Geneticists study genes, which contain the information controlling what a living organism is like.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £60,000

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

Working hours


What's it all about?

Geneticists use the information in genes to make discoveries and developments in a range of areas like medicine and agriculture. Depending on the area you work in, your role could include:

  • developing disease and drought-resistant crops
  • finding and recording disease-causing genes
  • using genes to chart animal populations and conserve wildlife
  • researching and developing new drugs and gene therapies
  • using genetics in archaeology 
  • teaching students about genetics in a university
  • diagnosing genetic diseases 

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • using laboratory techniques to prepare and analyse samples of genetic tissue
  • recording and interpreting the results of experiments and tests
  • using data and statistics to develop computer models of genes
  • writing reports for other professionals
  • reporting and publishing your findings in scientific papers
  • planning lectures and teaching students
  • supervising, training and mentoring other laboratory staff

You’ll usually need a degree or a postgraduate master’s qualification in genetics or a related course which includes genetics, like biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, life sciences or biological sciences.

A PhD, or working towards a PhD would also be helpful.

The Royal Society of Biology has more information on becoming a geneticist.

£18,000 to £60,000

Starter salary: £18,000 to £20,000

Experienced salary: £30,000 to £42,000

These figures are a guide.


You’ll usually work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. You may also need to work evenings and weekends. 

You’ll spend a lot of time in a laboratory using scientific instruments like microscopes. You may also spend a lot of time working at a computer.

In a laboratory, you’ll be expected to wear protective clothing, like a laboratory coat and safety glasses.

As a research geneticist, with experience you may be able to work your way up to laboratory supervisor or clinical study manager. Lecturing in a university or teaching may also be an option. 

You could move into scientific sales or, with further studies, qualify as a genetic counsellor.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • practical scientific skills
  • IT skills
  • the ability to think clearly and logically
  • problem-solving skills
  • the ability to work with statistics and relevant computer packages
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
Please sign in to compare your skills to this job. Sign in

To save or view your choices and results you must sign in or register (takes 1 minute).

Sign in Register