Alternative titles for this job include

Chemists study chemicals and materials and how they behave under different conditions.

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter


£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a chemist

You can get into this job through:

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


You'll usually need a degree qualification to become a chemist. Subjects include:

  • chemistry
  • applied or analytical chemistry
  • biochemistry

As well as a degree, many employers will also want you to have a relevant postgraduate qualification.

Some universities offer an extended degree which leads directly to a postgraduate qualification like an MChem or MSci. These courses have more independent research and can lead directly into professional practice or further postgraduate study.

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 chemistry
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


The following apprenticeships may be relevant to this role:

  • Level 5 Technician scientist
  • Level 6 Laboratory scientist
  • Level 7 Research 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


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

More Information

Career tips

Laboratory experience would be useful for this career.

Professional and industry bodies

Depending on the level and content, some degrees and apprenticeships will help you to apply for registered Scientist or Chartered Chemist status.

Check with the qualification provider, the Science Council or the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Further information

You can get more advice about becoming a chemist from The Royal Society of Chemistry's careers site A Future in Chemistry and the Science Council.

What it takes

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • maths knowledge
  • science skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • 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

Depending on your role, you could:

  • invent and develop new medicines and products
  • investigate environmental issues
  • diagnose and treat illness and disease
  • analyse forensic evidence
  • teach, lecture and carry out academic research

In your day-to-day tasks you could:

  • design and conduct laboratory experiments
  • make observations and note results
  • write reports and present your findings
  • supervise the work of support staff such as laboratory technicians
  • carry out other project administrative work

Working environment

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

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You'll usually be able to find work with a wide range of employers including the NHS, public health laboratories, research institutes and government agencies.

As a chemist working in industry, you could be involved in research and development, patent work, health and safety or forensic science.

You could also move into teaching or a career in the media.

As an experienced chemist you could work towards chartered status like Chartered Chemist (CChem) and Chartered Scientist (CSci).

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Development Technician Apprentice (Technician Scientist)

  • Wage: £18,000.00 - £22,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Stafford

Laboratory Scientist (Degree) Apprentice

  • Wage: £163.13 - £307.88 Weekly
  • Location: Plymouth

Courses In England

A-Level Biology/A-Level Chemistry/BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate Applied Science

  • Start date: 06 September 2022
  • Location: Walsall

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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