Biochemists investigate the chemical processes that take place inside all living things, from viruses and bacteria to people.

Annual Salary

£25,000 to £42,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

What's it all about?

Your role and tasks will vary by industry.

In the pharmaceutical, food or brewing industries, your work will include:

  • developing new products
  • monitoring production
  • quality control
  • checking the safety of existing products

In a hospital, public health laboratory or research institute, your work will include:

  • carrying out tests on blood
  • researching the causes of disease
  • exploring new methods of treatment

In agriculture and the environment, your work will include:

  • genetically engineering plants to create pest-resistant crops
  • improving the quantity of crops
  • developing and extending the shelf life of produce
  • monitoring the effects of pollution on the environment

As a biochemist in education, you could work in universities, colleges and schools, or medical, veterinary or dental schools.

You'll usually need a science degree. For jobs in industry or research, you may also need a postgraduate qualification (MSc or PhD).

Relevant first or higher degree subjects include:

  • biochemistry
  • biotechnology
  • biopharmaceuticals
  • cell and molecular biology
  • chemical and molecular biology
  • microbiology genetics
  • molecular biology
In the NHS, you can train by following the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).

£25,000 to £42,000

Starter salary: £25,000

Experienced salary: £26,250 to £35,250

Your salary will vary depending on the area you specialise in, and whether you work in the public or private sector.

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

You'll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may work shifts, and during busy periods may work longer hours.

You'll usually work in a laboratory. In the manufacturing industry, you'll also spend time in production areas. You'll wear protective clothing like a laboratory coat and safety glasses.

With experience, you could become a team leader or manager, running a department, or move into research, sales and marketing, or scientific journalism.


Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • excellent communication skills
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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