Biochemist

Alternative titles for this job include Biological scientist

Biochemists investigate the chemical processes that take place inside all living things, such as viruses, bacteria and people.

Average salary (a year)

£24,000 Starter

to

£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a biochemist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
  • specialist training with the NHS

University

You'll usually need a relevant science degree, like:

  • biochemistry
  • biotechnology
  • biopharmaceuticals
  • chemical and molecular biology
  • microbiology genetics
  • molecular biology

If you do not meet the entry requirements for one of these subjects, you may be able to do a foundation year. 

Postgraduate courses

For some jobs you may also need a postgraduate qualification like a master's degree or PhD.

Some degree courses include an integrated master's qualification like MBiolSci, MBiochem or MSci. You'll usually have more time for independent research and they're designed to lead directly onto further postgraduate study like a PhD.

Laboratory experience

It's important to get experience of working in a laboratory during your degree course.

You can do this through a:

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology and chemistry
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information

Work

You could start out as a laboratory technician and study on the job for a degree.

Other Routes

You could train to be a clinical biochemist in the NHS through the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You can demonstrate your professional status and keep your knowledge up to date by joining a professional body like the:

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a biochemist from the:

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • maths knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • concentration skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Biochemists work in many sectors of the economy.

You could work in areas such as disease, pharmaceutical drugs, food products or academic research. You may also teach at a university.

In most roles you can expect to:

  • plan and conduct scientific experiments
  • develop new analytical techniques
  • use computer software and mathematical modelling
  • supervise lab teams and control the quality of work
  • design or build lab equipment
  • write scientific articles, prepare reports and present research findings
  • follow official lab procedures

Working environment

You could work at a research facility, in a laboratory or at a university.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could:

  • develop a specialism
  • manage a team, department or project
  • move into product sales, marketing or science communication
  • become a freelance consultant

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a biochemist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Chemistry

  • Provider: LITTLEOVER COMMUNITY SCHOOL
  • Start date: 05 September 2023
  • Location: Derby

Chemistry

  • Provider: BENNETT MEMORIAL DIOCESAN SCHOOL
  • Start date: 01 September 2023
  • Location: Tunbridge Wells

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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