FAQs about applying to the HSST

Answers to some of the frequently asked questions when applying to the HSST.

Is the training programme right for me?

You should refer to the general careers information available on the Health Careers website, details of the curricula available on NHS Networks, and the Scaling for Heights document to evaluate whether you think the training programme is right for you. You are also advised to seek advice from clinical and academic mentors if at all possible.


What experience is a HSST trainee expected to have?

Individuals who enter HSST programme must be registered Clinical Scientists at the start of the HSST programme (or meet the requirements for a BMS entrant). Individuals may submit an application for the HSST programme whilst in the process of applying for equivalence to the AHCS or for registration with the HCPC. This must be in place for commencement on the HSST.

How many HSST posts can I apply for?

If you are applying through direct entry you can only apply to one specialty, which you will need to indicate on the application form. If you are an in service applicant you can only apply for the nominated post from your employer.

Am I guaranteed a job at the end of the training?

If you have accessed the HSST programme through the direct entry route, you will be offered a time limited 5-year training and employment contract with the trust. There is no guarantee of subsequent employment by that employer on completion of the HSST programme.

For in-service trainees, assuming your employer agrees, it is anticipated that your ongoing employment with that employer will continue.

In both cases, satisfactory completion of the programme will make you eligible to enrol on the Higher Specialist Scientist Register (HSSR) and that in turn will make you eligible to apply for available consultant clinical scientist posts, but there is no guarantee that such a post will be available or that you will necessarily be appointed to such a post.

How will I know if my training centre is eligible to have a HSST trainee?

Trainees can only be appointed to centres that meet the NSHCS standards for accreditation established for HSST training. Partnerships and consortia arrangements may be necessary in the case of smaller centres and the NSHCS will be able to advise on individual cases. If an employer wishes to support HSST for one of their clinical scientists, they must have achieved or be part of an accredited programme in order to do so.

What is the difference between direct entry posts and in-service posts?

Direct entry are new posts created specifically for the purpose of training and open to competition by application. Applicants follow the whole programme full-time (except for any exemptions) during which they hold a fixed-term five year training contract of employment with the host organisation.

In-service are existing clinical scientist posts that are used by employers to support nominated individuals for HSST (as long as they reach the entry standard for HSST). They must hold a substantive contract of employment in the NHS specialism for which they are applying.

How does the recruitment process differ between direct entry and in-service applicants?

For direct entry applicants the interview stage is competitive however, for in-service applicants the interview stage is for benchmarking and appointment.

Do I have to apply for the in-service posts via the online application portal Oriel?

Yes, you are still required to complete the application and demonstrate that you have the support of your employer, and the skills and experience required.

How much will I be paid during the training?

Employers will set the salary for both the direct entry and in-service posts that they are providing.

Employers will also attract a training allocation of £13,260 per year for each Clinical Scientist in a Health Education England (HEE) Local Team commissioned HSST post. This funding will be used by employers to cover the costs of the doctoral training programme and other training costs.

Where will I be trained?

For direct entry, training posts are limited to specific training departments which will be accredited through the NSHCS. You should also note that in accepting an offer of training you would be committing to being based with that employer for the full five years, unless secondment arrangements are required in order to deliver all of the training required by the curriculum.

Who will provide the doctoral programme?

The Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education (MAHSE) consortium have been awarded the contract to deliver the doctoral level academic programme for HSST having been selected through a rigorous tendering and assessment process led by Health Education England (HEE).

Will I need to contribute to the academic tuition fees?

No, Health Education England (HEE) supports the academic fees for all HEE commissioned HSST posts to access the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Sciences.

Last updated on 11th April 2023