Careers in the sciences go further than meddling around with test tubes in a lab, adorned with crazy hair! There are a wide variety of occupations available in this sector including:

  • Product and process development;
  • Research and development;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Teaching;
  • Writing and editing;
  • Management and administration;
  • Consultancy;
  • Data management;
  • IT support.

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Also take a look at these relevant career sectors:

Jobs and salaries

Jobs in science go beyond medicine, and include areas such as the environment, food production, teaching, regulation and ecology. Take a look at this website that gives you an idea of the key career paths in science, created by two science graduates. 

The website Future Morph is a good place to start for young people thinking about their future in science.

The Science Council is currently investigating professional registers for science technicians, in addition to the existing Chartered Scientist role.

Academic areas of science:

  • Find out which careers an interest in biology can lead you to.


Food and sports sciences:

  • Explore the IFST (The Institute of Food Science and Technology) for some more job ideas. There is also food research.
  • Take a look at job profiles within sports and exercise science.

Clinical research and pharmaceuticals:

  • Clinical research is another area you could consider within science.
  • There are many options for a career in pharmaceuticals.

Routes and qualifications 

This is a sector in which it is usually necessary to have formal qualifications and study at university. However, there are also opportunities to learn and develop on the job. You should first think about which area of science interests you most, and then take a look at the relevant professional body (either via this link or by following the links on this page) to find out what they tell you about routes to a career in that area.

  • Read more about training and resources for those in a chemistry profession who want to stay up to date with all the advances in their field.
  • Learn about events to increase your biomedical knowledge and help maintain professional standards.
  • The IEEM (Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) also offer courses and workshops.
  • Like all professionals it is essential for food scientists and technologists to keep their skills and knowledge constantly updated. Read more about courses offered by the IFST.

Funding and support 

  • Check out the pages on student finance from, and/or contact the funding or careers departments of the organisations you are considering training with.
  • Take a look at grants for scientists and academics from the Royal Society.

What's it really like working in this sector?

  • Take a look at these career stories, showing the varied roles scientists take.
  • We also have a selection of career videos from people working in the science sector.
  • Find out what jobs in the technical sector are like, from members of the IST (Institute of Science and Technology).

How many jobs are there in this sector?

Almost one million people work in the science sector in the UK. Why not join them? There is work going on to promote more women working in science, engineering and technology.

Location, location, location

As you have seen in this sector summary, the roles in this sector are extremely varied so you could find yourself just about anywhere in the world if you follow a career in Science.

Will a career in this sector suit me?

  • Logical, critical thinking.
  • Good organisational and planning skills.
  • Communication and team working skills.
  • IT skills.
  • The ability to work quickly, accurately, and independently.

Because of the technical nature of most jobs in the science sector, employers will specify that applicants for specific posts need a particular qualification and grade. Increasingly a number of jobs also require a combination of postgraduate study up to PhD level and work experience.