To become a Healthcare Scientist you need to attend University to complete an accredited BSc (Hons) in healthcare science. This can be undertaken either as a full-time degree or as an apprenticeship at level 6, offered by some employers, particularly if already working as a healthcare science assistant or associate
Entry requirements for healthcare science degree courses vary because each university sets its own entry criteria. You are likely to need two or three A-levels (or equivalent level three qualifications) including one or two science subjects or maths, plus supporting GCSEs.
Contact universities directly to find out whether qualifications equivalent to A-levels and GCSEs are acceptable.
Healthcare Science Assistants and Associates
There are no set entry requirements to become a healthcare science assistant. However employers usually expect good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs, or equivalent level 2 vocational qualification.
You may be able to enter a Healthcare Science Assistant role through an apprenticeship at Level 2 and/or an apprenticeship at Level 4 to become an Associate.
For healthcare science associate positions, you’re likely to need A levels (including at least one science) or relevant level 3 vocational qualifications in healthcare science and some relevant experience of working in healthcare science. Level 4 apprenticeships for healthcare science associates have been approved.
To become a Pharmacist you will need to attend University, complete a Foundation Training Year in the workplace and then sit a registration assessment set by the pharmacy regulator. There are four routes to entry:
- An initial four-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree, followed by the foundation training year in the workplace
- A five-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree including a pharmacy foundation degree, followed by the foundation training year
- A five-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree including a preparatory year, followed by the foundation training year
- A five-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree) with the foundation training year in the workplace incorporated
Entry requirements for pharmacy degree courses vary because each university sets its own entry criteria, but you are likely to need three A-levels or equivalent qualifications at level 3, plus supporting GCSEs. Contact universities directly to find out whether qualifications equivalent to A-levels or GCSEs are acceptable.
You need to aim for as high grades at A-level or equivalent as possible. Courses specify certain subjects such as chemistry, and perhaps biology or another science subject, or maths.
Like the healthcare science assistant there are no set entry requirements to work as a pharmacy assistant, though on-the-job training to meet pharmacy regulatory standards must be undertaken within three months of starting the role. You may be able to enter a pharmacy assistant role through an apprenticeship at Level 2.
Employers usually expect good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications.
Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in a customer service role.
To practice as a pharmacy technician, you have to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). To qualify as a pharmacy technician, you need to complete a GPhC-approved integrated competency and knowledge-based qualification/course, and two-years consecutive work-based experience under the supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. This can be undertaken through a Level 3 apprenticeship.
To apply for a course, you need to be working in a pharmacy. Employers, including the NHS, offer jobs for trainee or apprentice pharmacy technicians.
Employers usually ask for at least 4 GCSEs (9-4/A*-C), including English, maths and two science or equivalent qualifications. It will help your application if you can show that you have an understanding of pharmacy and how it benefits patients.