An overview of the STP recruitment process

At the National School of Healthcare Science, we manage recruitment to the Scientist Training Programme (STP) in England. Health authorities in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland manage their own recruitment to the programme.


The STP is a three-year integrated training programme of academic and work-based learning. This leads to a master’s degree in a healthcare science specialty, an advanced level of practical skills, and the right to apply for statutory registration as a clinical scientist. Further details about the programme and range of specialties are available in the STP applicants section of the School website.

Direct entry trainees are employed on a three-year, full time, fixed term training contract, at NHS Agenda for Change Band 6. Web search ‘NHS Agenda for Change Pay Bands’ for the up to date pay rates.

Open days

Open days organised by employers are advertised in the events section of our website.  If an employer wishes to advertise their open day, please email details to including dates, times, contact details and any other relevant information.


Roles and responsibilities in the recruitment process

Local Health Education England (HEE) commissioners liaise with the employers in their area to scope demand.  Employers who wish to provide a training post submit their expression of interest to the commissioners.

Employers who submit an expression of interest must:

  • Nominate one or more member(s) of staff (per post) to take part in both the shortlisting and interview recruitment processes. This does not have to include the head of department – we would particularly encourage you to put forward clinical scientists and Higher Specialist Scientist Training trainees to participate in recruitment
  • Notify us of any changes in contact details.
  • Ensure their HR department is engaged from the beginning of the process, and aware of the national process. Please forward a link to this guidance to your HR departments for information.

National selection process

The STP is recruited through a national selection process using longlisting, shortlisting and interviews. Recruitment takes place annually and opens for applications around January for trainees to start in September the same year. Once confirmed, the recruitment timeline and deadline dates are made available on the School website. They are frequently subject to change, so must be checked regularly. Posts are usually advertised on Oriel and the School website.

The allocation process (the process of allocating individual applicants to prospective employers) is managed nationally and is informed by the preferences applicants express as part of their application. Once final allocation of successful candidates is confirmed, trainee details are passed to the employers to complete their employment processes and issue the trainee(s) with a contract of employment.

The STP training posts are advertised once all the commissioned training places for the year have been received and confirmed by Health Education England local commissioners.

The application consists of:

  • an online application form in which applicants provide information about meeting the person specification for the programme, including qualifications, experience and motivation
  • an online situational judgement test (SJT) which evaluates core attributes needed for the programme

The person specification, entry requirements and eligibility criteria are available in the publications section of the School website. Applicants are advised to read these to ensure eligibility before applying.

We communicate all information about the recruitment process through our website, and we communicate directly with our stakeholders involved.


How we process applications

Longlisted successful applications are reviewed by shortlisters against the requirements of the person specification.  Successfully shortlisted applications are ranked using an algorithm within the Oriel system, which takes account of their scores and the applicant’s selected preference for location.  The shortlist rank is used to allocate applicants to interviews and interview reserves. The employer then conducts an interview to confirm or otherwise the appointment of the applicant they have been allocated.

Support is provided for applicants throughout the process via our email inbox

Last updated on 23rd March 2022