Job type


£18k - £45k

Typical salary

39 – 41

Hours per week

Chemists study the chemical make up of substances and how they behave under different conditions.

More info

  • Requires scientific, numerical and technical skills, and a logical approach to solving problems
  • Option to move into careers like teaching and the media
  • Your job may involve some travelling, for fieldwork or going to meetings and conferences

As an analytical chemist, you'll use a range of methods to investigate the chemical composition of substances. Your aim is to identify and understand the substance and how it behaves in different conditions.


  • Invent and develop new medicines and products
  • Investigate environmental issues
  • Diagnose and treat illness and disease
  • Analyse forensic evidence
  • Teach, lecture, and carry out academic research.
  • Design and conduct laboratory experiments
  • Make observations and note results
  • Write reports and present your findings
  • Supervise the work of support staff such as laboratory technicians
  • Carry out other administrative work


Much of your work will take place in a laboratory, with some computer-based work in a laboratory or office. You need to be comfortable with working to tight deadlines.

Some travelling may be involved, for fieldwork or going to meetings and conferences.

You'll usually be expected to work 9am to 5pm but may have to do some extra hours depending on your workload. Part-time work may be possible.

You'll need

Chemists require skills such as scientific, numerical and technical skills, excellent problem solving skills and must be thorough and pay attention to detail.

You'll usually need a degree in chemistry, applied or analytical chemistry, biochemistry, or a related scientific subject.

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 directly into professional practice or further postgraduate study. You'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including maths and a science, at least 2 or 3 A levels, including chemistry.

You could start your career as a laboratory technician and train as a chemist while working by doing a relevant qualification. Laboratory experience is required for this career.

The following apprenticeships may be relevant to this role: Level 5 Technician Scientist, Level 6 Laboratory Scientist, or
Level 7 Research Scientist.

You'll usually be able to find work with a wide range of employers including the NHS, public health laboratories, research institutes and government agencies. It may be useful to apply for registered Scientist or Chartered Chemist status; you can find out more from the Royal Society of Chemistry.


As a chemist working in industry, you could be involved in research and development, patent work, health and safety or forensic science.

You could also move into teaching or a career in the media.

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