Biochemist

Alternative titles for this job include Biological scientist

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

Average salary (a year)

£26,500 Starter

to

£60,000 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 science degree. For jobs in industry or research, you may also need a postgraduate qualification like a master's degree or PhD.

Relevant degree subjects include:

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

During your degree course, you may be able to get experience of working in a laboratory through a Summer Vacation Studentship.

Some universities also offer a science foundation year as part of a degree if you have not studied science subjects to the level needed for direct entry to degree course.

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 work as a laboratory technician and study on the job for a degree to qualify.

Other Routes

In the NHS, you can train by following the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).

More Information

Career tips

Integrated master's qualifications like MBiolSci, MBiochem or MSci can be studied at university. These courses combine more independent research and are designed to lead directly onto further postgraduate study like a PhD.

Professional and industry bodies

Membership of a professional body like the Biochemical Society or the Royal Society of Biology may be useful to reinforce your status as a professional scientist and to help keep your knowledge current.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a biochemist from:

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

Your tasks will vary by industry

In the pharmaceutical, food or brewing industries, you could:

  • develop new products
  • monitor production
  • be responsible for quality control
  • check the safety of existing products

In a hospital, public health laboratory or research institute, you may:

  • carry out tests on blood
  • research the causes of disease
  • explore new methods of treatment

In agriculture and the environment, you could:

  • genetically engineer plants to create pest-resistant crops
  • improve the quantity of crops
  • develop and extend the shelf life of produce
  • monitor the effects of pollution on the environment

As a biochemist in education, you could work in universities or colleges, or medical, veterinary or dental schools.

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 become a team leader or manager, running a department, or move into research, sales and marketing, or scientific journalism.

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: HEATH PARK
  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: Wolverhampton

Chemistry

  • Provider: STAFFORD EDUCATION CENTRE CHARITY
  • Start date: 02 September 2022
  • Location: STAFFORD

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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