Biomedical sciences is a fascinating subject area. You’ll learn all about genetics, the human body, how we fight off illnesses, how medicines work in the body, how diseases are passed down the bloodline and so on.
But what kind of biomedical sciences jobs or related can you get with a biomedical sciences degree? Well, we’ve cracked down a list of 6 careers that use the skillsets and knowledge of this topic to land you an incredible job.
What does a biomedical scientist do?
Biomedical scientists carry out a variety scientific tests and conduct analysis on tissue and fluid samples given by patients. Your work is extremely important as it helps doctors diagnose and treat diseases. There are four areas in which you could specialise:
Infection Sciences: testing for and identifying organisms and viruses that cause diseases
Blood Sciences: analysing blood samples for levels of toxins or presence of diseases, including analysing donated blood
Cell Sciences: conducting cellular analysis of tissue samples to test for presence of diseases like cancer
Genetics and Molecular Pathology: the analysis of genes in diagnosis and evaluation of hereditary diseases
Day to day tasks
Here’s what you can expect as a bimedical scientist day to day:
Preparation of samples for testing
Using specific medical and laboratory equipment to conduct analytical tests on samples, often working to tight deadlines
Registration of patient data and writing up of test results on centralised databases
Sending results back to doctors and medical staff who can use the information to diagnose and treat the conditions, explaining results where necessary
Biomedical scientists typically work 37.5 hours per week, Mon-Fri. However, there may be additional hours required. You’ll mainly be based in your laboratory/office.
Biomedical scientist salary
Entry level roles in the NHS range from £24,214 to £30,112 (Band 5). As a more senior biomedical scientist, you will typically earn between £37,570 to £50,819 (Band 7/8a).
Biomedical scientists tend to be employed by private hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, universities, clinical pathology laboratories and public health boards.
The NHS is the biggest employer of biomedical scientists in the UK. You can find biomedical scientist jobs around the UK in different NHS trusts.
What does a clinical scientist do?
Based within a lab typically, clinical scientists have the option of working in 4 different fields: biochemistry, genomics, haematology and immunology. For each department, the job role varies, but in general you’ll examine patient samples relative to your field to uncover any abnormalities, traces of disease or viruses, or other health disorders.
You’ll also work closely with other healthcare professionals, to provide knowledge to patients regarding the diagnosis and treatment of their illnesses.
This role requires in-depth studies of different samples and the ability to detect abnormalities, something your degree emphasises strongly. You’ll be working alongside a strong team, much like your practical university assignments, and be taking the lead in investigations of samples by putting your knowledge of diseases to the test.
Day to day tasks
You typical working week may will involve some or all the following:
Advising medical and nursing staff on the collection and interpretation of clinical tests over the phone
Conducting tests in the laboratory, adhering to testing and laboratory health and safety protocols
Writing quantitative and qualitative analysis reports on test results
Collaborating with doctors to find suitable treatments for patients
Researching and developing new methods of testing, diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders
Working at patient clinics, advising patients on treatment plans and medications
Clinical scientists typically work 37.5 hours per week. Depending on what specialism you take, you may either work Mon-Fri 9-5, or on a shift pattern if the lab is open 24/7. You’ll mainly be based in your laboratory/office.
Clinical scientist salary
Clinical scientists tend to start on NHS Pay Band 6, with £28,050. Consultant clinical scientists can earn from approx. £61,000 to approx. £72,000 on Band 8. Those living in London will earn an extra inner-city weighting.
The NHS is the biggest employer, but you can find jobs as a clinical scientist for private biomedical research companies and government agencies such as Public Health England.
You can also find jobs in the private sector, for pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies.
You can search for jobs on:
, New Scientist , NHS Jobs or general online job search sites , NHS Scotland
What does a forensic scientist do?
Forensic scientists examine a crime scene, and collect any corresponding evidence. This includes:
Blood and other bodily fluids
Clothing fibres, including footprints
Other fibres or samples of materials found in the crime scene (paint, wood, tyre marks)
A lot of the examination and testing of samples is biology-based, including DNA analysis and toxicology testing for substances in blood and urine etc. (though it could also be chemistry-based, analysing substances found at the scene of an arson, for example), therefore your degree was perfect training for this.
After testing, you may be called to present your evidence in a court of law, in order help prosecute or defend the accused.
Day to day tasks
A typical day could involve any of the following:
Analysing crime scenes
Conducting the appropriate scientific tests on the samples collected
Recording test results accurately on a central database
Working with other agencies to interpret findings
Giving evidence in court
Researching and testing new methods of forensic collecting and sample testing
Forensic scientists normally work 37.5-40 hours per week. However, as crimes can happen at any time and some lab tests may need ongoing monitoring, some extra hours may be required. This role is mainly office/lab based but with some on-site work.
Forensic scientist salary
As for how much does a forensic scientist make, entry-level jobs earn around £20,000 a year, moving up to £45K with more senior roles. forensic scientist
Forensic scientists are hired by police forces, government departments, special units, universities, laboratories and more.
What does a medicinal chemist do?
A medicinal chemist is an R&D (Research and Development) role, working daily on the discovery of new drugs that can be used to treat patients of illnesses ranging from hay fever, to cancer, to Alzheimer’s.
The work involves planning and conducting specific scientific experiments on proteins found in drug compounds and on proteins found in the human body, analysing the potential effects of one on the other to identify which compounds can be used to fight certain biological conditions.
You’ll keep running these tests, fine-tuning the compounds until you have found one that works. You’ll then run more tests to ensure these compounds are safe for human trialling.
You’ll love working as a medicinal chemist because it’ll utilise your lab skills, using and developing your knowledge of conducting experiments and compounds of different medicines. Plus, your work could lead to the discovery of a drug that could save thousands of people’s lives.
Day to day tasks
A day in the life of a medicinal chemist involves:
Analysing data collected during testing, using data to refine and plan further tests
Researching and developing new methodologies for testing
Keeping the lab fully stocked and updated in line with industry standards
Attending internal and external meetings, lectures and conferences – both to improve your industry and scientific knowledge and sometimes presenting on the work you are doing
A medicinal chemist typically works office hours of 9-5pm, Monday-Friday, though extra hours may be required. You’ll be mainly based in your laboratory conducting experiments, though some travel to meetings/events will be needed.
Medicinal chemist salary
Starting salary depends on the employer, ranging from £18-£28,000, with experienced positions paying up to £60,000, according to . Payscale
Note: A lot of drug research is becoming computerised. To further progress your career, you could develop your computational analytical skills – learning coding methods such as python and cheminformatics to analyse drug and body proteins.
Typical employers include pharmaceutical companies, who manufacture and sell drugs, research companies, who carry out work on behalf of the drug companies, research institutes, the government, universities or working for medical charities.
Most employers in the UK are based in London and the South East, however there is potential for working abroad, with Switzerland, Germany, China, Japan and the US all known for their pharmaceutical industries.
You can search for jobs on specific site such as
or Chemistry World Jobs . New Scientist
What does a microbiologist do?
Microbiologists study the biology of microorganisms. They work mainly in their laboratories and offices, testing and analysing samples and writing reports on their findings.
Their work can cover specialisms such as healthcare and pharmaceutical, agriculture and food safety, manufacturing, and environmental industries.
Those who work in healthcare and pharmaceuticals focus on the study of microorganisms that cause illnesses and infections, such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria, and work to identify how they grow, develop and spread. This is in order to find out how to prevent them, diagnose them and treat those infected with them.
Those who work in manufacturing or environmental industries work on quality control within their industries – ensuring no contamination has taken place,
Those who work in agriculture and food safety do a mixture of both.
Day to day tasks
Collecting samples from a range of environments
Preparing cultures of micro-organisms ready for testing
Testing samples using a range of analytical techniques
Developing new medicines or vaccines
Developing new methodologies for testing samples and analysing data
Most microbiologists work normal office hours of 9-5, Monday-Friday, though overtime may be required
Microbiologists working in the NHS normally start on Pay Band 6, with a salary of approx. £30,000. Once qualified, salaries move up to Band 7, where salaries range from approx. £37,000 to approx. £43,000. Senior scientists could fall into , with top salaries in the £100,000 range. Band 8 or even 9
Microbiologists working for private companies or in university research departments tend to have higher salaries.
The need for microbiologists span across food standards agencies, government agencies, food companies, hospitals, universities, research institutions and water and waste management companies. One of the biggest employers of microbiologists in the UK is the NHS.
What does a toxicologist do?
work to identify and assess the impact of toxins on human and animal health, and the wider environment. From exposing dangerous substances in our food and water systems and testing that new medicines are safe for human consumption, to analysing the long-term effects of radiation – the hard work of toxicologists is an important part of our everyday life. Toxicologists
There are various specialist toxicologist roles that you could go into, including:
Clinical toxicologists: test the effects of drugs on human bodies
Industrial toxicologists: test the effects of chemicals used in the manufacturing process
Nutritional toxicologists: test the effects of additives in food
Forensic toxicologists: test blood or other fluid samples found at a crime scene to determine if toxins (poisons) were used in any way
Day to day tasks
Duties depend on which field you go in to, but you day will typically involve some of these:
Collecting samples for testing
Running a range of tests and experiments
Keeping accurate records of all tests and test results on centralised databases
Using computer software to analyse and evaluate findings
Writing reports on finding and presenting them to internal and external agencies
Assisting with the creation of national and international regulations relating to toxic substances or working – industrial toxicologists
Assisting doctors with planning and implementing patient treatments – clinical toxicologists
Giving evidence in court
Toxicologists usually work 9-5, Monday-Friday, however some flexibility (i.e. weekend work) might be required if experiments need ongoing monitoring.
Salaries for those working in the private sector start at around £20,000 and progress up to around £55,000, with the being around £35,000, depending on location. average
For those working in the NHS, salaries start on Pay Band 6 (approx. £30,000) and can progress up to approx. £100,000 (Pay Band 9) for senior consultants.
Typical toxicologist employers include environmental agencies, universities, water, pharmaceutcial and chemical companies, hospitals, forensic laboratories and special research organisations. However, it does depend on your specific discipline, with the NHS being a big employer in the UK.
Essential skills required for biomedical sciences jobs
A degree in biomedical sciences is the stepping-stone you need for all these interesting and highly rewarding careers. But an academic qualification is not the only thing you need. To succeed in any of these roles, you’ll also need to have/to be:
Excellent attention to detail
Excellent problem-solving skills
High levels of motivation with the ability to work proactively and think independently
Ability to collaborate and work as part of a large team
Excellent written communication and report writing skills
Exceptional analytical skills, with the ability to evaluate and interpret large amounts quantitative data
Excellent oral communication skills – with both professionals and non-professionals (including patients)
Excellent numeracy, literacy and IT skills
Willingness to adhere to health and safety procedures in the working environment
Willingness to keep learning and stay up to date with latest scientific developments
Patience and resilience in undertaking painstaking, often repetitive work
Further study options for those with a biomedical sciences degree
Although you can enter all of the professions above with an undergraduate biomedical sciences degree, in order to succeed in your field and progress to senior and higher paid roles, a Master’s or even a PhD course in your specialist field could be very beneficial.
There are postgraduate courses in areas such as
, microbiology or toxicology that you can explore that will help you increase your specialist knowledge. forensic science
Note that for many clinical roles within the NHS (including clinical scientist, biomedical scientist and microbiologist roles), you will need to successfully complete the
. NHS Scientist Training Programme
This is a three-year workplace-based programme during which you will be employed. The first year is spent rotating between departments and in the second and third, you’ll choose your specialism. The training also includes study for an approved Master’s degree in your specialism.
At the end of the programme you’ll be able to register with the
Health & Care Professions Council.
Please see individual job roles on NHS Jobs for exact job entry requirements.
Where can you study biomedical sciences?
There are currently over 90 universities offering over . 300 biomedical sciences courses
You can search for the best course for you, based on your own preferences – including our own student reviews, entry requirements and location.
Remember, uni life is more than just the quality of the course. When considering where to study, don’t forget to consider other important aspects such as location; social life and graduate prospects.
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