Clinical scientists working in haematology are involved in diagnosing and managing disorders of the blood and bone marrow

As a clinical scientist working in haematology, you'll prepare, carry out and analyse tests on patients with blood-based abnormalities such as:

  • anaemia
  • haemophilia
  • leukaemia and other blood-related cancers
  • sickle cell disease
  • other bleeding and clotting problems.

You'll interpret test results and report them to requesting clinicians, advising on further testing where necessary. You will usually also be involved in blood transfusion science, determining blood group status, for example.

You'll typically work in specialist departments of hospitals as part of a team with other healthcare science staff and haematology doctors.

Types of work

There are three main areas of haematology:

  • diagnostic haematology
  • haemostatis/coagulation
  • transfusion.

You'll typically work in:

  • laboratories in biomedical roles
  • blood transfusion centres
  • clinical roles where you'll have direct contact with patients.

For more information on the different areas of haematology, see the National School of Healthcare Science website.

Doctors can also specialise in haematology but this is a very different career route. See hospital doctor for more information.


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

  • receive and prepare blood samples for analysis
  • analyse blood samples using computer-aided and manual techniques
  • review initial data that reveals, for example, white or red blood cell abnormalities
  • interpret, verify and validate results and report findings to the requesting clinician
  • make decisions on further haematological analysis and recommend additional tests where appropriate to help with the diagnostic process
  • liaise with doctors and other medical professionals to discuss patient tests and treatment plans
  • advise on specific types of treatment for individual patients
  • cross-match blood for use in transfusions
  • investigate the biochemistry of blood clotting
  • produce quantitative data in the form of reports and provide key information to medical staff about a patient's condition
  • help colleagues to interpret test results
  • select appropriate techniques for different types of haematological analysis
  • undertake research in order to better understand blood-related diseases
  • keep accurate and detailed records.

At more senior levels you may need to:

  • teach or train medical students and other hospital staff, e.g. nursing and portering staff
  • apply for and manage departmental and/or laboratory finances and resources
  • take responsibility for working towards targets
  • liaise with haematology colleagues on a regional or national basis.


  • Jobs in the NHS are usually covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) Pay Rates consisting of nine pay bands. Salaries for trainee clinical scientists typically start at around £35,392, depending on your employer and location (Band 6).
  • Once qualified, you're likely to be employed on a salary of £43,742 to £50,056 (Band 7).
  • With experience and further qualifications, your salary can range from £50,952 to £114,949 for the most senior posts (Bands 8 and 9).

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

Working hours are generally a standard 37.5 hours per week, although you may be required to work a shift pattern.

Flexible and part-time work is generally available following successful completion of training.

What to expect

  • It's becoming increasingly common to work in a blood science laboratory with other related staff.
  • If you're working in a laboratory-based role, you'll liaise closely with medical and other hospital staff. However, in a clinical role you'll have more direct contact with patients and their families, as well as with other clinical professionals.
  • Jobs are available throughout the UK, although you may need to relocate to progress your career.
  • 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 may have to travel to other training centres to complete parts of the programme and may have to stay there for several weeks at a time. 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 haematology 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.

To apply to the programme you'll need either a first or 2:1 undergraduate degree or an integrated Masters degree in life sciences. Relevant subjects include:

  • biochemistry
  • biology
  • biomedical sciences
  • genetics
  • microbiology.

You can also apply if you have a 2:2 undergraduate degree in any subject and a higher degree in a relevant subject.

Evidence of research experience through a relevant Masters or PhD, for example, is desirable. For all applicants, getting good academic results and relevant work experience is helpful.

Applications to the STP are made via Oriel, the online application portal for healthcare science. 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 a panel interview. 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 the NHS in a scientific department (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 (using an online e-portfolio)
  • fully-funded, part-time study for an approved and accredited Masters degree in blood 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 (Blood 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 approved by the HCPC and accredited by the IBMS, you are also eligible to apply for statutory registration with the HCPC as a biomedical scientist. If you have a 2:1 or above you could also apply to the STP.


In addition to your scientific and laboratory skills, you'll need to have:

  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills, to pass on findings and give advice on diagnosis to other staff as well as to give formal presentations to colleagues
  • the ability to organise and carry out research
  • an analytical and investigative mind in order to assess scientific, technical and medical literature
  • effective problem-solving skills and the ability to use your initiative and work independently
  • strong team work skills as you'll be working as part of a multidisciplinary team, including doctors and other healthcare staff
  • meticulous documentation and record keeping skills
  • active listening skills and a supportive and emotionally robust approach to working with patients
  • attention to detail and the ability to work with speed and accuracy
  • the ability to work under pressure and to plan and prioritise your work load
  • a high level of self-motivation, emotional resilience, reliability and good self-awareness
  • a flexible approach to work with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, new technologies and techniques
  • the ability to make judgements that impact on patients' lives
  • the skills to lead and motivate others
  • project management skills
  • IT skills, as most laboratories are highly computerised
  • a commitment to lifelong learning.

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 local hospital haematology department 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 try and find short-term laboratory work experience in a haematology department. 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.

Lab work can be difficult to obtain, so voluntary work with patients can also be useful. Mentoring experience is also helpful. It's good to have a range of life experiences so you can show your range of skills.

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.


The main employer of haematology staff in the UK is the NHS. As a trainee clinical scientist, you're usually employed by an NHS teaching hospital and are seconded to suitable training bases at local hospitals. Once qualified, you may be taken on by the hospital in which you trained (although there is no guarantee).

You could also work for:

Opportunities may also exist with:

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 British Society for Haematology (BSH) is important as it provides access to networking and career development opportunities, as well as support and advice.

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 five-year funded training programme includes study at doctoral level. You'll also need to achieve Fellowship of The Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath). Successful completion of the HSST programme leads to the award of Certificate of Completion of Higher Specialist Scientist Training (CCHSST) issued by the NSHCS.

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.

Once you've got experience, it's possible to apply for jobs in specialist areas such as:

  • immunohaematology
  • paediatric haematology
  • transfusion medicine
  • genetic disorders
  • haemato-oncology.

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 haematology and transfusion sciences.

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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