I recently completed the process for registration with the Science Council as a science technician (RSciTech), and thought I’d share my experience for the benefit of other technicians considering applying. Some background on the register – the Science Council has had a professional registration scheme (chartered scientist) scheme running since 2004; registered scientist and registered science technician followed in 2012. There are at the time of writing 29 different professional societies that are licenced under the scheme.
I am often asked the question, “are you applying for postdoc positions?” or “how long do you think you will be a technician?”. Although I’ve never ruled out going into an academic position, I chose to become a technician; I’m not here because I failed to find work as an academic – this is often the assumption people make. I was thinking about ways to convey this to others, particularly on my CV. When I heard about the scheme via our regional HeATED network, joining the Science Council register of science technicians seemed an obvious move.
I applied via the Institute of Science & Technology (IST). I would have preferred to apply via a more specialist society or institute (like the Royal Geographical Society), but the IST seemed the most relevant body that is licenced. The application with the IST is pretty strait forward – become a member, and apply with a CV, CPD training records, copies of qualifications, and complete the competencies questionnaire – this is best completed with reference to the guidance and example documents at hand. Two references are also required. The application is assessed by fellows of the institute, and a decision is made, including guidance and advice if the application is unsuccessful.
It didn’t take me long to complete – I spent an evening reading through the guidance notes, and managed to draft it all on a rainy Sunday afternoon, although I did then spend a few evenings the following week proof-reading and tweaking the application. In hindsight, I wonder whether I should have applied for registration as a scientist; having subsequently read through the specifications, this might be more aligned with my current position. It’s something I’m going to consider re-applying for next year, as a submission of CPD records is required annually anyway to retain registration. The Science Council website www.professionalregisters.org has a short questionnaire that can tell you quickly if, and for what, you may be eligible for.