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Chemist Green Job

Chemists investigate the chemical make up of substances and work out how they behave under different conditions.

Annual Salary

£26,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 42 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Chemist jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

Your tasks will depend on the sector you work in.

As a chemist, you could:

  • research and develop new medicines and products
  • investigate environmental issues
  • diagnose and treat illness and disease
  • analyse forensic evidence
  • teach, lecture or carry out academic research
  • supervise the work of other team members, such as laboratory technicians

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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

You can get into this job through:

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

You can study for a degree to become a chemist.

Degree subjects include:

  • chemistry
  • applied or analytical chemistry
  • medicinal chemistry
  • biochemistry

As well as a degree, many employers will also want you to have a relevant postgraduate qualification.

Some universities offer an extended degree which leads directly to a postgraduate qualification like an MChem or MSci. These courses have more independent research and can lead into a job or further postgraduate study.

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 chemistry
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You can apply for a Higher or Degree Apprenticeship to get into this role, for example:

  • Level 5 Technician Scientist
  • Level 6 Laboratory Scientist
  • Level 7 Research Scientist

These apprenticeships can take between 3 and 5 years to complete.

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
For more information

You could start your career as a laboratory technician, then do further training on the job to qualify as a chemist.

More information

Career tips

Laboratory experience would be useful for this career.

Professional and industry bodies

Some degrees and apprenticeships may allow you to apply for registered Scientist or Chartered Chemist status.

You can find out more from:your university or training provider; the Science Council; Royal Society of Chemistry

Further information

You can get more careers advice about becoming a chemist from A Future in Chemistry.

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You'll find opportunities with a wide range of employers including:the NHS; public health laboratories; research institutes; government agencies; commercial industries

You could be involved in research and development, patent work, health and safety or forensic science. You could also move into teaching, lecturing, or science writing and communication.

As an experienced chemist you could work towards chartered status like Chartered Chemist (CChem) and Chartered Scientist (CSci).

A Future in Chemistry has information about careers in chemistry.

Future Morph has information on careers in science.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • maths knowledge
  • science skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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