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IBMS certificate of competence by equivalence

Alan Wainwright of the IBMS on the equivalence route through which practitioners can apply for HCPC registration as biomedical scientists.

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We are pleased to have received a good response and a large number of applications, but the process has highlighted one fundamental misunderstanding about this route (particularly for those involved in research) and the requirements for registration as a biomedical scientist. The following points are to highlight that this is not a shortcut to registration and is only for those who are already experienced practitioners working in biomedical science and for whom registration as a biomedical scientist is appropriate.

  1. Registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a biomedical scientist is not discipline-specific and requires a threshold level of knowledge that is generic across all of the key pathology disciplines. Knowledge of only one discipline is insufficient.
  2. This route allows those with an honours degree, working at a level commensurate to a registered biomedical scientist to demonstrate they meet the standards of proficiency through knowledge and experience already acquired. i.e. they are competent to practice but have not demonstrated they meet the HCPC biomedical scientist standards of proficiency.
  3. This route differs from other IBMS routes to HCPC registration in that there should be little need for further training. If there are shortfalls in the wider knowledge of the biomedical science disciplines this route has the flexibility for candidates to address this through self-directed study or focused training, without the need to gain further academic qualifications.
  4. Applicants must identify a mentor who can guide them in the completion of their portfolio and access to a laboratory approved by the IBMS for pre-registration training for the completion of any outstanding learning.
  5. Candidates are expected to be able to provide the bulk of evidence that they meet the HCPC standards of proficiency based on their qualifications, experience and current scope of practice (i.e. experiential learning that enables them to be competent in their current scope of practice).
  6. If there is a shortfall in specific areas of practice or knowledge, this will need to be addressed through further training or learning in a laboratory approved by the IBMS for pre-registration training. The length of training will depend on the candidate’s knowledge and skills base, but the portfolio must be completed within 12 months of being accepted onto the programme.
  7. The training staff within the host IBMS-approved laboratory will assess your competency in the same way that they do with their trainees undertaking conventional training.
  8. It is also possible for some of this to be done via self-directed learning, but there must be evidence of assessment of knowledge. It is not sufficient to simply state “I understand…” or “I know how to…”.

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