Biologist

Alternative titles for this job include

Biologists study living things, including people, animals and plants, along with the environments they live in.

Average salary (a year)

£24,000 Starter

to

£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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 life science subject like:

  • biology
  • biological science
  • ecology
  • marine biology

Employers may also want you to have experience in your area of interest and possibly 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 could begin by doing a degree apprenticeship.

For example:

  • Laboratory Scientist Level 6
  • Research Scientist Level 7
  • Bioinformatics Scientist Level 7

The Level 6 apprenticeship takes around 5 years to complete.

The Level 7 apprenticeships are likely to have a higher entry criteria and typically take 2 to 3 years.

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 degree apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You could start as a laboratory technician and train as a biologist by working and studying for a relevant qualification at the same time.

More Information

Career tips

You can learn more about the latest biological research projects from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

This can be useful to talk about when it comes to course and job interviews.

Professional and industry bodies

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

Further information

You can find more details about careers, courses and training in biology from the Royal Society of Biology.

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
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • maths knowledge
  • excellent written communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

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 depend on your specialism but you could:

  • plan trials and analyse data, for example in crop production or medicine research
  • study and protect endangered land and marine plants and animals
  • develop new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat disease
  • make observations, write reports and publish scientific papers
  • teach students at a university or in a teaching hospital

Possible green job

This job could help the environment.

For a biologist to be a green job, you could:

  • find new ways to clean up soil, air and water pollution
  • research sustainable food production methods
  • develop biofuels from non-food crops and waste biomass materials

Find out more about green careers

Working environment

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

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

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 commercial research project manager
  • teach in schools, colleges or universities
  • work in science licensing, patent and trademark rights
  • advise organisations on policy as a freelance scientific consultant
  • go into science communication, such as media and scientific journalism

If you work in academic research, you could also lead projects and become a senior research fellow or professor.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Laboratory Scientist Apprentice (Level 6)

  • Wage: £17,194.00 Annually
  • Location: Shrewsbury

Laboratory Technician Degree Apprentice

  • Wage: £20,410.00 Annually
  • Location: Cambridge

Courses In England

HNC Applied Science – Applied Biology

  • Provider: HEART OF YORKSHIRE EDUCATION GROUP
  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Wakefield

A Level Applied Human Biology

  • Provider: NEWTON ABBOT COLLEGE
  • Start date: 05 September 2024
  • Location: Newton Abbot

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