NHS Careers > Explore by career > Healthcare science > Careers in healthcare science > Careers in physiological sciences > Vascular science

Vascular science

Healthcare scientists working in vascular science use ultrasound and other non-invasive techniques to image and assess the blood flow of patients with diseases of the arteries and veins. These examinations are often the only investigation carried out before a surgical intervention, making this a role with much responsibility.

It's likely that you will be based in a hospital or clinic, although some preventative work and screening takes place in GP surgeries. Investigations are usually carried out in dedicated departments but also on wards,  in theatre and intensive care.

You will work with both in-patients and outpatients, particularly the elderly, and those with disabilities and serious illnesses.

Healthcare scientists working in vascular science work as part of a team which includes, specialist nurses, radiologists, medical consultants and surgeons

As a healthcare scientist in vascular science, you will investigate patients to assist in the diagnosis of disorders, including: 

  • transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • stroke
  • aneurysm
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • deep vein thrombosis
  • varicose veins

Most vascular investigations are carried out using ultrasound machines. These transmit high-frequency sounds waves into a patient's body for interpretation.

In addition, you will use other equipment to measure circulation in the brain, limbs and vital organs.

You will also need to:

  • prepare patients for examination
  • explain procedures
  • review the patient's medical records
  • interpret results and write reports

Healthcare science staff often work at the forefront of research and innovation, so that patients are continually receiving the very best healthcare. For example, in vascular science, healthcare science staff are involved in the further development of non-invasive procedures to assess blood flow, and in the development of advanced wound healing techniques and products.

Skills required

To work in vascular science you will need good verbal and written communication skills; an aptitude for science plus an interest in physiology and medicine; effective people skills; a willingness to take on a high level of responsibility and an ability to work in a team.

Some patients may be incapacitated, and so you will need to demonstrate empathy and patience.

You will also need to be confident with technology and systems/processes.

You can develop a career in vascular science in a variety of areas, including research, management and education.

If you work in a role with responsibility for resources (such as staff, budgets or equipment) you must have good leadership skills and be able to use your initiative within the remit of your job role.

More information on the skills required to work in healthcare science.

Entry points and requirements

There are two entry points into this area of work.

  • As a healthcare scientist, after a relevant degree (at a minimum of a 2:1 classification or a 2:2 with appropriate postgraduate qualifications), by applying for a place on the graduate-entry NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP), specialising in vascular science.  
  • As a consultant healthcare scientist, after gaining postgraduate qualifications and/or considerable relevant experience through Higher Specialist Scientific Training (HSST).  

Training and education programmes

The education and training you will take, will depend upon the level at which you are working.

Programmes are often supported by the development of workplace-based assessment tools, assessment of equivalent learning and the development of academic careers.

You will be expected to do 'Continuing Professional Development' (CPD) to show that you are keeping yourself up to date with the policies and procedures in your area of work.  

It can be advantageous to have gained some experience of working in a relevant environment before applying for a place on a course or job vacancy. Experience of direct contact with the public - particularly in a caring capacity could be particularly useful.


Many healthcare science roles require registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). For those parts of the workforce not regulated by the HCPC, professional voluntary registers are in operation.

For registration as a Clinical Scientist individuals must hold an Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) Certificate of Attainment granted upon completion of the MSC Scientist Training Programme or AHCS Certificate of Equivalence.  

You can find out more about the Academy's Certificates on its website:  www.ahcs.ac.uk

Please check individual job vacancy details for information when applying.


For information about pay for staff working in healthcare science, please click here.

Further information

For further information about a career in vascular science please contact:

Society for Vascular Technology
Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London. WC2A 3PE

Email: office@svtgbi.org.uk
Tel: 0207 973 0306