MB ChB Manch 1950, MSc 1973; FFOM RCP Lond 1985; DIH Soc Apoth Lond 1964.
Kerns was born on 8 December 1925 and educated at Stand Grammar School and Eccles Grammar School before studying medicine at the University of Manchester. After qualifying, Kerns held junior positions in Manchester at Withington Hospital and Crumpsall Hospital before serving in the RAF as a junior specialist in orthopaedics. From 1954 until 1962 Kerns was in general practice, and during this time he began his career in industrial medicine. Kerns worked for the Post Office, the National Blood Transfusion Service and Bolton Royal Infirmary. He later became an authorized medical examiner for a number of professions and was an independent consultant in occupational health in Manchester. Kerns was a member of the Society for Occupational Medicine.