Training in chemical pathology

To work as a consultant in chemical pathology – also known as clinical biochemistry – you can begin your career as a medical doctor or as a clinical scientist. Medically-qualified doctors need to complete specialty training in chemical pathology, later specialising in metabolic medicine. Scientists need to complete Higher Specialty Specific Training (HSST) training in chemical pathology to become a consultant clinical scientist.

The medical route

What are the entry requirements?

Trainees are eligible for entry to a chemical pathology training programme following satisfactory completion of any one of the following post-foundation core training programmes and appropriate postgraduate diploma, whose clinical experience will closely mirror the range of clinical specialties supported by chemical pathologists and chemical pathology services:

  • Two years of Stage 1 Internal Medicine plus MRCP(UK)
  • Core paediatric training plus MRCPCH
  • Core GP training plus MRCGP
  • Broad-based training plus completion of core training in one of the above specialties and the relevant postgraduate diploma
  • Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) plus FRCA part 1 or MRCP(UK)
  • Core anaesthetic training plus FRCA part 1

How long will it take?

The indicative length of training for chemical pathology is five years, following foundation and core training.

What will my training cover?

Trainees in the specialty will initially develop knowledge of laboratory work, together with supervised clinical liaison and validation of results, and direct clinical care. Following completion of the Fellowship Examination of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath) Part 1 examination (typically after 18–24 months of training), they will continue to develop their skills in the laboratory (including assessment of new tests and guideline development) and in direct patient care, with greater responsibility and less direct supervision; they will also develop involvement in the laboratory. After passing the FRCPath Part 2 examination, trainees will continue to develop their skills with support; they may also develop a specialist interest.

Find out more about specialty training in chemical pathology.

What exams will I need to take?

  • FRCPath Part 1 in Clinical Biochemistry – this aims to determine whether you have successfully acquired a core body of knowledge that will underpin your ability to practise in clinical biochemistry.
  • FRCPath Part 2 in Clinical Biochemistry – this is designed to test your practical skills and understanding and show that you can apply your expertise appropriately and safely.

For further information about the format of exams, visit our exams pages.

The science route

To train to be a consultant clinical scientist specialising in chemical pathology, you’ll first need to become a qualified clinical scientist. You can then enter Higher Specialty Specific Training (HSST) in chemical pathology.