Clinical scientists working in genomics examine samples of patients' DNA to identify genetic and genomic abnormalities, which may cause inherited or acquired (non-inherited) diseases respectively

As a clinical scientist working in genomics, you'll select the most appropriate scientific tests to be carried out on patient samples in order to help clinicians decide how to manage a patient and their family.

You'll work closely with a range of healthcare professionals including genetic technologists, who process the samples to extract the DNA and then carry out the tests and generate the results. You may also work with clinical bioinformaticians who organise and present the data from the tests into a manageable format.

Once you've received the results of the tests, you'll analyse and interpret them in order to identify alterations in genes and to help predict whether other family members or future generations are at risk from the abnormality.

The results of your analyses are reported back to clinicians so they can diagnose patients, develop appropriate treatment programmes and gain a better understanding of the prognosis.


As a clinical scientist working in genomics, you'll need to:

  • request routine and non-routine highly specialised tests on blood and tissue samples that are carried out by genetic technologists
  • use your scientific, technical and clinical knowledge to analyse and interpret the results of the tests
  • write interpretive reports for clinicians (including family doctors, consultant neurologists and paediatricians) and other healthcare professionals who have requested tests
  • develop new investigation strategies, taking into account the clinical problems of genetic disease and the clinical relevance of inherited or acquired genetic abnormalities
  • participate in research and development and translate any new techniques, methodologies and assays into routine diagnostic service
  • respond to enquiries relating to genomic testing and provide expert scientific advice to clinical colleagues and other healthcare professionals
  • interpret quality control and quality assurance data
  • undertake continued professional development (CPD).

At a more senior level, you will also need to:

  • participate in the training, mentoring and supervision of trainee clinical scientists and related staff such as technologists and junior colleagues
  • contribute to the teaching of other technical, scientific and medical staff
  • lead research activities or programmes
  • conduct clinical audit
  • participate in the recruitment and selection of new staff and carry out appraisals
  • head a subsection or designated work area within the department, such as the management and prioritisation of all testing and reporting.


  • Jobs in the NHS are usually covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay rates consisting of nine pay bands. Trainee clinical scientists are usually employed at Band 6, starting at £33,706.
  • Once qualified, you're likely to be employed on Band 7 (£41,659 to £47,672).
  • Salaries for senior and consultant clinical scientists can range from £48,526 (Band 8a) to £109,475 (top of Band 9), depending on your experience, training and level of responsibility.

Those working in London and the surrounding areas may receive a high-cost area supplement of between 5% and 20% of their basic salary.

Salary levels for clinical scientists working for private companies, universities, government bodies and other organisations may vary.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

You'll usually work a 37.5-hour week, which will include some out-of-hours work. This includes participation in weekend and bank holiday rotas.

What to expect

  • Your work is usually office-based or in a 'dry' lab, although you'll work closely with genetic technologists, who are usually based in 'wet' labs, as well as with bioinformaticians, doctors specialising in genomics and genetics, and genetic counsellors.
  • Although you'll have very little direct contact with patients, your work will have a large impact on them and their families.
  • Jobs are available in most areas of the country, usually in medium-sized or large hospitals. However, there are only a relatively small number of jobs available and you may need to relocate to increase your chances of career progression.
  • During training you'll need to live near the place where you're working. Do your research before applying to ensure you're happy to spend three years living there. You will also travel to university as part of your training, which may be some distance away, so check commuting distances.
  • Once qualified, you may travel between hospital sites or to other relevant places for training, but are unlikely to spend prolonged periods away from home.


Training to become a clinical scientist working in genomics is done via the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP), a three-year, full-time, work-based learning and training programme that also includes academic study at Masters level. Relevant STP programmes are offered for genomics, clinical bioinformatics (genomics) and cancer genomics specialisms.

To apply to the programme you'll need either a first or 2:1 undergraduate degree or an integrated Masters degree in genetics, or a related subject with a genetics component, such as molecular biology, human biology, microbiology, biochemistry or cellular sciences. You can also apply if you have a 2:2 undergraduate degree in any subject and have a higher degree in a relevant subject.

Evidence of research experience through a relevant Masters or PhD is desirable for all applicants. Getting good academic results and relevant work experience is also helpful. 

Applications to the STP are made via Oriel, the online application portal for postgraduate medical, dental, public health, healthcare science and pre-registration pharmacy training programmes. Recruitment takes place annually, usually in January. There is only a short application window and late applications are not accepted.

You must pass all stages of the recruitment process, which includes an online situational judgement test (JST), online application and interviews with employers. Sample questions for the JST are available on the Pearson VUE website.

You can only apply to one specialty, so make sure you do your research before applying to ensure it's the right specialism for you. Not all specialties are recruited to each year and depend on NHS needs, so you should check before applying that your specialty is available.

If successful, you'll be employed by an NHS Trust (or in some cases by an NHS private partner or private healthcare provider) as a trainee clinical scientist on a fixed-term contract for the duration of the programme and paid a salary. The first year of training is spent on rotation in a range of settings before specialising in years two and three.

Training includes:

  • a programme of workplace training
  • fully-funded, part-time study for an approved and accredited Masters degree specialising in genetics sciences
  • a final assessment of competence.

If you already work for the NHS, you can apply to the STP as an internal candidate.

On successful completion of the STP you will be issued with a Certificate of Completion for the Scientist Training Programme (CCSTP) by the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) and can apply for registration as a clinical scientist with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).

For full details about the STP, advice on how to apply and information on competition ratios for each specialism, see the NSHCS website.

For information on training in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, see:

Other routes to HCPC registration as a clinical scientist are offered by the:

If you don't already have a degree, you can apply for the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP), which provides undergraduate training that leads to a BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Genetics Sciences). Courses are full time (usually three years) and include at least 50 weeks of workplace-based training in the NHS.

After graduation you'll be qualified as a healthcare science practitioner. If your course is accredited by the IBMS and HCPC approved, you'll also be eligible to register as a biomedical scientist with the HCPC. It's also possible to apply for the STP if you have a 2:1 or above.


You'll need:

  • an analytical and investigative mind
  • strong problem-solving skills and the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent organisational and time management skills and the ability to plan and prioritise work
  • attention to detail and the ability to work with speed and accuracy
  • excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both written and oral
  • teamworking skills in order to work collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team
  • the ability to work on your own with minimum supervision
  • the skills to lead and motivate others
  • good self-awareness
  • the capacity to work well under pressure
  • a flexible approach to work with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances
  • computer skills, including the use of data analysis systems and databases
  • commitment to, and enthusiasm for, scientific practice and its application in a clinical environment to improve patient care
  • self-motivation, resilience and resourcefulness in order to cope with the demands of work and study
  • emotional strength and good self-awareness.

You will also need to demonstrate how you meet the NHS core values.

Work experience

Entry on to the STP is competitive and there are many more applicants than places available. You'll need to be familiar with the programme, the specialism you're applying to and what you'll be doing.

To improve your chances, try and get an insight into the workings of a hospital laboratory by arranging a visit to your nearest regional genetics laboratory before you apply. Also, try to speak to people on the programme to find out what it's like to be an STP trainee so you can show that you understand the role and the commitment involved. You could also try and find short-term work experience in a genetics laboratory.

Lab work can be difficult to obtain, so voluntary work with patients, for example, can also be useful. It's good to have a range of life experiences so you can show your range of skills. If you're studying a relevant degree or Masters programme, then you may have the opportunity to complete a placement as part of your course.

You may need to think outside the box - being active in a university society, having a part-time job or getting involved in youth groups, for example, can also provide you with transferable skills such as teamwork, communication and time management.

If the chance arises, attend an open day for your specialism to gain a better insight into the role and STP programme. Additional experience, such as involvement with research projects and publications, is also useful.

Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.


Most clinical scientists working in genomics are employed in the NHS and are based in laboratories in large hospitals around the UK. Some work for other specialist laboratories and in private hospitals.

It's also possible to follow a research career, working in a university or research institute.

There are also some opportunities with government bodies and non-departmental public bodies, such as NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).

Look for job vacancies at:

Professional development

Continuing professional development (CPD) is an essential part of continuing registration with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). You must keep up to date with the ongoing developments in your area of expertise, as well as building on your management skills.

CPD activities can be any activity from which you learn and develop and may include:

  • work-based learning, such as in-service training, expanding your role
  • professional activities, e.g. being involved in a professional body
  • self-directed learning, such as reading articles and published papers
  • attending conferences workshops and lectures
  • publication in peer-reviewed journals
  • presenting research and papers at conferences
  • undertaking work exchanges abroad
  • undertaking research at PhD level
  • applying for research grants.

Membership of the BSGM and ACGS is useful for finding out about events and conferences and for networking with other professionals.

Once you've got experience (usually at least one year post-registration), you may apply to train to become a consultant clinical scientist via the Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) programme. This bespoke five-year, workplace-based training programme includes study at doctoral level in an area of genomics. You'll also need to obtain FRCPath by passing examinations set by The Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath).

Successful completion of the HSST programme leads to the award of Certificate of Completion of Higher Specialist Scientist Training (CCHSST) issued by the NSHCS. For full details, see HSST pathways.

You can also study for a traditional PhD and get involved in research. If you decide to progress into academic or research roles within a university setting, you'll need to get your research published in a relevant journal and present it at conferences.

Career prospects

There's a structured career path within the NHS. Once qualified, you can progress through the grades by gaining experience and completing further training, study and research. Promotion is based on merit and you may need to move to other hospitals to make the most of available opportunities.

As your career develops, you're likely to take on a more supervisory role with responsibility for the work of your department. Progression to consultant involves further training via the HSST programme. Promotion to deputy head or head of department is likely to involve the management of a large department or major departmental section. It's possible to gain a senior position by making a significant contribution in the field of genetics.

There are opportunities to move into clinical research, working for a university or research institute, or to get involved in training and registration assessments.

You can also develop your career by getting involved with professional bodies, taking on external professional roles or moving into advisory roles with organisations such as NICE or the Department of Health and Social Care. There are also some opportunities to move into general management roles within the NHS.

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