A biochemist is responsible for researching the causes of disease and potential new treatment methods.
A degree is essential for the majority of biochemistry jobs. Entry to biochemistry degree courses is usually with at least two A levels, including chemistry and biology. Increasingly, employers are seeking candidates with relevant laboratory experience. In the NHS, graduates with a first degree in biochemistry can enter into trainee clinical biochemist positions and study for a masters degree on-the-job. In order to enter into direct employment as a registered clinical biochemist in the NHS, an approved postgraduate qualification in biochemistry is required. Once in employment, all biochemists are provided with regular on-the-job training covering new experimental techniques and health and safety regulations.
The NHS and private bioscience companies are the main employers of biochemists in the UK. Employment opportunities can often be found through specialist recruitment agencies. The majority of biochemist jobs involve working 37.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Biochemists working in NHS hospitals may be required to perform on-call work.
Starting salaries for trained biochemists are around £24,000 a year. As biochemists progress in their field, they may be provided with the opportunity to take on supervisory or management posts.