Geneticists study genes to work out how cells and organisms behave.
Salary range: £18,000 to £60,000
How to become a geneticist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
You’ll need a degree or a postgraduate master’s qualification in genetics, or a related subject which covers genetics.
Degrees and postgraduate courses include:
- molecular biology
- life sciences
- biological sciences
Employers may expect you to have, or be working towards, a PhD.
Integrated master’s qualifications such as MBiolSci, MBiol or MSci can be studied at university. These courses combine independent research and can lead directly onto study for a PhD.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 3 A levels, or equivalent, including at least 1 science
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
Professional and industry bodies
You may improve your career prospects by joining a professional body like The Genetics Society.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of biology
- excellent verbal communication skills
- science skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- thinking and reasoning skills
- maths knowledge
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to read English
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may 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 could work at a university, in a laboratory or at a research facility.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
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.