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Biologist

Biologists study living things, like animals and plants.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £70,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need a relevant degree and a master’s qualification in a biological science. Employers may also want you to have experience in your area of interest and, if you don't already have one, be working towards a PhD.

You may be able to become a biologist through a Higher Apprenticeship for Life Sciences and Chemical Science Professionals.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • practical scientific skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • excellent communication skills
  • IT skills

3. What you'll do

You could specialise in an area like:

  • biotechnology
  • ecology
  • immunology
  • marine biology
  • microbiology
  • molecular biology

You could use your skills in a variety of ways:

  • in agriculture, to improve productivity in livestock or crops
  • in the environment, to clean polluted rivers
  • in conservation, to protect plants and animals
  • in medicine, to develop new methods to diagnose, monitor and treat illness or disease
  • in industry, to prevent food contamination or create ways to dispose of waste safely

You may also:

  • design and carry out experiments, make observations, write reports and publish scientific papers
  • teach students, if you’re based at a university or teaching hospital
  • supervise support staff

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000 to £15,000

Experienced: £23,000 to £45,000

Highly Experienced: £42,000 to £70,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with occasional evening and weekend shifts. You could be based in a laboratory, a classroom, in industry or on a research ship at sea.

Fieldwork can sometimes take place in challenging conditions.

6. Career path and progression

You could move into management, teaching, the media, administration and scientific journalism.

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Last updated: 21 December 2016