Join TSR now and get all your career questions answeredSign up now
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I have applied to study Biomedical Science at University with the intentionof going into research. I've now realised that actually I'd be happyworking as a NHS biomedical scientist. I would love to become a clinicalscientist, but the STP programme is so competitive, so the chanceof doing that is very slim.


    Also,the problem is I only applied for one accredited degree (which I havean unconditional offer for), but I'm not sure if I want to studythere.


    Isdoing an unaccredited degree and then a top-up degree the bestoption?
    Canyou do the top-up as a long distance course while working?
    Shouldjust I do the accredited degree?

    Also, could I become a biomedical scientist and then apply for the STPprogramme? Would this increase my chances of securing a place?

    I am currently taking a year out, so rejecting all myoffers and applying again next year isn't really an option.

    Iwould really, really appreciate any advice!

    Thank you!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    In your position I would choose the university which is best ranked for your degree and in good standing in terms of employability. I believe it is better to gain a good degree and then top up to become accredited, rather than become accredited with a less competitive degree. This is because a better degree will give you more options should you wish to change your mind down the line, whereas an accredited one could narrow your choices. Of course, the accredited degree may end up being the best possible degree out of your current options, which would be a bonus.

    I think you should still aim to apply for the clinical scientist scheme together with the BMS position so that you gain experience of the process and you never know, you could end up getting it!

    To get into the clinical scientist role requires relevant experience and a competitive CV i believe as you compete against masters and pHD students as well. So by pursuing the BMS route, you would still be achieving relevant experience
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Thank you!

    The accredited degree is at Surrey, which has a good reputation. But the living cost and lack of part-time jobs and the nearest major city being almost an hour away by train, are all worrying me. Also I haven't managed to visit Surrey.

    So, can you do the top-up degree alongside training as a biomedical scientist? Or would I have to do the top-up degree and then apply to become a biomedical scientist?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Strawberrybeach)
    Thank you!

    The accredited degree is at Surrey, which has a good reputation. But the living cost and lack of part-time jobs and the nearest major city being almost an hour away by train, are all worrying me. Also I haven't managed to visit Surrey.

    So, can you do the top-up degree alongside training as a biomedical scientist? Or would I have to do the top-up degree and then apply to become a biomedical scientist?
    The top-up modules would be to compensate for areas you did not cover in your non-accredited degree. This usually takes a year as you build up a portfolio to become accredited. Once accredited, then you can take up a post as a BMS, considering that you are interviewed and offered a place by a department (the hardest part due to competition).

    You should talk to a lecturer or course convenor at Surrey to question them over how successful their graduates have been at securing jobs straight after graduation and what other options graduates go for. This is your chance to find out before you make any concrete decisions.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    I work as a BMS and did an accredited degree myself, from a mid ranking uni. I would personally always choose an accredited degree over a non accredited one, unless there was a significant difference in the quality of the universities, i.e the non accredited course was at a top ranking uni and the accredited one was at a low ranking university.

    Technically you can always do top up modules and get a trainee position after you have graduated, but in reality there are very very few people who manage to do this. The problem is, trainee positions are like gold dust and there are far far too many people with biomedical science degrees who want get trained. We have people phoning our lab regularly begging us to let them work there for a year for free just so they can get trained up.

    That sounds like it would be great deal for the lab manager, someone with a degree working full time for a year for free. However, most labs these days don't have the time or the staff to be able to train more than one person up at a time, some labs don't ever take trainees on, students or graduates. My own lab hasn't taken a student on this year because of staff shortages. It takes a lot of time and effort to train someone to the level required to pass their registration portfolio and a lot of managers just don't think it's worth it even though they essentially get a free full time MLA.

    It's true that you could get a post as an MLA and get trained up that way, but that again depends on whether the lab you're working in is willing to do that. Also, it's important to bear in mind that university students on sandwich placements have to be trained and pass their portfolio within a maximum of 12 months because they go back to university for their final year. The lab signs a contract with the university promising this. If you are taken on as a trainee or as an MLA there's usually no time limit on when you have to be trained by, a girl I work with was taken on as a graduate trainee and it took her almost 4 years to get fully trained and pass her portfolio.

    If you are on an accredited course your university will work with you and local hospitals to help you find a placement, and 9 times out of 10 if you put in the effort and are good in interviews you'll get one. A lot of people on biomed degrees failed to get onto medicine, so they don't want to spend a year working in a lab, they just want to get onto a graduate medicine course. Only 10 people out of 100 actually applied for placements in my year, and almost all of them got one.

    In regards to the clinical scientist scheme, being a registered BMS gives you a massive advantage, you'll have at least 12 months lab experience and the role of a BMS is actually very similar to that of a clinical scientist. I applied to the scheme last year and got 2 out of 3 interviews, I had already accepted a place on another grad scheme though so turned them down (big mistake, but that's another story!).

    Sorry for the long post, I hope it all makes sense. I can only speak for myself and my experiences, but if you're set on becoming a BMS or a clinical scientist I would strongly recommend doing the accredited course and doing a sandwich placement. If you're not so sure or the other universities are much better then I would choose the non accredited course as it's true that a better ranking university will give you an advantage when applying for other grad schemes and jobs. However, I've found that experience, especially when you're applying for science based roles, usually counts for a hell of a lot more than the ranking of your uni, and 12 months lab experience as a trainee BMS is not something to be sniffed at.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by laura130490)
    I work as a BMS and did an accredited degree myself, from a mid ranking uni. I would personally always choose an accredited degree over a non accredited one, unless there was a significant difference in the quality of the universities, i.e the non accredited course was at a top ranking uni and the accredited one was at a low ranking university.

    Technically you can always do top up modules and get a trainee position after you have graduated, but in reality there are very very few people who manage to do this. The problem is, trainee positions are like gold dust and there are far far too many people with biomedical science degrees who want get trained. We have people phoning our lab regularly begging us to let them work there for a year for free just so they can get trained up.

    That sounds like it would be great deal for the lab manager, someone with a degree working full time for a year for free. However, most labs these days don't have the time or the staff to be able to train more than one person up at a time, some labs don't ever take trainees on, students or graduates. My own lab hasn't taken a student on this year because of staff shortages. It takes a lot of time and effort to train someone to the level required to pass their registration portfolio and a lot of managers just don't think it's worth it even though they essentially get a free full time MLA.

    It's true that you could get a post as an MLA and get trained up that way, but that again depends on whether the lab you're working in is willing to do that. Also, it's important to bear in mind that university students on sandwich placements have to be trained and pass their portfolio within a maximum of 12 months because they go back to university for their final year. The lab signs a contract with the university promising this. If you are taken on as a trainee or as an MLA there's usually no time limit on when you have to be trained by, a girl I work with was taken on as a graduate trainee and it took her almost 4 years to get fully trained and pass her portfolio.

    If you are on an accredited course your university will work with you and local hospitals to help you find a placement, and 9 times out of 10 if you put in the effort and are good in interviews you'll get one. A lot of people on biomed degrees failed to get onto medicine, so they don't want to spend a year working in a lab, they just want to get onto a graduate medicine course. Only 10 people out of 100 actually applied for placements in my year, and almost all of them got one.

    In regards to the clinical scientist scheme, being a registered BMS gives you a massive advantage, you'll have at least 12 months lab experience and the role of a BMS is actually very similar to that of a clinical scientist. I applied to the scheme last year and got 2 out of 3 interviews, I had already accepted a place on another grad scheme though so turned them down (big mistake, but that's another story!).

    Sorry for the long post, I hope it all makes sense. I can only speak for myself and my experiences, but if you're set on becoming a BMS or a clinical scientist I would strongly recommend doing the accredited course and doing a sandwich placement. If you're not so sure or the other universities are much better then I would choose the non accredited course as it's true that a better ranking university will give you an advantage when applying for other grad schemes and jobs. However, I've found that experience, especially when you're applying for science based roles, usually counts for a hell of a lot more than the ranking of your uni, and 12 months lab experience as a trainee BMS is not something to be sniffed at.
    I'm not 100% set on any career if I'm honest. Until recently I really wanted to work in research, but the more I think about it and talk to my friends that are currently at uni, the less certain I become. I'd love to have a science related career, but if I'm honest, I think I'd be happy just having an ok paying, fairly stable job (the type where you have to be sensible with your money, but you should be able to afford a cheap-ish weeks holiday in Cornwall/Devon/Wales/etc.) Maybe it's because I'm on a kind of gap year (it's not a proper gap year, I took it because I did re-sits and so my actual A-level grades are higher than what I was predicted. So, my uni offers are better than if I had applied with my predicted grades), and the only jobs I could get was with an agency. So, I have very little work and far too much time to think. But I'm going off topic.

    I know that a few people at the unis I have offers from have managed to get onto the STP programme - a few directly, and one via becoming a MLA, doing a top-up degree and then applying. But these are just a few people and so I can't rely on that.

    All the unis I have applied to give you the option of doing a placement year, but this is with research labs, not the NHS. Although Surrey (which does an accredited biomedical degree) seems to be placing people in research labs and not with the NHS. Is it possible to do a placement in an NHS lab, if you are doing a non-accredited degree? (I'm guessing the answer is no)

    I know Newcastle, who I have an unconditional offer off, have a scheme where students can apply to work as part-time lab assistants in there labs, during the 2nd year of their degree, but whether that is relevant or not I don't know. I also know that Bristol, who I also have an unconditional offer off, have placed people with departments in hospitals for their research projects, but again whether this is relevant or not I don't know.

    As I said I would love a career in science, but I am no longer 100% sure what I want to do. Although being a biomedical scientist or clinical scientist does appeal to me. I'm just really not sure, if I want to accept the place at Surrey (or Sheffield Hallam (I'd forgotten that's accredited)). They were my back up options, should Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield have rejected me.

    What university did you go to, if you don't mind me asking? Feel free to tell me to stop being nosey, if you don't want to say.

    Thanks for the advice! I really, really appreciate it!
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Strawberrybeach)
    I'm not 100% set on any career if I'm honest. Until recently I really wanted to work in research, but the more I think about it and talk to my friends that are currently at uni, the less certain I become. I'd love to have a science related career, but if I'm honest, I think I'd be happy just having an ok paying, fairly stable job (the type where you have to be sensible with your money, but you should be able to afford a cheap-ish weeks holiday in Cornwall/Devon/Wales/etc.) Maybe it's because I'm on a kind of gap year (it's not a proper gap year, I took it because I did re-sits and so my actual A-level grades are higher than what I was predicted. So, my uni offers are better than if I had applied with my predicted grades), and the only jobs I could get was with an agency. So, I have very little work and far too much time to think. But I'm going off topic.

    I know that a few people at the unis I have offers from have managed to get onto the STP programme - a few directly, and one via becoming a MLA, doing a top-up degree and then applying. But these are just a few people and so I can't rely on that.

    All the unis I have applied to give you the option of doing a placement year, but this is with research labs, not the NHS. Although Surrey (which does an accredited biomedical degree) seems to be placing people in research labs and not with the NHS. Is it possible to do a placement in an NHS lab, if you are doing a non-accredited degree? (I'm guessing the answer is no)

    I know Newcastle, who I have an unconditional offer off, have a scheme where students can apply to work as part-time lab assistants in there labs, during the 2nd year of their degree, but whether that is relevant or not I don't know. I also know that Bristol, who I also have an unconditional offer off, have placed people with departments in hospitals for their research projects, but again whether this is relevant or not I don't know.

    As I said I would love a career in science, but I am no longer 100% sure what I want to do. Although being a biomedical scientist or clinical scientist does appeal to me. I'm just really not sure, if I want to accept the place at Surrey (or Sheffield Hallam (I'd forgotten that's accredited)). They were my back up options, should Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield have rejected me.

    What university did you go to, if you don't mind me asking? Feel free to tell me to stop being nosey, if you don't want to say.

    Thanks for the advice! I really, really appreciate it!
    As far as I'm aware you can't do a placement year in an NHS lab if you're on a non accredited course, I may be wrong though. Any experience in labs is great for your CV (and the STP scheme) as it's so hard to get decent relevant work experience. Within the NHS there are issues with CRB checks, staff shortages, health and safety etc which means most labs won't let people come in for work experience. So if you were to gain work experience in research or university labs you'd be at a big advantage compared to most science grads.

    As far as you wanting a career in science with a decent wage, I can only speak for the NHS, but you won't earn more than 20K unless you're a BMS or clinical scientist. In labs there's a fairly rigid job hierarchy, at the bottom is an MLA which can be anything from band 2 to band 4. The top of band 4 is around 20K I think, then it's BMS's who are band 5-7 then lab managers who are band 8. Clinical scientist are band 6 as trainees, band 7 qualified and can go up to band 9 I think. Take a look at this http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/explore...science-staff/

    Without a PhD or masters pay is relatively low in the private sector, lower than the NHS I think. It all depends on where you see yourself working, if it's the NHS I'd say definitely go for the accredited course. If you see yourself in a private company or doing research then go for the highest ranking uni and try to get as much lab experience as possible, especially involving research.

    I went to Coventry uni, it's not a bad uni, but it's not amazing either. I have no complaints about it, and I wouldn't be where I am now with all the experience I have if I didn't go there
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by laura130490)
    As far as I'm aware you can't do a placement year in an NHS lab if you're on a non accredited course, I may be wrong though. Any experience in labs is great for your CV (and the STP scheme) as it's so hard to get decent relevant work experience. Within the NHS there are issues with CRB checks, staff shortages, health and safety etc which means most labs won't let people come in for work experience. So if you were to gain work experience in research or university labs you'd be at a big advantage compared to most science grads.

    As far as you wanting a career in science with a decent wage, I can only speak for the NHS, but you won't earn more than 20K unless you're a BMS or clinical scientist. In labs there's a fairly rigid job hierarchy, at the bottom is an MLA which can be anything from band 2 to band 4. The top of band 4 is around 20K I think, then it's BMS's who are band 5-7 then lab managers who are band 8. Clinical scientist are band 6 as trainees, band 7 qualified and can go up to band 9 I think. Take a look at this http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/explore...science-staff/

    Without a PhD or masters pay is relatively low in the private sector, lower than the NHS I think. It all depends on where you see yourself working, if it's the NHS I'd say definitely go for the accredited course. If you see yourself in a private company or doing research then go for the highest ranking uni and try to get as much lab experience as possible, especially involving research.

    I went to Coventry uni, it's not a bad uni, but it's not amazing either. I have no complaints about it, and I wouldn't be where I am now with all the experience I have if I didn't go there

    do you have any links, videos or example lectures about biomedicine you can share? I'm an AS level student who is aspirin to delve into cancer research some day
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by laura130490)
    As far as I'm aware you can't do a placement year in an NHS lab if you're on a non accredited course, I may be wrong though. Any experience in labs is great for your CV (and the STP scheme) as it's so hard to get decent relevant work experience. Within the NHS there are issues with CRB checks, staff shortages, health and safety etc which means most labs won't let people come in for work experience. So if you were to gain work experience in research or university labs you'd be at a big advantage compared to most science grads.

    As far as you wanting a career in science with a decent wage, I can only speak for the NHS, but you won't earn more than 20K unless you're a BMS or clinical scientist. In labs there's a fairly rigid job hierarchy, at the bottom is an MLA which can be anything from band 2 to band 4. The top of band 4 is around 20K I think, then it's BMS's who are band 5-7 then lab managers who are band 8. Clinical scientist are band 6 as trainees, band 7 qualified and can go up to band 9 I think. Take a look at this http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/explore...science-staff/

    Without a PhD or masters pay is relatively low in the private sector, lower than the NHS I think. It all depends on where you see yourself working, if it's the NHS I'd say definitely go for the accredited course. If you see yourself in a private company or doing research then go for the highest ranking uni and try to get as much lab experience as possible, especially involving research.

    I went to Coventry uni, it's not a bad uni, but it's not amazing either. I have no complaints about it, and I wouldn't be where I am now with all the experience I have if I didn't go there
    Ok, thank you! I really appreciate all the advice though!

    I'm really not sure if I'm honest. I think I'm just going to have to have a think about it. I suppose I have until early May to make my uni choice.

    Coventry is suppose to be alright. It's not far from where I live, actually. And as long as you're happy that's all that matters.

    Btw, how do you find working a biomedical scientist? Do you have to work lots of night shifts and weekends, or is it more days shifts with the odd night/weekend shifts throw in? Does it vary dramatically from department to department? Does it ever get really, really boring and tedious?

    Thanks again!
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Strawberrybeach)
    Ok, thank you! I really appreciate all the advice though!

    I'm really not sure if I'm honest. I think I'm just going to have to have a think about it. I suppose I have until early May to make my uni choice.

    Coventry is suppose to be alright. It's not far from where I live, actually. And as long as you're happy that's all that matters.

    Btw, how do you find working a biomedical scientist? Do you have to work lots of night shifts and weekends, or is it more days shifts with the odd night/weekend shifts throw in? Does it vary dramatically from department to department? Does it ever get really, really boring and tedious?

    Thanks again!
    I work mon-fri 9 until half 5 in haematology. Our lab is 24/7 so when I'm fully trained I'll be expected to work nights and weekends etc. Not looking forward to that at all tbh, but hoping to be on the STP by then! I personally find that the work gets very repetitive, but as I only started work in November I haven't had most of my training yet (staffing issues again!) so I'm just doing pretty basic stuff, the same stuff I did when I was a student tbh.

    I know I don't want to stay a BMS forever, the money is okay and jobs are fairly stable, but I find the work quite boring. I'd like to work with patients or get involved in research, so I'm really hoping I can get a place training as a clinical scientist. Some people prefer routine though and don't like learning and doing knew things, so the job suits them. I think it just depends on the type of person you are. I get bored quickly and love learning, so I'm not happy to be doing the same stuff day in day out for the rest of my life.

    The shifts and type of work you do varies hugely between departments, none of the other departments work nights, most are only open from 8/9am and close around 6pm. Weekend work is common, but usually only one or two staff members come in, so you wouldn't have to work every weekend. If I were you I'd try and get trained in clinical chemistry/haematology, always seems to be jobs going in those departments. There doesn't tend to be many jobs advertised for microbiology for some reason, and there are talks of dropping the bands of the histology BMS' because they do very little interpretation, so in theory MLA's could do the vast majority of their work.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Ermm im in sort a similar position as the OP.

    Would it be possible to transfer from a biomedical scientist to a clinical scientist?

    Or would i be better off doing a post grad degree ?(e.g. Microbiology)
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ViolentMind)
    Ermm im in sort a similar position as the OP.

    Would it be possible to transfer from a biomedical scientist to a clinical scientist?

    Or would i be better off doing a post grad degree ?(e.g. Microbiology)
    You can't transfer as such, you would have to obtain a training place post grad or get a place on the STP.

    If you want to become a clinical scientist I would just apply straight after your degree, I wouldn't do a masters degree. It's not necessary as you do one when you're training to be a clinical scientist. Also, having a masters degree, but not being a registered BMS or clinical scientist doesn't put you in any better position NHS wise as someone with a BSc. You'd still have to apply for training places or work as an MLA.

    If you want to go into research or work in private labs then an MSc will definitely put you at an advantage.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by laura130490)
    You can't transfer as such, you would have to obtain a training place post grad or get a place on the STP.

    If you want to become a clinical scientist I would just apply straight after your degree, I wouldn't do a masters degree. It's not necessary as you do one when you're training to be a clinical scientist. Also, having a masters degree, but not being a registered BMS or clinical scientist doesn't put you in any better position NHS wise as someone with a BSc. You'd still have to apply for training places or work as an MLA.

    If you want to go into research or work in private labs then an MSc will definitely put you at an advantage.


    My course is accredited.


    Would getting a training place be extremely competitive?
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by ViolentMind)
    My course is accredited.


    Would getting a training place be extremely competitive?
    As a clinical scientist? Yes, it's extremely competitive. I think they average about 30 to 40 applicants per post.

    If your course is accredited then you'll need to do a placement year and pass your registration portfolio before you can work as a BMS (sorry already know this!), I'd definitely do this whilst you're at uni and not try to do it afterwards. Trainee BMS positions for graduates rarely ever come up.

    I also wouldn't bother doing a masters until you have at least two or three years experience post grad as a BMS. Because although you may have a masters, without the experience you'll still have to work your way up from a band 5. It's better to do your masters part time whilst working part time as a BMS band 6 then once you've got your masters apply for band 7 posts.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by lilyobz)
    do you have any links, videos or example lectures about biomedicine you can share? I'm an AS level student who is aspirin to delve into cancer research some day
    Youtube has some really good lectures on there. I used them a lot with my revision. I didn't choose the cancer biology module in my final year, so I don't know an awful lot about it tbh. But just to give you some examples of the types of things you'll be learning and the depth of knowledge here are some videos and a website I used for revision in my final year.

    http://www.insidecancer.org/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Non4MkYQpYA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bNN95sA6-8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teV62zrm2P0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szlfndj0TFE
 
 
 
Poll
Should MenACWY vaccination be compulsory at uni?
Useful resources

Quick links:

Unanswered Health and Emergency services Threads

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.