information about these apprenticeships and their specialisms, use the Skills for Health pathways tool and the guidance on the National School of Healthcare Science website.

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