The Higher Training Scheme (HTS) is a modular, in-service professional development scheme designed to enable individuals to acquire the required depth and breadth of knowledge and competence to fulfil the needs of specialist and advanced practitioners (at Health Care Scientist career framework (HCSF) levels 6 and 7) within Audiology.
The HTS aims to build on the skills audiologists already have, but to train them to a higher level to enable them to work in specialist clinical areas such as paediatrics, vestibular assessment, and tinnitus counselling.
The HTS is designed so that an individual can access the modules relevant to their role and development needs at any stage of their career. The BAA will award a certificate to individuals who successfully complete a module.
“This has produced high quality practitioners who are ‘ready to go’ and both clinically competent as well as have the underlying knowledge to help lead the profession forwards”
As the HTS is a scheme designed to provide specialist training for healthcare scientists in audiology to obtain advanced qualifications in specific clinical areas, individual standalone HTS modules can be completed in line with a candidates personal and departmental developmental needs. Therefore, it should be seen as a formalised career development route for currently practising clinicians, providing a formally assessed and recognised standardised route for demonstration of clinical competency. It is therefore ideal for departments to use when training staff.
Current modules in 2021 include:
Modules are under continuous review.
The scheme comprises a number of different clinical modules, listed above. Members can complete individual modules or a series, according to individual and / or service needs. Successful completion of a module results in the ‘Higher Training Scheme Award’ in the particular specialist area.
It is necessary for all candidates to broaden their knowledge base and to demonstrate the necessary underpinning theoretical knowledge together with critical appraisal and reasoning skills in order for them to operate at a specialist or advanced level. This knowledge and skills should be at Masters level. Each module specification gives the required knowledge and skills. The candidate is expected to gain the theoretical knowledge through academic study, tutorials, self study and discussion. Candidates must gain a minimum of 10 Masters level credits from a UK Higher Education Institute (or equivalent) covering the main areas required for the module, before taking the practical examination.
Each candidate must have an Accredited Supervisor who is a minimum of a Healthcare Scientist Career Framework level 7 (or equivalent ) and experienced in successfully training practitioners, ideally at UK masters level (i.e. has provided significant day to day clinical training at this level with a successful outcome for at least one individual, ideally more). Alternatively the Accredited Supervisor may have completed an M-level training programme themselves (e.g. CAC, STP, HTS) and have experience of supervision at an undergraduate level and / or M-level. Equivalent training and / or experience will be considered on an individual basis (see section 5.3 of the HTS Regulations). It is recommended that Accredited Supervisors undergo training in supervision / mentoring if not already completed.
Qualified Audiologists who wish to develop their skills and knowledge so they could work in a specialist clinical area, i.e. those with a BSc or equivalent. It can be done by those working in the NHS or private sector. You need to have an Accredited Supervisor to oversee your training. It can also be used by those who already work in a specialist area who wish to gain a qualification to demonstrate their competence.
The Therapeutic Skills module is also accessible to those holding a Post-Graduate Certificate in Hearing Therapy.
There is an online form you need to complete, accessed from the HTS pages in the members’ section of this website.
In-house training can vary in scope and quality and doesn’t result in a recognised qualification. The HTS content has been reviewed and agreed by subject experts as the range of skills and knowledge required when working in a particular specialist area and is a highly regarded training scheme. It includes external verification of your skills, and a qualification you can add to your CV to demonstrate your achievement.
On successful completion of a module, you will be awarded the ‘BAA Higher Training Scheme Certificate’ in the particular specialist area. This is a recognised and highly regarded qualification within the profession.
Yes. It can be used for personal development and / or to fill a service need.
No, it is only the supervisor who needs to be accredited. Prior to 2019 departments did need to be accredited, but this is no longer the case. You can be supervised by an Accredited Supervisor in another department if one isn’t available locally but would recommend finding a supervisor who has previous experience of supervising people through the scheme if providing remote supervision.
M-level credits are awarded by Higher Education Institutes on successful completion of an M-level module or course. Each module or course will have a certain number of credits associated with it, and this will be included in course information. Modules usually have 10 – 60 credits each, and in order to be awarded a full Master’s degree, usually 240 credits are needed.
M-level is short for Master’s level, and refers to Master’s level postgraduate level education and qualifications. For a more detailed description please see section 4.17 of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education; Setting and Maintaining Academic Standards: PART A The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies, (https://www.qaa.ac.uk/docs/qaa/quality-code/qualifications-frameworks.pdf).
Qualification levels are explained at: https://www.gov.uk/what-different-qualification-levels-mean/list-of-qualification-levels
For each module you need to have a minimum of 10 credits covering the main subject area. It may be that one university module covers more than one HTS module, e.g., both Balance Assessment and Balance Rehabilitation. In such cases you could use this module just to do one of the HTS modules, or both.
No, although it is important to ensure your knowledge remains up to date, covers the theoretical knowledge requirements of the module, and is at M-level for the examination. If you completed an M-level module some time ago, it is your responsibility to make sure you meet the requirements prior to examination.
Each person completing a HTS module needs an Accredited Supervisor. This may be your line manager, the Head of Department, or another senior member of staff. They need to be aware of what the training involves and commit to enabling the time to complete it.
Yes. However, we would encourage careful consideration prior to enrolling on more than one module at a time. Some modules are small and complement other modules e.g., some candidates may choose to complete the 2 paediatric assessment or 2 balance modules together and these can be examined at the same time.
Funding needs to be found locally for both the HTS scheme fees and M-level course fees. This may be possible from a departmental budget, or other training fund. Some people choose to self-fund the costs involved, recognising that they are investing in a qualification which could assist in career progression.
There is a fee to register on a module, and a separate fee to pay once you have completed your training prior to the final examination. There is also a fee for any re-sits. Current fees are given on the BAA website. Fees are usually reviewed annually.
You are assessed by your Accredited Supervisor and clinic supervisors throughout training, and progress is documented in the online portfolio. Once you are consistently demonstrating you can work at the required level you can submit your completed portfolio and once checked it and found satisfactory, external examiners will be arranged to assess you seeing patients in your department.
You can start a module at any time. You need to complete the application form and will receive confirmation of registration. You need to have an Accredited Supervisor in order to register, so if your proposed supervisor is not yet accredited, they will need to apply for this in advance.
This varies on the size of the module, whether you have previous experience in the area or not, and how often you are able to train. One of the main requirements is to complete a minimum number of clinical sessions (at 3.5 hours each). Small modules require a minimum of 15 supervised clinical training sessions whereas large modules require a minimum of 40 sessions. However, most people complete modules alongside carrying out other work, so may have, for example, two training sessions a week so it would take several months to complete the minimum number. However, it is not uncommon to require more training than this to reach the required standard, particularly if you are new to the area. In addition, you need to complete a number of additional activities such as your M-level credits, tutorials, case studies and self-study.
Supervisors need to apply for accreditation by completing the supervisor’s training module (which is available on the HTS pages of the BAA website) and then completing the application form. If you meet all the criteria, you will become an Accredited Supervisor.
The main criteria are that you need to be working at Healthcare Scientist Career Framework level 7, ideally have been involved in supervising at this level before and have completed HTS Supervisor’s training. The HTS Committee recognise that not all potential supervisors have had experience of supervising at this level, so other experience can be taken into consideration. For more information see the HTS Regulations, section 5.
No. There are a number of reasons for this: Currently as the need for supervisor accreditation is quite new, there are few people accredited as supervisors are tending to apply for accreditation when they are about to start supervising someone. Therefore, if such a list existed it would not represent those able to be an accredited supervisor, and may suggest there is just a limited pool of people able to do this. In addition, when applying for accreditation we do not currently ask supervisors to share their contact details in this way.
Firstly, we would recommend you widen your search to look for someone who could apply for accreditation to become an Accredited Supervisor, rather than limiting your search to someone who is already accredited, as this process is quite new. You need to speak to your line manager initially, to find out if there is someone who has the potential to become an Accredited Supervisor within your own department. This is the ideal situation as it will be easy to have frequent contact with them. If this is not possible you should first look to neighbouring departments, as the closer your Accredited Supervisor is, the easier it will be as you need to do clinics with them on a regular basis. If you can’t find anyone suitable you may then need to look further field. Please don’t assume that someone who could become an Accredited Supervisor is willing and able to do this. Supervising someone takes time and effort and will depend on the individual’s workload and priorities within their own department.
You have three years from registration to complete your portfolio and request your examination. If you don’t complete your portfolio within three years you will have to re-register on the scheme if you wish to continue.
If you have a BSc in Audiology, or MSc plus CCC, or equivalent, you can access any module, with the exception of the Paediatric Habilitation module, which requires you to complete the HTS Paediatric Assessment (6 months +) or equivalent first. Those who do not hold a BSc in Audiology but do have a Post-Graduate Certificate in Hearing Therapy, can access the Therapeutic Skills module.
There are currently nine modules available:
Modules are under continuous review and a cochlear implant module is under development.
Training involves a number of elements to include:
Everyone who registered on 1st April 2021 will complete an online portfolio. Those who registered before this have the option of transferring across to the updated scheme and would then complete their portfolio online.
The clinic supervisors also need to meet certain criteria, which are given in section 6 of the regulations. This includes being a minimum of a Healthcare Scientist Career framework level 6 and either holds the HTS module themselves or is considered equivalent to this. This may include your accredited supervisor or other staff.
The first step would be to speak to your line manager and discuss options. It is the responsibility of prospective candidates to find an Accredited Supervisor, funding, and a suitable M-level course.
We would encourage all prospective candidates and supervisors to read the HTS Handbook, and HTS regulations, prior to applying to join the scheme.
The HTS can be used to up-skill a member of staff to fill a gap in service needs, or for succession planning if you know a member of staff may be leaving. Rather than having to plan training in house, to include working out what needs to be learnt / covered, you will have the confidence that the scheme will cover what is expected of someone working in a specialist area. You also don’t need to worry about how to document any in house training to meet quality assurance standards, as the HTS scheme includes a comprehensive online portfolio to record all training.
Most staff enjoy expanding their knowledge and skills, working in a specialist area, so being a department, which does the HTS can aid recruitment and retention. Having staff holding HTS modules positively reflects on the quality of the clinical service offered.
HTS modules can be used to demonstrate competencies required for registration as a Clinical Scientist via the Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS). For more information, please see the ACS website. The HTS Therapeutic skills module is also being considered as a pre-requisite to registration as a new Hearing Therapist, and these FAQs will be updated as soon as there is any news on this.