In the RAF
'After Basic Training at RAF Halton, I was posted to Fort Blockhouse, Gosport to undertake a 6 month Basic Biomedical Science Course. On completion, I was posted to the Department of Healthcare Education, based at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham. I undertook a part time BSc in Biomedical Science over 3 years at De Montfort University, Leicester, whilst undertaking placements at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. These placements covered the core Military Biomedical Scientist areas – Clinical Biochemistry, Haematology, Blood Transfusion and Microbiology. When I graduated, I completed my registration portfolio and registered as a Biomedical Scientist with the Health and Care Professions Council. Following this, I was posted to Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit Portsmouth.
I really enjoy the role that the Biomedical Scientists play within the RAF Medical Services and it has allowed me to concentrate on the areas that I enjoy – I have started my Institute of Biomedical Science Specialist Portfolio in Haematology and Transfusion. The multi-disciplined training is essential as it allows me to be an autonomous practitioner'.
'As a multi-disciplined Biomedical Scientist, I am able to rotate through the departments as required – at present I am in Haematology and Transfusion so I can complete my IBMS Specialist Portfolio.
My routine day varies enormously. I can be working on the bench one day, the next, organising meetings, training days or undertaking adventurous training in Wales. I am a keen Hockey player and have represented the RAF, competing in the annual Inter-Services Competition – being able to do what I love in work is fantastic!'
Hannah, Biomedical Scientist
Recruit Training (Phase 1)
You start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment.
Whilst working in the laboratory, you will study for a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science at a nearby university and complete your Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) portfolio to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You will then undertake a 16-week Military Biomedical Science course at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham.
Additional Qualification Opportunities
As a BMS, you will have extensive opportunities for further professional development, including the IBMS Specialist Portfolio, the British Blood Transfusion Society (BBTS) Certificate and MSc degree.
Ongoing Training/Development Opportunities
You need to maintain your registration with the HCPC by participating in Continual Professional Development. Your First Tour Your first tour will be to a Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit within an NHS hospital. You will work in a small team of military BMSs so that you gain confidence and experience.
Your Future Career Prospects/Progression
You join the RAF for a period of 12 years with effect from 1 April 15. After one years total service you will be promoted to Senior Aircraftman and be eligible for promotion to Corporal on successful completion of your degree and HCPC registration. Qualified entrants will be promoted to Senior Aircraftman following completion of Basic Recruit Training Course and promoted to Corporal on first day of productive service. Promotion to corporal and sergeant is on a time promotion basis, subject to the completion of service courses.
The graduate and postgraduate qualifications you earn are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF – so should you decide to leave the RAF, you will be well placed to find a job as a civilian BMS.
Unqualified:5 GCSEs at Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) or SCE Standard Grade 2/Scottish National 5 minimum or equivalent in English language, Mathematics, biology or human biology, physics and chemistry.
Minimum of 112 UCAS points at A level (including at least one science subject) or equivalent. Please note: the RAF does not accept A levels in Critical Thinking or General Studies at any grade. Other qualifications may be acceptable, eg BTEC.
Qualified: An appropriate, IBMS accredited honours degree. Candidates must be HCPC State registered Biomedical Scientists.
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To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency, and other criteria detailed below.