Biomedical scientist

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would test blood, tissue and fluid samples from ill people so they can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

You’d use computers and hi-tech equipment to test and analyse biological samples in a laboratory and identify a patient’s disease or condition. Your findings will help doctors and healthcare professionals to decide what medical treatment to give.

Sometimes you’d meet patients, who may be anxious and upset, to discuss their condition and get samples.

You would specialise in one of three areas:

  • Infection sciences
  • Blood sciences
  • Cellular sciences

Depending on your chosen area, you would:

  • Test for diseases such as Legionnaires’ disease and food poisoning
  • Screen and test for infectious diseases such as rubella or hepatitis
  • Analyse blood for disease and monitoring organ function
  • Support the blood transfusion and transplant service through blood grouping and matching
  • Screen for blood abnormalities and diseases - test for anaemia and leukaemia
  • Process and analyse tissue samples from operations and autopsies
  • Use specialist procedures such as cell culture to detect cancer
  • Do routine tests of fluid and tissue samples such as cervical smear tests

You’d update paperwork or computerised systems with the data and test results so that patients’ records are accurate and the doctors can plan their treatment.

You would also do new research, and would often support junior staff and technicians.

Working conditions

Hours

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

Environment

You will mainly work in very clean and sometimes sterile environments. You would be required to wear protective clothing such as a lab coat and safety glasses.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Taking the lead
  • Caring for people
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Accuracy
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Being logical
  • Paying attention to detail
  • Making decisions

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

An honours degree (SCQF Level 10) accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS). Degrees in related science subjects such as biochemistry or immunology are also acceptable, but you must either take additional modules approved by the IBMS or an IBMS accredited postgraduate degree (SCQF Level 11).

Most undergraduate courses ask for at least four Highers at B or above (SCQF Level 6) some universities may require AABB (first sitting) for entry.

Some universities offer an integrated master's degree (SCQF Level 11)  which combines a degree and postgraduate qualification over five years.

Useful subjects

  • Biology (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Chemistry (required by most courses)
  • English
  • Science subjects
  • Technologies subjects

You will also need

To work for the NHS as a Biomedical Scientist you must train for state registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Helpful to have

You may be able to get into biomedical science as a trainee without already having an IBMS accredited degree. Some employers like the NHS may provide training to get you IBMS accreditation while on the job. However, this is much less common and is usually only for people with skills and experience in a similar field and for positions where employers are struggling to recruit.