Biologists study living things, like animals and plants.

Annual Salary

£14,000 to £70,000

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

Working hours


What's it all about?

You could specialise in an area like:

  • biotechnology
  • ecology
  • immunology
  • marine biology
  • microbiology
  • molecular biology

You could use your skills in a variety of ways:

  • in agriculture, to improve productivity in livestock or crops
  • in the environment, to clean polluted rivers
  • in conservation, to protect plants and animals
  • in medicine, to develop new methods to diagnose, monitor and treat illness or disease
  • in industry, to prevent food contamination or create ways to dispose of waste safely

You may also:

  • design and carry out experiments, make observations, write reports and publish scientific papers
  • teach students, if you’re based at a university or teaching hospital
  • supervise support staff

You can get into this job through:

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


You'll usually need a relevant degree and often a postgraduate master's qualification in a subject like:

  • biology
  • biological science
  • ecology
  • marine biology

Employers may also want you to have experience in your area of interest and possibly be working towards a PhD.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including maths and a science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, including a biological science for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study


You may be able to become a biologist through a higher or degree apprenticeship as a laboratory scientist.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship


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

Further information

Laboratory experience would be useful for this career.

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

You'll find more details about careers, courses and training in biology through the Royal Society of Biology and Into Biology.

£14,000 to £70,000

Starter salary: £14,000 to £15,000

Experienced salary: £23,000 to £45,000

These figures are a guide.


You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with occasional evening and weekend shifts. You could be based in a laboratory, a classroom, in industry or on a research ship at sea.

Fieldwork can sometimes take place in challenging conditions.

You could move into management, teaching, the media, administration and scientific journalism.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

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
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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