Chemist

Alternative titles for this job include Analytical chemist

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

Average salary (a year)

£26,000 Starter

to

£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 42 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Chemist

You can get into this job through:

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

University

You can study for a degree to become a chemist.

Degree subjects include:

  • chemistry
  • applied or analytical chemistry
  • medicinal 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 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

Apprenticeship

You can apply for a Higher or Degree Apprenticeship to get into this role, for example:

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

These apprenticeships can take between 3 and 5 years to complete.

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, then do further training on the job to qualify as a chemist.

More Information

Career tips

Laboratory experience would be useful for this career.

Professional and industry bodies

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

You can find out more from:

Further information

You can get more careers advice about becoming a chemist from A Future in Chemistry.

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.

As a chemist, you could:

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

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

Degree Apprentice Development Chemist

  • Wage: £19,000 a year Annually
  • Location: Wakefield Road, Swillington, Leeds

Lab Technician Apprentice

  • Wage: £18,000 a year Annually
  • Location: Ashton Under Lyne, Manchester

Courses In England

Applied Science (Chemistry) — Higher National Certificate (HNC)

  • Provider: THE CITY OF LIVERPOOL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: LIVERPOOL

Chemistry

  • Provider: TURTON SCHOOL
  • Start date: 10 September 2024
  • Location: Bolton

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