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    Really confused about the difference here.
    So from what I can tell, HCS graduates are fully accredited by the IMBS and HCPC, but BMS graduates aren't and have to do more to get to the same position. To work in an NHS lab, you need both, right?
    Forgive me if this seems small minded, but surely that makes HCS "better" for an individual, as you can enter the field you want to be in a lot more quickly?
    If this is so, what really confuses me is the entry requirements, because HCS seem on average lower than BMS, and HCS is at far fewer universities than BMS.
    If someone could shed some light on this I'd really appreciate it.
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    I have studied on HCS so I will deal with your questions.

    Firstly, some BMS courses are IBMS accredited. In order to act as a Biomedical Scientist (a registered title referring to those who work in the NHS) you need to be registered by the HCPC. To do so you complete a portfolio in which a component is having an IBMS accredited degree. You can do an IBMS accredited BMS degree and do your HCPC portfolio whilst working as a Band 2 lab assistant in a laboratory but this is obviously a longer route.

    Both BMS and HCS courses are 3-year courses. HCPC registration is only required to work in NHS laboratories at Band 5 (Biomedical Scientist) or above. The roles within the laboratory go Band 5 (Biomedical Scientist) > Band 6 (Specialist Biomedical Scientist) > Band 7 (Senior Biomedical Scientist) > Band 8A (Chief Biomedical Scientist).

    HCS is better if you want to work in NHS laboratories since you will graduate in a state ready to work as a Band 5 in a NHS laboratory. The structure of the course includes a 10 week summer rotation placement in Year 1. You will rotate around various pathology disciplines. Your Year 2 and Year 3 placements join each other. Year 2 is a 15 week placement during the summer that will lead onto your Year 3 placement which is roughly 4 days a week during the Year 3 academic year. HCS is hard work due to this. You do have to be organised. You may be travelling to your placement. You have the commitment of your portfolio to complete. You do your project (not a dissertation) to complete which is done in the workplace.

    HCS is at fewer Universities because it is newer. About 4 years ago only University of Bradford and University of Bristol ran it and before that only Bradford. It's spread.

    A common misconception is that you are limiting yourself to the NHS if you do this degree. As I believe you allude to, this is not true. I know people that have gone on to do graduate-entry medicine, physician's associate, STP, non-science work, research, private labs etc. Essentially the only issue with doing HCS if you choose not to work in the NHS is that you've probably done some work that you really didn't need to, granted you will have accumulated a years worth of lab experience at a good standard which looks look on your CV, as will the HCPC certificate of competence.

    I'm actually surprised to hear about the entry requirements. Not that I've looked around since HCS spread its wings to other Universities, but at my University it was, and still is, 20 UCAS points higher in requirements. I think you have to remember a lot of Universities set their UCAS points based on demand. If their BMS course is popular they will increase the UCAS points to help them filter the students. My universities BMS course was, I must say, full of a lot of people who went to university because their parents made them and weren't of a particular academic mindset which probably contributed to the lower UCAS points.
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    Thank you!

    One more thing though, is getting onto HCS particularity difficult? I'd imagine that, because they can't exactly be having hundreds of students in a lab, the ratio of applications to places would be quite high.


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    (Original post by UnicornFlesh)
    Thank you!

    One more thing though, is getting onto HCS particularity difficult? I'd imagine that, because they can't exactly be having hundreds of students in a lab, the ratio of applications to places would be quite high.


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    You are right, places are limited by the amount of placements available. On my course there were 10 places. 6 got in via direct UCAS entry and then they offered places to the BSc Biomedical Science students in the December of Year 1. By that point the courses had still been identical so there was no issue.

    My route into the course was not traditional it was an internal transfer but just cover the basics, know about the career, NHS pathology etc.
 
 
 
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