How to become a biologist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You'll usually need a relevant degree and often a postgraduate master's qualification in a subject like:

  • biology
  • biological science
  • ecology
  • marine biology

Employers may also want you to have experience in your area of interest and possibly be working towards a PhD.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More Information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to become a biologist through a higher or degree apprenticeship as a laboratory scientist.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You could start your career as a laboratory technician and train as a biologist while working by doing a relevant qualification.

More Information

Career tips

Laboratory experience would be useful for this career.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Royal Society of Biology for your professional career development.

Further information

You'll find more details about careers, courses and training in biology through the Royal Society of Biology and Into Biology.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • maths knowledge
  • excellent written communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your tasks will depend on your specialism and could include:

  • improving productivity in livestock or crops
  • cleaning polluted rivers
  • protecting plants and animals
  • developing new methods to diagnose, monitor and treat illness or disease
  • preventing food contamination or creating ways to dispose of waste safely
  • designing and carrying out experiments, making observations, writing reports and publishing scientific papers
  • teaching students, if you’re based at a university or teaching hospital
  • supervising support staff

Working environment

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

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

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

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Laboratory Scientist Degree Apprenticeship (BSc Chemistry) - Lucite International UK Ltd

  • Wage: £11,500.00 - £12,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Billingham

Courses In England

HNC Applied Science (Biology)

  • Provider: WAKEFIELD COLLEGE
  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location: Wakefield

BTEC National Extended Certificate in Applied Human Biology

  • Provider: JOHN TAYLOR HIGH SCHOOL
  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location: Burton on Trent

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900 or use webchat

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.