Biomedical Science

A biomedical science degree is one of the most versatile in terms of choosing careers in both scientific and non-scientific fields. If you would like to find out more about your career options and help in looking for job opportunities, training or postgraduate courses, have a look at the following information or come in to see us here at the Careers Centre.

Career options with Biomedical Science

The degree can provide a great foundation to many employment sectors including health and life science, scientific research/development and industries such as brewing, food, pharmaceuticals, water, waste management and chemicals.

For an overview of careers in science and health see:

It is important to research roles in each sector to clarify entry requirements. The list below provides a starting point.  

Lab based life science

Working in health laboratories testing tissue samples and fluids. Roles include:Biomedical scientist, Clinical biochemist, Clinical research associate, Clinical cytogeneticist, Haematologist, Immunologist, Microbiologist, Toxicologist

See the NHS information on careers in life science.

Research

Working in universities, pharmaceuticals and other industries, research councils, charities to increase the body of scientific knowledge on topics related to medicine through the use of experiments. Medical research scientists may also work to develop new, or improve existing, drugs, treatments or other medically related products. For example:

Brewing

Roles such as Technical Brewer make use of your biomedical skills and knowledge. Roles also exist in the following areas:

  • Engineering (development, operation and maintenance of plants)
  • Research and development
  • Cellar services
  • Business functions such as finance, sales, marketing and logistics.

See the Institute of Brewing and distillery for more information.

Food

Roles exist in the following areas:

  • Food Auditing, Quality and Environmental Health
  • Product Development, Food Technology and Microbiology
  • Research
  • Business functions such as marketing.

For more details see the Institute of Food Technology's case studies of careers in food.

Pharmaceuticals

Roles exists in areas such as:

  • Research and development (drug safety, genetics, imaging, clinical studies, regulatory affairs)
  • Manufacturing and supply (engineering, manufacturing, quality)
  • Commercial (healthcare communication, sales and marketing)

For more details see the Association for the British Pharmaceutical Industry. In particular see the ABPIs page on the roles open to you with the degree you have chosen.

Water and Waste Management

Roles include: Environmental Technician, Water Quality Sampling Officer, Biochemist, Waste Management Officer.

See Energy and Utilities Skills for more details.

Chemicals

Roles include: Laboratory Technician, Chemical Engineer, Research and Development Officer, Health Safety Officer and Environmental Officer.

See Cogent for more information. For agrochemicals in particular see The British Crop Production Council.  

Energy

Roles include: Energy and Sustainability Consultant, Energy Conservation Officer, Environmental Consultant, Energy and Environmental Analyst, Energy Officer.

See Energy Zone for more information. 

Nuclear

Roles include: Science Technician, Safety Scientist, Environment Scientist.

See Cogent for more information.

Petroleum 

Roles include: Downstream Control Officer, Laboratory Technician, Technical Services Manager, Health and Safety Officer and Environmental Manager.

See Cogent for more information.

Polymers (plastics)

Roles include: Process Operator, Laboratory Assistant, Research and Development Engineer, Quality Assurance Technician.

See Cogent for more information. 

More options

  • Science teaching or lecturing
  • Scientific campaign or policy work within Government departments, charities or organisations promoting science.
  • Working within the above industries in a non science role, for instance HR, marketing, sales, finance, logistics.

Many employers recruit based on your transferable skills rather than subject knowledge. This opens up a wide variety of non-science career possibilities. See our guidance on generating career ideas.  

Entry and gaining work experience

Some roles will require you to complete postgraduate training, for example research where an MSc or PhD is usually required. Check entry requirements for individual roles.

Laboratory based work experience is also often required. Here are some suggestions:

  • See the NHS job site for training vacancies in hospitals.
  • The NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) is a 3 year graduate scheme preparing you for science career in the NHS. There are about 200 places every year with recruitment taking place usually in Feb and with closing dates in March and start dates in September.
  • Contact specialist NHS laboratories yourself speculatively, but be aware that many labs do not take placement students due to the sensitivity of the information they deal with.
  • Try getting work experience outside of the NHS, eg in university labs, private sector hospitals and in industry. See list of employers and directories below.
  • Apply for laboratory technician jobs where you would set up experiments, record findings, manage stock and equipment. Although these roles don’t require a degree, they may provide a good stepping stone. The National Careers Service and Prospects provides details of roles such as: Laboratory Technician, Education technician, Food scientist or technologist, Materials Technician, Garment Technologist also see Cogent for entry level roles in industry (eg chemicals and pharmaceuticals).
  • Within all sectors, roles exist in HR, finance, sales, logistics, marketing and may provide an alternative route into a company.

Typical employers, vacancies and directories

Lab based life science  

Employers include:

  • NHS hospitals
  • Private sector hospitals and labs
  • Forensic Science labs, eg LCG Forensics, Orchid Cellmark, Scientifics and forensic science units on police forces
  • Health Protection Agency (The HPA seeks to improve health through the diagnosis, prevention and control of infections and communicable diseases. Scientists test samples of drinking water, milk and foodstuffs to make sure they are fit for human consumption).
  • National Blood Authority (provides support to hospital blood banks and the Blood Transfusion Service).
  • The veterinary service
  • Health and Safety Executive (independent regulator for health and safety in the workplace)
  • University laboratories
  • Pharmaceutical and product manufacturers

Vacancies and useful directories

Research

Employers include:

  • Universities
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Research Councils (MRC)
  • NHS
  • Charities (eg Cancer Research, Welcome Trust)
  • Medical Research Council (carrying out research in the medical and biological sciences to help preserve health and combat and control disease).

Research vacancies and directories:

Brewing industry vacancies and directories

Food vacancies and directories

Pharmaceutical vacancies and directories

Water and Waste Management vacancies and directories  

  • Ends Job Search Jobs in consultancy, environmental technology, waste and recycling, government, construction, water, science, utilities.
  • Earthworks Jobs in energy, earth science, environmental science, contaminated land, agriculture, soil science, carbon management, waste management, sustainable development.
  • Environment Post Jobs in consulting, business and industry, local authorities, charities and universities.
  • Environmentalist Online Jobs in Government, chemicals, construction, consultancy, energy,  food, water, waste, health
  • Edie Jobs in environment, water, energy and waste.
  • Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management 
  • Green Roles 
  • New Scientist
  • Ends Directory Directory of consultancies working environmental planning, policy development, packaging waste, waste management etc. Some companies listed advertise vacancies on their site, including graduate opportunities. Also contact consultancies speculatively.

Chemicals, petroleum, energy, polymers, nuclear vacancies and directories

Further information

It is vital to find out as much as possible about your chosen sector of work and keep up to date with the latest developments.See the following sites which may also provide excellent resources for coursework: