Biomedical scientist job profile | (2023)

Biomedical scientists carry out tests on samples taken by doctors and nurses in order to diagnose a range of illnesses and diseases

As a biomedical scientist, you'll carry out a range of laboratory and scientific tests on tissue samples and fluids to help clinicians diagnose and treat diseases. You'll also evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

Your work is extremely important to many hospital departments, such as operating theatres and A&E, and the functions you carry out are wide ranging. For example, you may work on medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes or AIDS, screen for and monitor a range of diseases, or carry out tests for emergency blood transfusions.

Types of biomedical scientist

Biomedical scientists usually specialise in one of four areas: infection sciences, blood sciences, cell sciences or genetics and molecular pathology.

Infection sciences includes:

  • medical microbiology - identification of micro-organisms causing disease and their antibiotic treatment
  • virology - identification of viruses, associated diseases and monitoring the effectiveness of vaccines.

Blood sciences includes:

  • clinical chemistry - analysis of blood and body fluids to help with diagnoses, and toxicology studies
  • transfusion science - determination of donor/recipient blood compatibility, ensuring blood banks are sufficient
  • haematology - form and functions of diseases of the blood
  • immunology - understanding the immune system and its role in combating disease.

Cell sciences includes:

  • histopathology (also known as cellular pathology) - microscopic examination of diseased tissue samples to establish the cause of the disease
  • cytology - best known for cervical smear screening, but also covers other cellular analysis.

Genetics and molecular pathology includes:

  • genetics - study of genes and hereditary variations in genes
  • molecular pathology - study and diagnosis of disease through examination of tissues and fluids at molecular level.

For more information on the four laboratory disciplines, see the IBMS What is biomedical science?.


As a biomedical scientist you'll need to:

  • perform routine and specialist analytical testing on a range of biological samples
  • give test results to medical staff, who use the information to diagnose and treat the patient's illness
  • process patient samples in good time and make sure that turnaround times for reporting results are achieved
  • prioritise your workload and perform urgent analytical testing as required
  • identify abnormal or unexpected results and report back and follow up with requesting clinicians
  • maintain and run specialist lab equipment
  • maintain and order stocks of materials
  • answer telephone enquiries about test results and other general lab issues
  • accurately record data, write reports and share results
  • develop new methods of investigation and keep up to date with diagnostic innovations
  • support the lab's quality management system and observe all relevant health and safety regulations
  • supervise, mentor and support trainee biomedical scientists and other support staff
  • keep your professional knowledge up to date and take responsibility for your continuing professional development (CPD).


  • Starting salaries in the NHS range from £25,655 to £31,534 (Band 5).
  • With experience and/or specialist knowledge, you can earn a salary of £32,306 to £39,027 (Band 6).
  • As a senior biomedical scientist, you can expect to earn £40,057 to £53,219 (Band 7/8a). Salaries for consultant biomedical scientists, who have reached the top of their profession, are higher.

If you're working in London and the surrounding areas you may receive a high-cost area supplement of between 5% and 20% of your basic salary.

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

Income data for NHS salaries from pay bands agreed under the Agenda for change pay rates.

Figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

If you're employed by the NHS, you'll generally work a standard 37.5 hour week. A flexible approach to work is essential to cover day, evening, night and weekend working.

Some opportunities exist for part-time work or job sharing. Self-employment is unlikely as it's rarely possible to set up an independent laboratory.

What to expect

  • You will usually work in a laboratory using computers and hi-tech automated lab equipment.
  • You'll work as part of a team that includes healthcare science staff, doctors (particularly those specialising in pathology) and nurses.
  • Vacancies are available across the UK in hospitals and private sector laboratories.
  • It's also possible to follow a career in research or forensic science.
  • Although you won't usually need to travel during the working day or spend time away from home, travel between sites may be necessary.


You'll need to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to work as a biomedical scientist in the UK.

To achieve this you need to complete a BSc (Hons) degree in biomedical science accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) or approved by the HCPC. You will also need to successfully complete a period of clinical laboratory training in an IBMS-approved laboratory, where you'll complete the IBMS Registration Training Portfolio.

IBMS-accredited undergraduate biomedical science degrees are offered by universities on a full-time, part-time, sandwich and integrated basis.

Integrated degrees will include a laboratory placement in an IBMS-approved laboratory, during which you'll complete the IBMS Registration Training Portfolio. On successful completion of your degree, you will be awarded an IBMS Certificate of Competence to show you're eligible to apply to the HCPC for registration as a biomedical scientist.

If your IBMS-accredited degree doesn't have an integrated placement, you'll need to arrange a laboratory placement and complete the IBMS Registration Training Portfolio either during a sandwich year or once you've finished your degree.

Alternatively, you can take a BSc (Hons) degree in healthcare science (life sciences) through the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP), which must be accredited by the IBMS or approved by the HCPC if you want to be eligible to apply for registration as a biomedical scientist when you graduate. The degree takes three years, full time and combines academic and work-based learning. Completion of the IBMS Registration Training Portfolio is integral to this programme.

If you're already working in an NHS pathology department and have A-levels or equivalent that include a life science, your employer may support you to complete an accredited degree on a part-time basis or as part of an IBMS-accredited degree apprenticeship programme.

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If your degree isn't accredited by the IBMS, contact them to have your degree assessed and they'll advise on whether or not you need additional academic education. See the IBMS website for a list of accredited degree courses.


You will need to have:

  • practical laboratory skills and manual dexterity
  • analytical skills and the ability to present data in a meaningful way
  • communication and teamwork skills
  • the ability to work alone or under instruction
  • patience and the ability to work accurately and efficiently
  • the ability to prioritise tasks and meet deadlines
  • a willingness to accept responsibility and use common sense
  • flexibility and the ability to work with a range of equipment and techniques
  • the ability to work under pressure while maintaining standards of service
  • attention to detail
  • IT skills.

Work experience

It's worth arranging a visit to a local hospital diagnostic/medical laboratory before applying for degree courses to get a feel for the type of work carried out. A placement or other work experience in a laboratory and evidence of medical interest is useful.

Unless you have taken an integrated biomedical sciences degree, you'll need to arrange a laboratory placement and complete the IBMS Registration Training Portfolio. You can do this either during a sandwich year or once you've finished your degree. Many IBMS-accredited courses will offer a placement or sandwich year as part of their degree course.

The NHS advertises pre-registration roles such as medical laboratory assistant or laboratory technician or you could try to set up your own placement.

Competition for trainee positions is fierce as there are limited opportunities, so check job adverts regularly and contact hospitals directly. Most hospitals will have an approved training laboratory, although this doesn't automatically mean that they will take on a trainee.

You should check with the employer whether their laboratory is approved for training and if you are able to complete the Registration Training Portfolio as part of the job role.

Find out more about the different kinds ofwork experience and internshipsthat are available.


The NHS is one of the main employers of biomedical scientists. Work is generally carried out in clinical pathology laboratories and regional laboratories. You could also work for NHS Blood and Transplant or the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), or in pathology and research laboratories in private sector hospitals.

Other employers include:

There are also opportunities to work on healthcare projects worldwide with international non-governmental and voluntary organisations such as:

Look for jobs vacancies at:

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Vacancies are also advertised in the local, national and specialist press.

Specialist recruitment agencies such as Globe Locums, Maxxima and Mediplacements also advertise vacancies.

Professional development

In the first two years after registering with the HCPC, you'll normally continue your professional development by taking the IBMS Specialist Diploma, a specialised professional qualification. The Diploma is offered in a range of disciplines:

  • cellular pathology
  • cervical cytology
  • clinical biochemistry
  • clinical immunology
  • cytopathology
  • diagnostic cytopathology
  • haematology with hospital transfusion practice
  • histocompatibility and immunogenetics
  • medical microbiology
  • transfusion science
  • virology.

It's also possible to take the IBMS Specialist Diploma in Blood Sciences or the Diploma of Specialist Practice.

You'll need to provide evidence of your training, specialist knowledge, practical skills and competency via a portfolio, presentation, laboratory tour and oral examination.

On completion of the IBMS Specialist Diploma or Diploma of Specialist Practice, you're eligible to become a member of the IBMS (MIBMS).

As your career develops, there are opportunities to take IBMS higher and expert qualifications. These are aimed at biomedical scientists looking to move into management or who want to show advanced skills in their specialist area. At the highest level, you can work towards IBMS Advanced Specialist Diplomas. For details of post-registration professional development opportunities, see IBMS Education.

It's also possible to further your knowledge and expertise via an MSc or PhD.

Members with the highest levels of specialist knowledge, achievement and professional standards are eligible to apply for IBMS Fellowship (FIBMS).

With the right combination of experience, knowledge and skills, you may be eligible for registered scientist (RSci) or chartered scientist (CSci) status through the Science Council. For full registration criteria, see the Science Council professional registers.

Career prospects

Opportunities for career development are generally good. There's a set career structure in place in the NHS and you'll need to show you have the required skills, qualifications, experience and knowledge to progress through the pay bands.

Upon qualification, many biomedical scientists choose to specialise in a particular area of biomedical science and progress to senior and specialist roles. To progress to a grade 6 in the NHS, you'll usually need an IBMS Specialist Diploma. Progression to grade 7 usually requires an MSc or the IBMS Higher Specialist Diploma.

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With further experience and qualifications, it's possible to reach the top of the profession by becoming a consultant biomedical scientist. For more information, see IBMS Career Pathways.

Senior roles often involve managing a team or department within a laboratory, or managing a particular area of service provision such as health and safety, quality management or service delivery. You may also become involved in advanced specialist scientific work, clinical research or training and education. For information about careers in biomedical research, see The Academy of Medical Sciences.

Some biomedical scientists choose a postgraduate route to other clinical roles, such as endocrinology, or you may wish to move into health promotion or the commercial sector in product development or scientific sales and marketing.

Find out how Hannah became a biomedical scientist at BBC Bitesize.


Are biomedical scientists in demand UK? ›

Although job prospects in some specialist areas remain limited, experienced biomedical scientists remain in demand.

Is a biomedical science degree worth it UK? ›

This degree does provide a great foundation for postgraduate medicine. It covers the fundamentals of human biology and discusses the mechanisms behind many diseases and drugs. But there are many other careers that can follow a Biomedical Sciences degree.

What is the scope of biomedical science in UK? ›

It's a dynamic profession with diverse career prospects in management, research, education, advanced roles and specialised laboratory work. UK biomedical scientists are employed in NHS and private sector laboratories.

Does biomedical science pay well UK? ›

With experience and/or specialist knowledge, you can earn a salary of £32,306 to £39,027 (Band 6). As a senior biomedical scientist, you can expect to earn £40,057 to £53,219 (Band 7/8a). Salaries for consultant biomedical scientists, who have reached the top of their profession, are higher.

Is biomedical science harder than medicine? ›

The main difference is that (preclinical) medicine focusses on a lot on anatomy and physiology, clinical relevance, plus there's psychological/social modules, while biomedicine is a lot more biochemistry and cell biology with less anatomy and no psychology/sociology. I do also agree that biomeds have more essays.

What is the next degree after biomedical science? ›

The most popular industries graduates go into are healthcare and natural sciences. Almost half of biomedical sciences graduates go into a sciences-related industry after graduating. Other popular sectors include childcare and education. Further study is another common next step for biomedical sciences graduates.

What jobs can I get with a biomedical science degree UK? ›

Job options
  • Biomedical scientist.
  • Biotechnologist.
  • Clinical research associate.
  • Clinical scientist, biochemistry.
  • Clinical scientist, haematology.
  • Clinical scientist, immunology.
  • Forensic scientist.
  • Microbiologist.

Why is biomedical science so hard? ›

Biomedical Science is one of the most challenging subjects to study because it requires you to cover lots of disciplines, take on difficult laboratory work, and clinical trials, and gain in-depth knowledge of health and medicine.

Is nursing better than biomedical science? ›

Biomedical Science has more stringent educational requirements and standards than Nursing, making it more difficult to enter. In terms of learning demands, biomedicine is more difficult than nursing. In comparison to Biomedical Science, nursing has a better probability of employment security.

Which university is best for biomedical science in UK? ›

  • University of Oxford.
  • The University of Edinburgh.
  • St George's, University of London.
  • Bangor University.
  • Coventry University.
  • Sheffield Hallam University.

Which country is best for biomedical science? ›

top 10 countries to do masters in biomedicine related studies
  • United States of America.
  • Canada.
  • United Kingdom.
  • Russia.
  • Germany.
  • France.
  • Australia.
  • Hong Kong.
11 Jan 2022

How many biomedical scientists are there in the UK? ›

Biomedical scientists are statutory regulated healthcare professionals. There are currently 23,36716 biomedical scientists registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in the UK.

Where do biomedical scientists make the most money? ›

It is also important to consider the average biomedical scientist salary by the industry in which they are employed. There are many pay factors, and the highest-paying industry of employment as of May 2021 was research and development in physical, engineering and life sciences with a median annual salary of $102,210.

Do biomedical scientists work in hospitals? ›

Biomedical scientists carry out a range of laboratory and scientific tests to support the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Operating theatres, accident and emergency (A&E) and many other hospital departments would not function without biomedical scientists.

What is the highest paid job in the UK? ›

43 Highest Paid Jobs in the UK in 2022
  • Chief Executive Officer. Average Salary – £77,711. ...
  • Entrepreneur. Average Salary – £101,000. ...
  • Chief Financial Officer. Average Salary – £97,646. ...
  • Lawyer. Average Salary – £48,414. ...
  • Orthodontist. Average Salary – £77,757. ...
  • Information Technology Manager. ...
  • Cybersecurity Specialist. ...
  • Accountant.

Is biomedical science stressful? ›

Biomedical Sciences is a really intense course and if you aren't having down time away from studying then you are going to burn out. It's much more useful to do 2 hours of productive study than 4 hours of half baked work. If you aren't looking after yourself then your work will suffer for it.

Which is better biotechnology or biomedical science? ›

#1. Biomedical science centres on the “what” while biotechnology focuses on the “how can we fix it” While both biomedical science and biotechnology involve the study of life (hence the prefix bio), the two fields focus on different things. Biomedical science is the study of the human body to prevent and treat diseases.

Which is better biomedical science or biochemistry? ›

Biochemistry is more focused on the microscopic level whereas biomedical science also covers how the human body works as a whole. It's also focused on humans whereas biochemistry often covers plants, other animals, bacteria and viruses as well.

What career can biomedical science lead to? ›

Such opportunities can be fiercely competitive. Biomedical Science is a strong foundation for a broad range of patient and non-patient facing roles in healthcare, including medicine, dentistry, healthcare science, nursing, allied health professions, public health and management.

Does biomedical science pay well? ›

What is the Pay by Experience Level for Biomedical Scientists? An entry-level Biomedical Scientist with less than 1 year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of R137,569 based on 6 salaries.

What are the job opportunities after BSC biomedical science? ›

  • medical coding trainee.
  • medical science.
  • Medical Microbiology.
  • biotechnology.
  • microbiology.
  • Medical Biochemistry.
  • medical coding executive.
  • biomedical.

What biomedical science jobs pay the most UK? ›

Biomedical science jobs
  1. Toxicologist. National average salary: £20,508 per year. ...
  2. Forensic scientist. National average salary: £23,571 per year. ...
  3. Analytical chemist. National average salary: £25,754 per year. ...
  4. Medicinal chemist. ...
  5. Environmental engineer. ...
  6. Genetic counsellor. ...
  7. Medical sales representative. ...
  8. Biomedical scientist.

How much does a trainee biomedical scientist earn? ›

Trainee Biomedical Scientist Salaries in London Area

The average salary for a Trainee Biomedical Scientist is £26,997 in London, UK.

Are biomedical scientists allied health professionals? ›

The range of allied health professions are listed in table 1. Within these, biomedical scientists and clinical scientists are the professions that analyse specimens from patient to provide information to clinicians for diagnosing and treating disease.

How hard is biomedical science degree in UK? ›

It's a really difficult degree, hence why most of the time it leads to a graduate-entry Medicine and Dentistry. Don't be put off though; if you work really hard and pick the right modules (ones you find genuinely interesting) you'll be fine.

Is biomedical science harder than biology? ›

Biomedical science involves critical thinking skills that you apply what you've memorized vs it's application in real world problems. So biomedical science is technically more difficult.

Which is better biomedical science or medicine? ›

#1. Medicine is diagnosing diseases and treating patients while biomedical science is about the research for treatment. Both fields are about saving and improving human life but they go about it in different ways.

Is Biomed harder than nursing? ›

One might be able to make a higher salary in biomedical engineering. Both are fairly technical fields, but biomedical engineering is even more hardcore technical than nursing. Biomedical engineering will require math and physics that you're not likely to need for nursing, even for advanced nursing degrees.

Can a biomedical scientist become a nurse? ›

You would need to study nursing to become any of those as a biomedical science degree doesn't allow you to become a nurse anywhere I'm aware of. That being said, having a biomedical science degree is probably a good indicator that you have what it takes to be successful in nursing school.

Can I do medicine after biomedical science? ›

At certain universities, it's possible to apply for a transfer to Medicine if you're studying Biomedical Science or another similar degree. Some universities also offer the opportunity to be fast-tracked to interview if you apply for Medicine from another degree.

Are biomedical engineers in demand in the UK? ›

Biomedical engineers are in high demand across industries such as healthcare, robotics, diagnostics, and pharmaceutical sectors in the UK.

Does biomedical science pay well? ›

What is the Pay by Experience Level for Biomedical Scientists? An entry-level Biomedical Scientist with less than 1 year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of R137,569 based on 6 salaries.

Where are scientists mainly located in the UK? ›

York, North England

York is home to more than 7,500 science-based businesses including young, pioneering companies and global research giants.

Which course is best after biomedical engineering? ›

What are the specialisations in biomedical engineering?
  • Bioengineering. Bioinformatics. Biomaterials. Biomimetics.
  • Electrical bioengineering. Bionanotechnology.
  • Mechanical bioengineering. Bioinstrumentation. Biomechatronics. Biomechanics.
  • Computational bioengineering.
17 Sept 2021


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