Clinical scientist

Clinical scientists research and develop techniques and equipment to help prevent, diagnose and treat illness.

Annual Salary

£26,250 to £99,500

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 3% more Clinical scientist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Your duties will depend on your specific role, but may involve:

  • interpreting test results and suggesting treatments to doctors
  • researching, developing and testing new methods of diagnosis and treatment
  • giving doctors advice on buying and using commercial products and equipment

You’ll focus on physiological sciences, life sciences or medical physics and clinical engineering.

In physiological sciences, you’re more likely to work directly with patients in audiology, cardiac physiology, or investigating how an organ functions to diagnose abnormalities and find ways of improving a patient's wellbeing.

In life sciences, you could work in one of the following branches:

  • embryology – researching infertility, including IVF treatment, egg retrieval and assisted reproduction
  • pathology – investigating the cause and progression of illness, or reason for death
  • genetics – studying cells to check for inherited diseases
  • haematology – analysing, diagnosing and monitoring blood-based disorders

In medical physics and clinical engineering, you’ll be involved in:

  • designing and developing instruments to monitor and treat patients
  • creating new ways to treat and diagnose illness
  • making sure complex equipment is set up and used correctly

You’ll need:

If you don’t have a degree level qualification, you can enter clinical science in the NHS at practitioner level by applying for the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP).

Health Careers has more information on how to become a clinical scientist.

£26,250 to £99,500

Starter salary: £26,250 to £35,250

Experienced salary: £31,250 to £41,250

Salaries in the private sector could be higher.

These figures are a guide.


You’ll usually work around 37.5 hours a week. You may have to work evenings or weekends as part of an on-call rota.

You’ll be based in a hospital, clinic or laboratory setting. You may need to travel to other hospitals to meet with other scientists.

You’ll wear protective clothing when working with hazardous substances and radiation.

With experience, you could move into management or teaching.

You could also go on to study for a PhD or apply for the NHS Higher Specialist Scientific Training Programme (HSST).

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to concentrate for long periods
  • an enquiring mind and good problem solving skills
  • excellent communication skills 
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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