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Geneticists study genes to work out how cells and organisms behave.

Annual Salary

£18,821 to £47,642

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends;

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you may:

  • use laboratory techniques to prepare and analyse samples of genetic tissue
  • record and interpret the results of experiments and tests
  • use data and statistics to develop computer models of genes
  • write reports for other professionals
  • report and publish your findings in scientific papers
  • plan lectures and teach students
  • supervise, train and mentor other laboratory staff

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

You'll need a life science degree or a postgraduate master's qualification in genetics, or a related subject which covers genetics.

Degrees and postgraduate courses include:

  • genetics
  • biology
  • biochemistry
  • molecular biology
  • life sciences
  • biological science

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.

It's useful to gain experience of laboratory and research techniques during your degree through internships or year placements.

If you want to work in the NHS you can apply to the Scientist Training Programme (STP) after your degree where you can specialise in genomics work.

Entry requirements

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
For more information

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You may improve your career prospects by joining a professional body like The Genetics Society.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in genetics from:The Genetics Society; The British Society for Genetic Medicine

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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.

You may improve your career prospects by joining a professional body like The Genetics Society.

You can find out more about careers in genetics from The Genetics Society and the The British Society for Genetic Medicine.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

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