Job Description:

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

Job Category:

What you will do:

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 need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • concentration skills
  • organisational skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

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

Relevant first or higher degree subjects include:

  • biochemistry
  • biological science
  • biotechnology
  • biopharmaceuticals
  • cell and molecular biology
  • chemical and molecular biology
  • microbiology genetics
  • molecular biology

In the UK NHS, you can train by following the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).

Working Hours and Environment:

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.

Career Path & Progression:

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