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, curricula on the NSHCS Curriculum Library 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.


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 NHS England 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 the HSST.

What experience is a HSST trainee expected to have?

Individuals who enter the 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.

Will I need to contribute to the academic tuition fees?

No, NHS England supports the academic fees for all commissioned HSST posts to access the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Sciences.

Can you apply this year but defer starting to next year?

No. Deferrals can only be considered for statutory reasons such as maternity. As part of the application you are asked to declare that you are available to start in the coming October.

How much study leave will there be?

The HSST is a 5-year funded programme, with 52 days per annum allocated for study leave, with the requirement to attend the relevant University, inline with their teaching/delivery timetable. The expectation is that trainees will be employed normally in a full-time role, as a minimum at Agenda for Change Band 7.


About the selection process

How will the recruitment process work?

If you are applying through the Direct Entry route, as this is competitive you will undertake the full recruitment and selection process including application submitted; shortlisting; interviews and offers.

If you are applying through the In-Service route, you will not have to go through shortlisting. You will however, still need to demonstrate your suitability to the course throughout the recruitment process and, at interview stage to be successfully offered the post.

Applications for both Direct Entry and In Service must be submitted through Oriel, the online application portal.

Who will inform applicants that they have been shortlisted?

The NSHCS will inform direct entry applicants whether they have been shortlisted and will provide the dates of the interviews for the specialty.

In-service applicants will not go through the shortlisting process and will proceed directly to interview for benchmarking and recommendation for appointment.

Applicants must be ready to respond promptly to invitations to interview to confirm their attendance.

If an applicant is not able to attend the interviews on the date they have been allocated, will they be offered an alternative date?

It is unlikely that there will be any flexibility on the dates applicants are invited to attend the interview. The dates of the interviews for each specialty will be made available early on in the process.

Do in-service applicants have to go through the national application process?

Yes. In-service applicants are required to complete the online application form, and demonstrate they have the support of their employer along with the required experience at interview stage to ensure that they have the appropriate skills and experience for the training scheme.

Are the interviews for HSST competitive?

For 2024 entry interviews for Cardiac Science, Clinical Biochemistry, Microbiology and Respiratory and Sleep Science will be competitive and it may be that not all successful applicants are offered a place. This is because demand exceeds the capacity to train.

Last updated on 1st March 2024