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Biologist Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Biologist. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Biologist
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Biologist Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

This website features a volume of Job vacancies advertised on behalf of a number of different employers and specialist recruiters that post vacancies on a regular basis so you can start your search for work right here:-

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The following description is an overview of what the above job position entails, what kind of salary you can expect, what hours are involved in carrying out the work, where you can find additional information about the job in both web and trade publication formats and the required skills that may help you in looking for employment in this particular field.

Working Duties Expected

A biologist normally specialises in one area of the biological sciences, for example animal biology, biochemistry, microbiology, plant biology or genetics.

Some areas of investigation include:

• new medicines and treatments
• food safety
• environmental programmes
• plants and animals.

Work activities vary, but normally involve:

• designing and conducting experiments
• making observations or measurements
• researching information
• analysing data, using computers
• writing up results in reports and scientific papers
• presenting findings at scientific meetings or conferences
• supervising the work of support staff
• administrative work.

Biologists generally work in a team with other scientists and technicians. In a university they may be involved in teaching and supervising students. Most biologists work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Some jobs include shift work, evenings, weekends and on-call work. Laboratories are clean and some work requires sterile conditions. Fieldwork conditions depend on the work and the location. A biologist needs to be:

• enquiring, with the ability to think clearly
• a good problem solver
• accurate, with a methodical approach
• interested in and good at science.

Areas of employment include health, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food and biotechnology, environmental biology and ecology, government establishments and agencies, and charity research institutes. Most biologists are graduates, and often a postgraduate qualification is needed. There are no age limits for this work, and the entry requirements are the same as for younger applicants. Biologists are given continuing on-the-job training to learn new experimental techniques and IT developments, and to keep up to date in their specialist area. Promotion is to supervisory and management posts, but career advancement may require relocation.

What does the role encounter?

Of all the sciences, biology covers the broadest range of subject areas. But while biologists may have a good understanding of all these subjects, they will probably specialise in just one. The subject areas include animal biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, ecology, environmental biology, genetics, immunology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, plant biology, physiology and many more.

The work involves:

• designing and conducting experiments, or making observations or measurements
• supervising the work of support staff
• writing up the work in reports and scientific papers
• presenting work at scientific meetings or conferences.

There are many different areas in which biologists work, this might include:

• developing new medicines and treatments for illness and disease
• working out how various biological systems work, from the brain to the blood system, from the immune system to hormones
• conducting clinical or field trials to test the effectiveness and safety of medicines and other products
• improving farm stock or crop production
• working in industry to culture micro-organisms to prevent the spoiling or contamination of food
• working in horticulture on the production and distribution of food crops or plants for commercial or home use
• protecting, conserving, developing policy and developing wildlife habitats
• studying plants and animals in their natural habitats.

Biologists working in universities are involved in teaching and supervising students.
Much of the equipment used is dependent on computer technology, so it is important to understand computers. Biologists need to keep abreast of current research, and there is a certain amount of administrative work. Biologists generally work in a team with other scientists and technicians.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Most biologists work 37 hours a working week, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but this varies. There may be evening and weekend work.

Biologists may work in a laboratory, but many are involved in fieldwork. They use complex, sophisticated and sensitive equipment and procedures.

Laboratories are clean and some work requires sterile conditions. Fieldwork conditions depend on the work and the location. Biologists may work with hazardous substances, or micro-organisms, which cause infectious diseases. Some of the samples they study may be unpleasant.

Laboratory work can involve sitting or standing at a bench or piece of equipment for long periods, and fieldwork can be physically demanding.

Biologists are likely to wear some form of protective clothing, either to protect themselves or to prevent contamination of samples or equipment.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

Generally, pay is higher in the private sector, especially in high-tech areas.
Biologists working in research and teaching in academic institutions receive the following pay:

• Someone starting in a research position in a university, having completed a PhD, will receive around £19,000 a year.
• A senior university lecturer would be paid between £33,820 and £39,958 a year.
• The salary of professors is not fixed, but could be up to £60,000 a year.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• be very good at science
• have enquiring minds and be able to think clearly, creatively and logically
• be good at problem solving
• be able to work accurately and pay great attention to detail
• be able to work well in a team
• have excellent communication skills
• be able to keep up with advances in their field
• understand statistics, data analysis and relevant computer packages.

What type of training will I receive?

Biologists are given continuing on-the-job training to learn new experimental techniques and IT developments, to keep up to date in their specialist area and to keep abreast of health and safety regulations.

Clinical scientists do a four-year training programme to gain registered status, and work towards Membership of the Royal College of Pathologists (MRC Path).

Technicians may study for appropriate NVQs/SVQs Levels 2, 3 or 4 in Laboratory Skills, national or higher national diplomas or certificates, or degrees.

Career Progression:

As biologists progress in their careers, they may take on supervisory and management responsibilities and may move away from science altogether. In industry, scientists may become more involved in the commercial aspects of the company's work.

Biologists are likely to need to relocate to advance their careers.

There are increased opportunities for scientists to work for small or medium-sized companies, and to become self-employed or to start their own companies.

Are there similar types of job or related industries?

Yes, this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:

Biomedical Scientist
Clinical Scientist
Food Scientist
Forensic Scientist
Laboratory Technician
Research Scientist.

Where can I find further information?

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), 12 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY. 020 7930 3477. Website:

Biochemical Society, 59 Portland Place, London W1B 1QW. 020 7580 5530. Website:

Bioindustry Association, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PS. 020 7565 7190. Website:

English Nature, Northminster House, Peterborough PE1 1UA. 01733 455 000. Website:

Forensic Science Society, 18a Mount Parade, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG11 1BX. 01423 506 068. Website:

Genetics Society, Roslin Institute, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9PS. 0131 527 4472. Website:

Health Protection Agency, Floor 11, The Adelphi Building, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HT. 020 7339 1300. Website:

Institute of Biology, 20 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DZ. 0207 581 8333. Website:

Institute of Biomedical Science, 12 Coldbath Square, London EC1R 5HL. 0207 7130214. Website:

Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, 45 Southgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9EH. 01962 868 626. Website:

Institute of Fisheries Management, 22 Rushworth Avenue, West Bridgeford, Nottingham NG2 7LF. 0115 9822317. Website: www.

Institute of Food Science and Technology, 5 Cambridge Court, 210 Shepherd's Bush Road, London W6 7NJ. 0207 603 6316. Website:

Institute of Horticulture, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PS. 0207 245 6943. Website:

Institute of Science and Technology, Stowe House, Netherstowe, Lichfield, Staffordhire WS13 6TJ. 0154 3266 823. Website:

Institute of Water and Environmental Management, 15 John Street, London WC1N 2EB. 0207 831 3110. Website:

NHS Careers, P.O. Box 376, Bristol BS 99 3EY. 0845 6060 655. Website:

Physiological Society, PO Box 11319, London WC1X 8WQ. 020 726 95710. Website:

Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health (Part of Health Protection Scotland), Clifton House, Clifton Place, Glasgow G3 7LN. 0141 300 1100. Website:

Biosciences Federation, 76 Portland Place, London W1B 1NT. 020 7580 5530. Website:

Society for Applied Microbiology, Blore Tower, The Harpur Centre, Bedford MK40 1TQ. 01234 326661. Website:

Society for General Microbiology, Marlborough House, Basingstoke Road, Spencers Wood, Reading, Berks RG7 1AG. 0118 988 1800. Website:

The Society for Radiological Protection , 76 Portland Place, London W1B 1NT. 01364 644487. Website:

Southampton Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton Waterfront Campus, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH. 023 8059 6666. Website:

London Zoological Society, Outer Circle, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY. 0207 449 6601. Website:

What trade magazines are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

New Scientist

Other Useful Biologist Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Biologist job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Biologist Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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