Biochemist Biological scientist
Biochemists investigate the chemical processes that take place inside all living things, from viruses and bacteria to people.
1. Entry requirements
You'll usually need a science degree. For jobs in industry or research, you may also need a postgraduate qualification (MSc or PhD).
Relevant first or higher degree subjects include:
- cell and molecular biology
- chemical and molecular biology
- microbiology genetics
- molecular biology
2. Skills required
- a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
- excellent communication skills
3. What you'll do
Your role and tasks will vary by industry.
In the pharmaceutical, food or brewing industries, your work will include:
- developing new products
- monitoring production
- quality control
- checking the safety of existing products
In a hospital, public health laboratory or research institute, your work will include:
- carrying out tests on blood
- researching the causes of disease
- exploring new methods of treatment
In agriculture and the environment, your work will include:
- genetically engineering plants to create pest-resistant crops
- improving the quantity of crops
- developing and extending the shelf life of produce
- monitoring the effects of pollution on the environment
As a biochemist in education, you could work in universities, colleges and schools, or medical, veterinary or dental schools.
Experienced: £26,250 to £35,250
Highly Experienced: up to £42,000
Your salary will vary depending on the area you specialise in, and whether you work in the public or private sector.
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environment
You'll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may work shifts, and during busy periods may work longer hours.
You'll usually work in a laboratory. In the manufacturing industry, you'll also spend time in production areas. You'll wear protective clothing like a laboratory coat and safety glasses.
6. Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a team leader or manager, running a department, or move into research, sales and marketing, or scientific journalism.
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Last updated: 21 December 2016