Abdominal aortic aneursym screening: education and training

Training and continuing professional development (CPD) for staff working in the abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening programme in England.

This guide sets out the education and training requirements for healthcare professionals working in the abdominal aortic aneurysm screening programme.

It includes links to resources for training new staff as well as for continuing professional development and reaccreditation.


E-learning developed by the NHS screening programmes is available on the e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) website.

Diploma for health screeners

The level 3 health screener diploma is the required training programme for newly recruited AAA screening technicians.

3 programme specific units are available for new screening technicians.

  1. Principles of ultrasound for AAA screening.
  2. Principles of AAA screening and treatment.
  3. Undertake AAA screening unit.

The diploma is the recommended national training programme for new screening technicians and successful completion is required to assure the provider of the technician’s competence to undertake screening safely, independently and in line with programme standards.


There are 2 e-learning units that support the knowledge based units of the diploma.

Sign up for e-LfH to access these units.

These e-learning units provide initial fundamental learning and additional learning will be required.

Learners must complete the end of unit quiz and will receive a certificate to use as evidence of completion.

Undertake AAA screening unit

Complete the AAA clinical training logbook and assessment record to evidence the specific learning outcomes for this unit.

Learners may need to supplement this document with additional evidence.

Screening technicians: training resources

  • an outline for the different pathways available to subjects undergoing screening
  • up to date images of the aorta with and without an aneurysm

This resource is to help support new learners in understanding the pathways associated with the NHS AAA screening programme.

Screening technicians: reaccreditation

Screening technicians are required to maintain their accreditation status.

The required reaccreditation includes:

  • a knowledge assessment
  • a scanning assessment

Technicians are required to pass both sections to continue to screen independently.

The AAA reaccreditation process document includes a flowchart and further information.

Knowledge assessment

Screening technicians should complete the AAA screening technician e-learning module to:

  • retain their knowledge of the key physical principles required when undertaking the screening test
  • ensure they maintain their skills in image optimisation to obtain the highest quality image

Screening technicians are required to complete the knowledge assessment before registering on the scanning assessment.

Scanning assessment

Screening technicians are required to scan two men to AAA standards as outlined in the clinical guidance and scope of practice document.

The University of Salford provides scanning assessment on campus. Technicians should attend a half-day session.

The NHS AAA screening programme:

  • funds the course for screening technicians
  • does not cover expenses for travel, accommodation and evening meals

Technicians are required to pass both scans. If a technician fails one or more assessment they should complete the recovery portfolio.

Scanning assessment days

View the dates and register for the reaccreditation events on Eventbrite. Technicians will only need to register for one half day session on these dates.

Each reaccreditation event hosts 13 technicians.

If you have any questions about this process please contact Ann Newton-Hughes at University of Salford.

Clinical skills trainers

Read the clinical skills trainer training (CST) handbook for details on the training and qualifications required for ultrasound professionals who wish to undertake the role of CST within AAA.

Before completing required training, CSTs cannot:

  • provide formal support, training or oversight to trainee technicians within local providers

  • complete any internal quality assurance of images

CST training

The CST training has four main parts. The programme clinical director is responsible for the sign off and document completion of each part.

  1. Successfully complete the required e-learning units.

  2. Complete half a day shadowing a trained CST or QA lead.

  3. Screening Management and Reporting Tool (SMaRT) and data session with co-ordinator.

  4. Attend and complete appropriate assessor training qualification.

CST: assess the level 3 health screener diploma

To provide the level 3 diploma for health screeners all local AAA programmes should have at least one CST working towards or has completed the level 3 Certificate in assessing vocational achievement.

Previously qualified CSTs that don’t want to undertake the assessor qualification may act as expert witnesses in the training of new technicians.

CST reaccreditation

CSTs do not have to undertake 2 yearly reaccreditations. They should maintain their continual professional development and professional registration with their appropriate professional bodies as required in their roles.

Local programmes:

Semi-independent scanning

Screening technicians are able to screen patients semi-independently within the screening programme. To do this, they have to complete the clinical portfolio, including the certificate of semi-independent scanning.

Internal quality assurance framework

Quality assurance leads or clinical skills trainers (CSTs) should use the internal quality assurance (IQA) framework to assess and record the quality of the images taken by screening technicians.

Local programmes should follow this framework, to ensure staff competency and quality.

Education and training: all screening programmes

This includes:

  • the screening timeline
  • events
Published 1 January 2016
Last updated 2 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. Clarified the importance of the screener diploma.
  2. First published.