Biochemist Biological scientist
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Biochemists investigate the chemical processes inside the cells of all living things to understand how they work.
1. Entry requirements
You'll usually need a science degree. You may also need a postgraduate qualification like a master's degree or PhD for jobs in industry or research.
Relevant subjects include:
- chemical and molecular biology
- biochemistry with genetics
- molecular biology
In the NHS, you can train by following the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).
A Future in Chemistry has more information about careers in chemistry.
2. Skills required
- the ability to analyse data
- a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
- excellent communication skills
- problem solving skills
- good computer skills
3. What you'll do
Your job and tasks will vary by industry.
In pharmaceuticals and food production, you'll:
- develop new products
- check quality controls
- investigate the safety of products
In a hospital, public health laboratory or research institute, you'll:
- analyse blood, tissue and DNA samples
- research the causes of diseases and how they spread
- explore new ways to treat conditions
In agriculture and the environment, you'll:
- develop pest-resistant plants and crops
- monitor the effects of pollution on the environment
- look at ways to improve water quality
As a biochemist in education, you could work in universities and colleges, or medical, veterinary or dental schools.
Experienced: £30,000 to £45,000
Highly Experienced: £50,000 to £60,000
Your salary will vary depending on your industry specialism 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 research department, or move into education, technical sales, patent law, scientific publishing or consultancy.
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Last updated: 13 September 2018