Section 1: Do I need to Register? Section 2: Procedure for State Registration Section 3: Criteria for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Section 4: Procedure for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Section 5: Costs Section 6: Miscellaneous Areas
A Clinical Scientist is an appropriately trained and qualified scientist working in health care who:
- gives scientific and clinical advice which has a direct bearing on the management of patients
- applies scientific methods to maintain the efficacy, quality and safety of investigative or therapeutic techniques
- introduces and advances new scientific and clinical procedures for patient benefit
- is registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC).
'Clinical Scientist' is a title protected under law. Anyone who is not registered and using it fraudently will be prosecuted. The use of the term "Trainee Clinical Scientist" or "Pre-registrant Clinical Scientist" is allowed since there is obviously no intention to defraud patients or the profession. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
Registration is designed to assure patients and the public, as well as employers and potential employers, which practitioners are appropriately qualified and competent to practise. It sets a standard that is recognised throughout the United Kingdom and provides significant public protection from unprofessional or unethical behaviour. Registration is NOT required for those working in academia or industry or anywhere in a solely research role. For UK candidates, the application for registration is normally a two-stage process, with the award of the ACS Certificate of Attainment required before application to HPC for registration. Those fully qualified and already practising in the profession overseas may apply directly to HPC under their International application route. Registrants must re-register every two years – October 2009, 2011, 2013 etc for Clinical Scientists. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
Registration in many healthcare professions is now controlled by the Health Professions Council (HPC). Most healthcare professions can register once completing an approved degree course e.g. BSc in "Appropriate Subject" at "Sometown University". However, Clinical Scientists require a Certificate of Attainment from the ACS proving satisfactory postgraduate training and experience - unless they can qualify for the international application route directly to the HPC. This International route has nothing to do with the ACS so please direct all enquiries to the HPC – see elsewhere. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
The Health Professions Council (HPC) was established on 1st April 2002 under powers in Section 60 of the Health Act, 1999. It replaced the Council and Boards of the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (CPSM) that had been responsible for registration since 1960. HPC finally achieved Privy Council Approval on July 8th 2003 and most regulations relate to this date. HPC will from 2005 also have additional powers for assessing continuing competence after registration (CPD), and already has disciplinary powers over the protected common titles including “Clinical Scientist”, “Biomedical Scientist” and other healthcare professionals’ titles. For more information see the HPC website
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The HPC receives your application for registration and processes it. You deal with them every other year to renew your application or respond to problems. They also provide registration for many other Health Service disciplines such as Physiotherapy, Chiropody, Radiography, etc. Any misdemeanours against you can be reported to the HPC and they must by law investigate and if necessary apply sanctions leading up to being struck off the register. Once registered you must renew in 2-year cycles – for Clinical Scientists this anniversary is October in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 etc. It is entirely YOUR responsibility to ensure renewals are made at the appropriate times. You can assist this by ensuring HPC are notified of any change of contact address but even if the post fails to deliver reminders to you from the HPC, or documentation from you to the HPC, legally it is your responsibility. You can check what status the HPC have on record for you from their website. If you are de-registered you would not have insurance cover for any litigation, it could revoke your Departments CPA certification and you should revert to trainee's salary. HPC have a mechanism for re-entry should this happen. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
You should have a certificate and be regularly paying for your registration renewal with the HPC every two years. Apart from asking them directly to confirm your registered status, the register (name, number and profession) is in the public domain and can be interrogated by surname or registration number on the Internet at www.hpc-uk.org/register
The ONLY information available publicly is your name and initials(or forename), your registered location and registration number as well as the part of the register applicable to you – i.e. Clinical Scientist. The registered location may be your work town or city or your home area depending on your application form. Clinical Scientists often move around the country during their career development and it is YOUR responsibility as part of your registration to ensure HPC have your current contact address for communications, notification of payments and other requirements. Failure to do so, non-payment or failure to submit required CPD declarations, can lead to being removed from the register – which could have implications on your salary, your job and validity of any insurance cover in case of litigation. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
All registered staff should periodically check that they are on the register. This need often arises at CPA inspections when it can be too late. The scientific professions have identified that a number of staff that were accepted for the voluntary Registration Council for Scientists in Healthcare (RCSHC) register or the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (CPSM) register have failed to respond to communications from HPC and been deleted. In this case you are not currently registered. You should URGENTLY apply to the HPC directly for re-admission – dealing directly with HPC as this is nothing to do with ACS activities. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
The Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS) is an umbrella organisation for the professional bodies covering the various clinical science modalities. Nominated representatives of those professional bodies form the Directors of the ACS. Certain other bodies have an observer status with the ACS. It is the responsibility of the ACS to lay down the criteria for competence of applicants and to present a Certificate of Attainment to candidates following a successful assessment. This certificate will allow direct registration with the HPC. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
The ACS is responsible for assessing whether you have reached the level of competence required for the modality in which you practise. It issues a Certificate of Attainment that you then present to HPC, as part of your application for entry to the register, as evidence that you are competent. The ACS:
Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
- is NOT a membership organisation, it’s members are the professions not individuals;
- does NOT evaluate training courses or University degrees;
- does NOT have a list of approved University courses for Clinical Scientists – (there is no such list and you simply need a 1st or 2nd class honours degree in appropriate subject – or a higher qualification);
- does NOT deal with either preliminary training in these professions nor with questions of career progression – see Recruitment Office;
- does NOT provide a trade union function - see Federation of Clinical Scientists (FCS) or Amicus, Unison or other organisations.
No. If you have completed all the criteria for registration and have been employed as a Clinical Scientist overseas, you can register directly with the HPC under their international route. There are no overseas qualifications “automatically” recognised by HPC and applications are dealt with on an individual basis. However, proficient training in most countries will be acceptable as long as appropriate evidence is provided. You will also need to provide evidence of the equivalence of your overseas degree and your should contact NARIC prior to applying to HPC – see the NARIC web site
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No. The ACS is not a membership organisation but a review body setting standards and assessing attainment by individual applicants. The constituent professional bodies are:
ACB Association for Clinical Biochemistry
ACC Association of Clinical Cytogeneticists
ACE Association of Clinical Embryologists
ACM Association of Clinical Microbiologists
ARTP/BTS Association of Respiratory Technology and Physiology / British Thoracic Society
BAA British Academy of Audiology
BBTS British Blood Transfusion Society
BSCN British Society for Clinical Neurophysiology
BSH British Society of Haematology
BSHI British Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics
BSHT British Society for Haemostasis and Thrombosis
CMGS Clinical Molecular Genetics Society
IPEM Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine
NB - Immunologists - The Association of Clinical Scientists in Immunology (ACSI) amalgamated with the Association for Clinical Biochemistry (ACB) in 2007. The British Society for Immunology (BSI) is not a member body of the ACS and therefore members of BSI do not qualify for discounted fees. Ex-ACSI members can gain fast track membership of the ACB and would then qualify for subsidised ACS fees.
Federation of Clinical Scientists (FCS) - this is the trade union arm of the ACB. You must be a full ACB member to benefit from subsidised fees - not just the FCS arm.
Membership of one of the constituent member organisations is not a pre-requisite for registration. The professional bodies consider that applications from their members involve reduced workload for the ACS and so application fees for a Certificate of Attainment are subsidised from the Professional Body's fees if you are a member of one of these constituent professional bodies. If you require help with your ACS application, it is more likely that these organisations will be better placed to provide that technical help for you than the ACS who can only assist with procedural queries. We recommend that your join a professional body. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
No. It is illegal, under the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act, for someone to work in the Health Service and use the titles:
'state registered clinical scientist'
'registered clinical scientist' or
'state clinical scientist' or
unless they are registered with the HPC. Under separate legislation, closure of employment will be notified by the National Health Service Executive. Once closure of employment has been made, to work in the National Health Service as a Clinical Scientist, either directly or as a contractor, one will need to be registered. Removal from the register would mean that an individual would no longer be able to work as a Clinical Scientist in the public sector. Registration and the use of the protected titles does not apply to those working in academia, industry or who have purely research role.
It is illegal for those who are not registered to fraudulently imply they are registered and this is punishable by a fine of up to £5000.
The HPC are content if, being unregistered, you term yourself "pre-registration clinical scientist" or "trainee clinical scientist". However, they object to other formats such as "clinical research scientist" which are confusing to patients and could therefore be considered fraudulent use. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
The HPC is required by the legislation to have two committees, an Investigating Committee and a Disciplinary Committee. The Disciplinary Committee has to decide in cases of malpractice whether to find the registrant either guilty or not guilty of infamous conduct, or it may defer a decision. A registrant found guilty may have his or her name removed from the register. The Committee may, alternatively, issue a warning. It may also remove his or her name from the register, but indicate that it would consider re-admission to the register after a set period, provided proof of good conduct were received. For more information see the HPC website
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Whilst it is currently not a requirement to be registered in order to obtain work, many NHS Trusts will be following NHS guidance and best practice and only advertising for and employing Clinical Scientists i.e. those who are indeed registered. At present this is an issue for each individual NHS Trust. However, it is likely to become a requirement in order to practise as a Clinical Scientist in the Health Service except in a supervised (training) role. Since lack of registration limits your work abilities to your employer (as supervision is always required), it could act as a disincentive to employ you unless you can prove that you will be working towards registration in a short time. This should not stop you applying for such jobs as long as you are close to, or working towards, registration and explain this to the employer. Most medical insurers will only make payment for treatment carried out by registered practitioners. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
Probably not. The test is whether the work you do could potentially harm a patient. If you are, for example, working in a university and the results are being used for demographic or statistical purposes i.e. your work does not involve patient safety, either directly or indirectly, then registration would not be necessary. However, whoever your employer might be, if you are acting on patient samples and your work otherwise affects patients then you must either be registered or be supervised by someone who is registered. You need to review your job description and actual role to be able to decide. People employed at trainee grade do not need to, and cannot, be registered. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
In the UK there are two types of scientific healthcare workers – Clinical Scientists and Biomedical Scientists (BMS – Medical Laboratory Technicians). There are many similarities in the two professions including registration with the HPC. Both titles are protected under law and both need further postgraduate training before being fully competent to become registered. However, each has its own entry requirements and training – one is NOT a natural progression to the other though some Biomedical Scientists can and do train to become Clinical Scientists either by entering formal pre-registration (formerly Grade A) training or by obtaining a supervised Clinical Scientist position and using their BMS experience during training to apply to ACS for certification under their Route TWO (6-year route). Using this route, a minimum of 3 years must be spent working as a Clinical Scientist although relevant time as a BMS (or MSc, PhD or MTO etc) could be used to account for the rest of this 6 year period. Back to Section 1: Do I need to Register? Back to Top
You will need to comply with the timing requirements following training under an appropriate supervisor and then submit a portfolio of evidence outlining your training and experience to substantiate that you meet all the competences laid down in ACS Document Appendix 1. Once your portfolio is accepted you will face an interview with your peers in the profession to discuss your application and satisfy them that you are fit to be registered by receiving the Certificate of Attainment. Back to Section 2: Procedure for State Registration Back to Top
You should obtain the ACS documentation as early as possible to allow you to be preparing your portfolio throughout your period of training. Do not wait until your training period has completed to start compiling your portfolio. These documents can be downloaded from this website. You do not need to contact either the HPC or the ACS prior to your submission unless you have problems. There is no pre-registration notification necessary to either organisation. Back to Section 2: Procedure for State Registration Back to Top
Your application pack from the ACS, which you may download from this website will contain six documents: DOC-ACS001
Guidelines for application This provides directions and assistance in completing your application.
DOC-ACS002 Appendix 1 to Guidelines-Generic Competences
This must be returned bound into your portfolio once completed.
DOC-ACS003 Appendix 2 to Guidelines-Sub-modalities
This provides a table of the acceptable modalities and sub-modalities together with contact details for the professional bodies should you require additional technical advice or assistance. You must apply within one or other of these modalities or sub-modalities.
DOC-ACS004 Appendix 3 to Guidelines-Notes
DOC-ACS004a Appendix 4 to Guidelines-Interview Offers Procedure
Both of these provide directions and assistance in completing your application.
DOC-ACS005 Application form for Certificate of Attainment
This must be completed and returned separately with your portfolio, fees and if necessary, copy of marriage certificate.
Applicants in the following modalities MUST state a sub-modality on the application form to allow correct selection of assessors –
Clinical Genetics applicants – Cytogenetics or Molecular Genetics,
Clinical Physiology applicants - Respiratory Physiology or Neurophysiology
Medical Physics & Clin Engineering applicants - Radiotherapy, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology &
Radiation Protection, Non-ionising Radiation Techniques, Clinical Engineering
or Physiological Measurement & Computing
The following modalities have sub-modalities more appropriate to some applicants but not for others who would not need to specialise. Again it is important to indicate a sub-modality if necessary to allow appropriate assessor selection-
Clinical Biochemistry - Paediatric Metabolic Biochemistry or Analytical Toxicology
Haematology – Blood Transfusion.
You will also require competency documents specific for your modality. These documents provide discipline-specific versions of the general competences Appendix 1 and contains guidance as to how to complete the Appendix 1 document for your portfolio. These are only guides as to possible successful submissions and should NOT be used as a template for your portfolio. Even if your modality is not represented these will provide useful indications of what you need to provide.
All the documents are reviewed and revised periodically. Please ensure you have a current up-to-date version. The latest version of these controlled documents will always be on the website
Back to Section 2: Procedure for State Registration
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You can submit your application to the ACS for the Certificate of Attainment as soon as you have completed your period of training and subsequent experience – but not until the day that that is completed,
since you and your supervisor are signing that you have fully completed your required period of training. Be clear that this date relates to the submission of your portfolio, not
the eventual interview date. If you apply too early, your portfolios will be returned and a £25 administration charge will be removed from your returned fee.
At least 12 weeks before the start of the preferred assessment month, the completed application form and assessment fee, together with 2 bound and one unbound copies of the portfolio of evidence, should be submitted to the ACS Administrative Office. These interview session times will be advertised on this website for the following 12 months. Back to Section 2: Procedure for State Registration Back to Top
Approximately 3-4 months from submission. The sequence of events is as follows.
a. You CANNOT submit an application to the ACS Office before the day you complete your required time of training and experience - your supervisor is signing to confirm you comply with the full term – not part or it. Your application will be returned less a £25 administration charge if submitted early.
b. The completed application form and assessment fee together with 2 bound and one unbound copies of the portfolio of evidence should be submitted to the ACS Administrative Office. You will receive a written acknowledgment of safe receipt immediately. You must have your own extras copy of the portfolio for reference as ACS copies cannot be returned to the applicants once accepted for review.
c. During the next 4-6 weeks two assessors will review the portfolio for suitability to proceed to interview. Approximately 80% of portfolios are fine and are accepted for interview directly after submission. Please ensure you submit in good time, however, as the assessors may request additional evidence or information if they consider your portfolio exhibits any weaknesses or is not clear. You must allow enough time to ensure you can return this to qualify for the next interview round, or else you will face a delay in your assessment. Around 10-15% of applications exhibit weaknesses or problems which make it difficult for the assessors to know whether the competence of the applicant will be sufficient. In these cases they request further information to be provided by the applicant before they can be accepted for interview. This extra information may take the form of additional pieces of evidence of certain features or perhaps a clarification of timing or dat relating to some work cited in the portfolio. This must be produced quickly and must satisfy the assessors before you can be included in any interview session. Make sure you are available during this period to allow a response.
d. The two ACS assessors will normally reach a decision on the application within 6 weeks of receipt. The candidate will be notified in writing by the Office.
If the standard is achieved the candidate will progress to the formal assessment process and will be notified of the assessment date, time and centre. The ACS aims to provide the candidate with 1 months notice of the assessment date. It is important that you do not plan holidays or other absences in the few months after submission in case either extra data is requested or a date for interview becomes available. Since a series of interviews is planned for the same day, assessment planning does not only depend upon you. If you cannot make an offered interview date you must be prepared to face delays and await a future interview round. Declining a series of offered interview dates may lead to requirements for updated evidence if the delay is prolonged (See DOC-ACS004a-Appendix 4). However, please keep the Office aware of any plans or problems to avoid disappointment over timing difficulties. f.
The interview can last up to 60 or 120 minutes depending on the application route and how straightforward the training and experience has been. The location may be at the ACS Offices in London or occasionally in other centres around the country. For Physics and Engineering applications, interviews are split between York and London depending on assessor availability. Overseas applicants who elect to use the ACS or are unable to apply directly to the HPC must be prepared to travel to interview in London. Your fees do not cover transport costs to the interview which you must arrange yourself or through your employer. You will not be informed of your assessors’ names until arriving at the interview. g.
At the interview you will be expected to discuss with the assessors the evidence you have presented and perhaps respond to specific scenarios to establish your competence. The initial portfolio acts as a filtration stage to determine any major problems which would suggest an interview was inappropriate. The actual acceptance for an interview should be taken as a positive sign that, as far as can be judged, there is nothing to indicate anything major to indicate you would not meet the required competences for certification and registration. However, that is what the interview will establish - it is the interview which is the assessment, where you establish you understand and are meeting the competences in your day to day work. Statistics on ACS failure rates are given on the website under Reports - only some 5% of applications have failed at interview stage – due to applicants not being able to discuss their work and convince the assessors that they understood and carried it out and are are truly competent. h.
The assessors will not indicate your success or otherwise after the interview. They can only recommend a course which has to be ratified by the ACS Board. i.
The ACS Office will communicate the outcome of the assessment process to the applicant formally by email and letter, normally within a 2-week period of the interview. Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with reasons for this together with some indication of what is needed to rectify it for a future re-submission. j.
With the Certificate of Attainment you can now apply for state registration with the HPC. This will normally take 2-3 weeks but could be longer during HPC’s busy season – June, July and August following College graduation when many people in other registered professions will be applying to them. The Certificate of Attainment is a UK qualification and this route to HPC is always considered a UK application and not an international route – even if the applicant was trained abroad and is applying from overseas. Back to Section 2: Procedure for State Registration Back to Top
HPC will process your application as quickly as possible.
You must return their application form and a questionnaire with their assessment fee and the supporting documentation required. Upon receipt of these, with an ACS Certificate of Attainment, your application will be checked by the office to verify that it can legally be considered under either their international or UK routes as appropriate. After verification, straightforward applications should lead to direct registration within a few weeks. Those applying directly to HPC under the International Route may be asked to clarify aspects of the application and be interviewed by a panel formed of two assessors or Partners. This approach normally takes 4-6 weeks.
For more information see the HPC website
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At the initial submission
- The ACS Administrative Office will check your application on receipt for completeness of contents (Application form, Generic Competences document, two copies of correctly bound portfolio, one copy of unbound portfolio, cheque for correct fee and marriage certificate if appropriate). They will then check for portfolio size - the target sizes are 60 and 120 pages for Route ONE and TWO respectively and those beyond 80 and 160 pages respectively will be rejected with loss of administration fee - this is an absolute maximum with no tolerance accepted. They will also check for key compliances (degree status and period of time covered for the appropriate route and HPC or GMC registration of the nominated Supervisor of the work). They will notify you if anything is missing or incorrect. The application will be held until these points are addressed satisfactorily. Ensure you are available following submission in case of such enquiry. If these cannot be resolved quickly, the application will be returned together with the fee less a £25 administration charge. The full fee must be included again at re-submission. Your portfolios will not be returned. At the initial portfolio assessment
- Two Assessors from the modality or sub-modality review the application and if the criteria are not met this will be communicated in writing to the candidate together with the reasons for non-compliance.
1. Unacceptable portfolio
- Candidates who submit a sub-standard portfolio of evidence will be provided with guidance on remedial action required for resubmission at the next scheduled round of assessments. You may or may not be able to reapply. The fee is returned less a £25 administration fee. The full fee applicable at the time must be included at any re-submission.
2. Insufficient portfolio
- In many cases the additional information required could be provided by the candidate within a short period – say a month. In these cases the portfolio is held until the requested information is submitted when, if accepted by the assessors, the application proceeds to interview with no penalty.
At the assessment interview - Unsuccessful candidates who fail at this stage will be advised of recommended remedial action to assist a future application. You may or may not be able to reapply. There is no refund and a full fee applicable at the time must be included with any re-submission.
Should the candidate fail in only one competenece area, then one further option allows the assessors to require remedial work only in that section followed by a resubmission within a set short period of time of a simple report of the work instead of a full portfolio. The subsequent, more limited interview will solely address that competence and none of the others. The interview will last only around 30 minutes in this case and the re-submission fee is reduced - see Fees. Back to Section 2: Procedure for State Registration Back to Top
Candidates can appeal in writing. Appeals should be sent to the ACS Administrative Office within 4 weeks of receiving notification of the outcome. The letter should indicate the grounds of the appeal. Appeals can only be made on the process of the assessment not on the judgement of the assessors. The Office will ONLY deal with communication from the applicant – not with supervisors or other third parties. More information on the appeal process is provided on this website. Back to Section 2: Procedure for State Registration Back to Top
Statistics on the outcomes of applications are given in the Reports section on the website. The most frequent causes for rejection at portfolio stage are insufficient amounts of evidence, either omitting key competences or providing only an isolated piece of evidence instead of a few examples. Making statement about your exeperience is not sufficient - you must provide the evidence to substantiate it. But also note that the assessors are NOT looking for quantity at the expense of quality of evidence – excessively bulky portfolios waste assessors’ time and suggest an applicant has poor management skills - they are also likely to not meet page restrictions.
The most frequent failure at interview is insufficient clinical experience or exaggerated claims in the portfolio of experience that was only witnessed and not carried out personally and therefore understood and still used in practice.
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- Firstly, there are NO approved degree courses or approved Universities for Clinical Sciences, unlike other healthcare professions registered under HPC. You must simply have a 1st or 2nd Class Honours degree in an appropriate subject relating to the modality or sub-modality. Sub-modalities are specialisations occurring in some professions. Registrants need to be assessed in the skills of that sub-modality although they will be registered under the umbrella modality. Obviously someone trained in one specific sub-modality may not be qualified to work in a different sub-modality of that profession – however changing roles do not require re-registration, see elsewhere.
- Your supervisor for the work MUST be a registered as either a consultant Clinical Scientist or a medical professional and they must countersign and vouch for your work and time of your training period. You may have more than one supervisor.
- You must comply with either Route ONE or Route TWO requirements, see below.
- You must submit the completed application form, portfolio and appropriate fee.
The HPC will register you as a Clinical Scientist. However, because this encompasses a range of distinct professions, they will also note on the register your modality or speciality – though this is not publicly available. The modality is simply a self-declaration of the limitations of your fitness to work. It should be clearly understood that registration conveys a “fitness to work” – a standard of quality and safety. It does in no way indicate a “fitness for the job” which rests entirely with the employing health authority. The HPC do not require you to re-register if your work and your role changes. You remain registered as a Clinical Scientist but are expected to maintain the necessary CPD and training in working practices to fulfil the criteria for “fitness to work”. Sub-modalities are not recorded by the HPC and are simply divisions of modalities that allow better assessment of candidates upon application. Back to Section 3: Criteria for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Back to Top
The ACS has recognised twelve different modalities of practice for registration.
The registered modalities are:
- cellular science
- clinical biochemistry
- clinical genetics
- clinical embryology
- clinical immunology
- clinical microbiology
- clinical physiology
- histocompatibility and immunogenetics
- medical physics and clinical engineering
- developing sciences.
The ACS Board has also accepted some sub-modalities for a number of the modalities. The sub-modalities are not published on the register and are for the purpose of guidance to the Board secretariat.
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- The modality of Clinical Biochemistry has two sub-modalities – Analytical Toxicology and Paediatric Metabolic Biochemistry.
- Clinical Genetics has two sub-modalities of Molecular Genetics and Cytogenetics.
- Clinical Physiology has two sub-modalities, Respiratory Physiology and Neurophysiology.
- Cell Science has two sub-modalities – Cellular Ultrastructure & Molecular Pathology and Myology & Immunohistochemistry.
- Haematology has a sub-modality of Blood Transfusion.
- Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering has five sub-modalities – Radiotherapy, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology & Radiation Protection, Non-ionising Radiation Techniques and Clinical Engineering, Physiological Measurement & Computing. It is possible to be assessed in more than one sub-modality of this group if requested. However, you are warned that this will entail questioning on all competences for each sub-modality and please note the comments on what HPC records on the register elsewhere.
- You cannot apply to ACS or HPC under any other modality or sub-modality. However, it is recognised that some Developing Sciences encompass sections of more than one modality. Again this has been catered for in the final modality and you will have assessors chosen from the different modalities that comprise your work. Because of this, the cost is greater since more than 2 assessors may be required for this less common occurrence and we cannot combine interviews with other candidates.
You register with HPC under your selected Modality. You register as a Clinical Scientist though your modality is recorded on the HPC database. They do not record your sub-modality. However, to be assessed by the ACS and HPC you must select one of the sub-modalities if one exists. Only in this way can you be assessed in your specific work. Otherwise you could apply for jobs in any form of Medical Physics – e.g. Radiation Physics – without adequate training and experience. ACS will record your details under your sub-modality if one exists. Once registered with HPC you do not need to re-register if you subsequently change modalities or sub-modalities as your career progresses – you are expected to ensure you meet the requirements of the new role - see elsewhere. Back to Section 3: Criteria for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Back to Top
Because state registration is only possible within these modalities and sub-modalities you cannot currently register with the HPC if you do not fit into one of these categories. Therefore, there is no mechanism for you to apply to the ACS for a Certificate of Attainment at present. If you cannot decide which modality or sub-modality you come under, you should discuss this with your Head of Department or Professional Body. ACS Administrative Office cannot help in these cases. Back to Section 3: Criteria for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Back to Top
Unlike other healthcare professions registered under HPC, there are NO approved degree courses or approved Universities for Clinical Scientists. No fixed rules exist, other than it must be a 1st or 2nd class honours degree, since the variety of courses available in Clinical Science is varied and a list could exclude one by oversight. What is required is one in which a substantial element of the degree course contains a grounding of basic science appropriate to the clinical science modality to be registered.
- audiology: any science degree
- cellular science: life science degree
- clinical biochemistry: a biochemistry or life science degree with a major biochemistry component
- clinical embryology: life science degree
- clinical genetics: life science degree with a genetics component
- clinical microbiology: life science degree with a microbiology component
- clinical immunology: life science degree with an immunology component
- clinical physiology: life science or medical science degree with a human physiology component
- haematology: life science degree
- histocompatibility and immunogenetics: life science degree with some genetics, haematology, molecular biology, immunology components
- medical physics and clinical engineering: a physics or engineering degree
Overseas applicants must obtain establish equivalence of degree through NARIC
– see elsewhere. Back to Section 3: Criteria for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Back to Top
The two training routes for applicants for the ACS Certificate of Attainment and subsequently for State Registration purposes are detailed in Section 3 of the Guidelines for Application. Route ONE
is a 4-year route which applies to the majority of conventional trainees who go through the approved 2- or 3-year pre-registration (formerly Grade A) formal training courses followed by a year or two experience in the laboratory whilst still under supervision. Route TWO
is a 6-year route which is applicable to any applicants. For this you do exactly the same thing as for Route ONE but you obviously have to gather more paperwork since the training and experience cannot be summed up in completing the Training Course. This is the only route available for the Clinical Physiology and Developing Sciences modalities and the Paediatric Metabolic Biochemistry sub-modality that do not have accredited training schemes to allow entry by Route ONE. Back to Section 4: Procedure for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Back to Top
There are currently 10 approved training schemes for the modalities of: audiology, clinical biochemistry, clinical embryology, clinical genetics, clinical haematology, clinical immunology, clinical microbiology, histocompatibility & immunogenetics and medical physics & clinical engineering. There is currently no approved training scheme available in Clinical Physiology and Cellular Science and therefore anyone applying for the ACS Certificate of Attainment, and subsequently for State Registration in this modality will need to apply under Route TWO. This would also apply to applicants under the Developing Science modality and the Paediatric Metabolic Biochemistry sub-modality. Back to Section 4: Procedure for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Back to Top
The generic competences in Appendix 1 cover your experience dealing with aspects of Scientific, Clinical, Technical, R&D, Communications, Problem Solving and Management. You are expected to achieve an overall competence in all of these sections but will obviously be stronger or weaker in specific aspects – you will not be expected to be an expert in all of them. Any weaknesses may be pointed out at interview but may not be sufficient to warrant withholding the Certificate of Attainment. Appendix 1 is NOT a tick-off list requiring 100% compliance. Back to Section 4: Procedure for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Back to Top
No. For those candidates applying under Route ONE, the portfolio of evidence should cover the 4-year training and experience period. For those candidates applying under Route TWO, the portfolio of evidence should cover the 6-year training and experience period. Compiling the portfolio is one aspect of establishing your competence in Communications and Problem Solving. The portfolio must convey to the assessors in a clear and concise manner that you have achieved the necessary training and experience to work unsupervised. Guidance to the preparation is given in the Appendices. Assessors will not look favourably on either disorganised portfolios or masses of either irrelevant of repetitive data. Abstracts of theses or papers should be sufficient if they clearly prove the relevant competence.
Read and follow the Guideline Notes in the application pack carefully. Back to Section 4: Procedure for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Back to Top
If there are any references in the portfolio to you under a different name you must include a copy of proof of identity with the application form – not bound into the portfolio. This may be a copy of a marriage license or deed poll etc. as applicable. Similarly you must provide photographic ID at the interview - passport or driving licence - and this must match either your name on the application form or the marriage certificate or other proof of name change. Back to Section 4: Procedure for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Back to Top
It is not intended to predominate on technical aspects which would have been better covered previously for instance at pre-registration formal training. The ACS Certificate of Attainment includes the requirement for formal interview by two ACS-appointed assessors from the relevant modality (or sub-modality) who will normally be from ACS member professional bodies. They are your peers so will be aware of what other applicants have gone through regarding training courses and typical further experience during career progression. Those utilising Route TWO can expect more questioning on this area though.
The formal interview will be structured to include an assessment of: a.
the candidate’s knowledge of each of the Generic Competences as applied to the relevant modality or sub-modality; and b.
the portfolio of evidence submitted in support of gaining the Generic Modality or sub-modality specific Competences.
It will seek to establish that your training has been comprehensive. You will not be re-assessed on the academic components of training except in so far as it may support the background to competences. You will be required to demonstrate a good general level of scientific ability and an understanding of the basic principles related to the competences, especially the health and safety issues and including a full appreciation of practical aspects (i.e. not just what was done, but why it was carried out that way and the significance of the results obtained). Back to Section 4: Procedure for Obtaining the ACS Certificate of Attainment Back to Top
Please see the Fees section on the website.
Monies are not refundable from either ACS or HPC. If you have to re-apply you may have to submit a second fee depending on the severity of the problem. This would be explained in the comments following the interview.
If the submission on arrival at the ACS Office is incorrectly bound or incomplete or missing some key component that cannot be resolved quickly, the application will be returned together with the fee less a £25 administration charge. The full fee must be included at with re-submission.
Candidates who submit a sub-standard portfolio of evidence as identified at the initial review by assessors will have the application and fees returned less a £25 administration fee. The full fee applicable at the time must be included at any re-submission.
In many cases a more minor requirement for additional information identified by the assessors initial review can be provided by the candidate within a short period – say a month. In these cases the portfolio is held until the information is submitted when, if accepted by the assessors, the application proceeds to interview with no penalty. If the candidate cannot produce the acceptable required evidence within this time frame then the application and fees are returned less a £25 administration fee. The full fee applicable at the time must be included at any re-submission.
Unsuccessful candidates at interview stage may or may not be able to reapply. There is no refund and a full fee applicable at the time must be included with any re-submission. Back to Section 5: Costs Back to Top
The fees go towards the costs of the assessments and administrative costs of providing the certification. It is a one-off payment related to your registration. The Professional Bodies are partly sponsoring the cost for current members of their associations when they apply. Back to Section 5: Costs Back to Top
These courses are advertised annually with applications in January and February each year for commencement the following October. The courses are only in approved hospitals that are regularly accredited to ensure the level and spread of training is adequate. For information on these courses either contact the appropriate professional organisation or, for training places in England and Wales contact the Central Recruitment Office for Clinical Scientists at Northgate ResourceLink, Boundary Way, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2 7HU Telephone 0871 433 3070 or email ClinicalScientists@northgate-is.com
for details. More information and application details can be found on their website
. Back to Section 6: Miscellaneous Areas Back to Top
Yes, if you intend returning to work in the near future and you must retain your registration status and ensure HPC are aware of any changes of address. You should also ensure you maintain CPD during the break. For a more prolonged absence, HPC have agreed with the professions on minimum re-training requirements for such people who do not retain their registration status and this depends on the length of the break. Re-training requirements for staff after work breaks can easily be resolved and continuance with CPD would obviously entail reduced need for this.
Back to Section 6: Miscellaneous Areas Back to Top
The total of six years postgraduate training does not have to be continuous for Route 2 applicants. Less common is a break in the Route 1 training but again this is allowed as long as the total time requirement is met. Back to Section 6: Miscellaneous Areas Back to Top
Part-time work is considered on a pro rata basis for your ACS submission – so 2½ years working 2 days a week is equivalent to one year full-time etc. You need to contact your Professional Body if you are not sure of what constitutes a “normal” working week. Back to Section 6: Miscellaneous Areas Back to Top