Biologist

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Biologists study living things, like animals and plants.

Salary Range: £14,000 to £70,000

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You can get into this job through:

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

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 biology for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
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You may be able to become a biologist through a higher or degree apprenticeship as a laboratory 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
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You could start your career as a laboratory technician and train as a biologist while working by doing a relevant qualification.

More information

Career tips

Laboratory experience would be useful for this career.

Professional and industry bodies

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

Further information

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

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Skills and knowledge

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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Day-to-day tasks

Your tasks will depend on your specialism and could include:

  • improving productivity in livestock or crops
  • cleaning polluted rivers
  • protecting plants and animals
  • developing new methods to diagnose, monitor and treat illness or disease
  • preventing food contamination or creating ways to dispose of waste safely
  • designing and carrying out experiments, making observations, writing reports and publishing scientific papers
  • teaching students, if you’re based at a university or teaching hospital
  • supervising support staff

Working environment

You could work in a laboratory, at a research facility or at a university.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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