Alternative titles for this job include Analytical chemist

Chemists look at the chemical make up of substances and investigate how they behave under different conditions.

Average salary (a year)

£15,609 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 you could take 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 a job 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. You can train as a chemist by doing a relevant qualification while you work.

More Information

Career tips

Laboratory experience would be useful for this career.

Professional and industry bodies

Some degrees and apprenticeships may make you eligible to apply for registered Scientist or Chartered Chemist status.

You can find out more from:

Further information

You can get more advice about becoming a chemist 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 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

Your tasks will depend on the sector you work in.

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
  • design and conduct laboratory experiments
  • write reports and present your findings
  • supervise the work of other team members, such as laboratory technicians

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 find opportunities with a wide range of employers including:

  • the NHS
  • public health laboratories
  • research institutes
  • government agencies
  • private industry

You could be involved in research and development, patent work, health and safety or forensic science. You could also move into teaching or science communication.

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

Quality Control Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £24,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Pirbright, Woking

Laboratory Science (Chemistry) Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £17,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Whiteknights Campus, Pepper Lane, Reading

Courses In England

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

  • Start date: 12 September 2023
  • Location: Walsall

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Science) Biology, Chemistry and Applied Science

  • Start date: 11 September 2023
  • Location: Paignton

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.

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.