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Article: Science


'Science' looks at some of the jobs related to this subject that might interest you.


Science can help you to understand the world around you. Through studying this subject, you can also develop skills that are useful in a wide variety of careers, including those not directly related to science.

Some of the main skills are:

  • finding information from a variety of sources
  • making calculations and accurate measurements
  • using a thorough, methodical approach to solve problems
  • questioning whether information is accurate
  • keeping accurate records and writing different types of documents
  • the ability to use ICT and other technology

Science qualifications

There are several GCSEs in this area. What you'll take depends on which GCSEs are available in your school and what your teacher thinks is best for you.

GCSE science helps you to develop knowledge and understanding of the science you'll meet in your everyday life.

As well as GCSE science, you might be able to take another GCSE in either:

  • additional science - helps you to gain a deeper understanding of basic scientific ideas.
  • additional applied science - shows how science works in real, work-related situations

Or, you might be able to take one or more GCSEs in the separate science subjects of biology, chemistry and physics.

Alternative qualifications include BTEC level 2 qualificiations in applied science, and Cambridge Nationals in science.

After GCSE or equivalent, you could go on to take an A level in biology, chemistry, physics or applied science. Alternatives include BTEC level 3 qualifications in applied science.

At university, there are degrees, HNDs and foundation degrees in the very wide range of subjects and specialist areas that are related to science.

To enter some careers, a postgraduate qualification can be an advantage. For others, such as astronomy, it is almost impossible to enter without a postgraduate qualification such as a PhD.

Science careers

Scientists study and explain the world around us, often with the aim of solving problems or improving aspects of modern life.

In their investigations, scientists need a logical, systematic approach. They carefully design, monitor and analyse experiments to reach conclusions. They must also explain their findings clearly and concisely to others.

Examples of their work include:

  • creating new drugs to treat disease
  • finding stronger and lighter materials to build aircraft with
  • improving the colour and taste of foods
  • developing alternative sources of energy, for example, wind and solar power

The three main areas of science are:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • physics

However, these areas are often interlinked at many levels. For example, Biochemists study the chemistry of living things. Also, many Scientists work in inter-disciplinary teams, alongside other types of Scientist. They share their knowledge and expertise.

This article introduces just some of the very many careers that involve knowledge of science. It's important to find out more about the jobs you're interested in, to check which qualifications you'll need for entry.

Pure and applied research

In the following careers, it's possible to be involved in both pure and applied research.

  • Zoological Scientists study animals, including their physiology, reproduction and genetics, behaviour, diseases and ecology
  • Biotechnologists use biology to solve problems in areas such as health care, the pharmaceutical industry and food production
  • Analytical Scientists investigate substances to identify them. They also work out how much of a substance there is in a sample. Their findings help to ensure the safety and quality of food and drink, develop drugs and medicines, monitor and protect public safety and the environment, diagnose disease, and increase the efficiency and safety of manufacturing processes.
  • Biochemists study the chemistry of life. They investigate how life works at all levels, from molecules to cells and then plants and animals. They can use their knowledge to solve problems, for example, in health care, farming, and developing medicines and food products.
  • Acousticians study the physics and management of sound, using their knowledge to solve problems in areas such as industry, medicine and the environment
  • Astronomers study the physics of the universe, including the workings of stars, planets and galaxies. They make observations using telescopes on the ground or in space, and analyse and predict the behaviour of all the objects in the universe.

Across all these areas, there are Laboratory Technicians who help and support the Scientists. For example, they set up equipment, prepare and carry out experiments, take measurements, analyse results and report on their findings.

Armed forces

People working in the armed forces defend the UK, and British interests in other countries, from attack on land, at sea and in the air.

They must work together very closely in teams. They often use complicated equipment that can be dangerous if not handled properly. It's important to be disciplined and obey orders in these careers.


Science is one of the statutory subjects in the National Curriculum at Key Stage 4, meaning all pupils study it up to the age of 16. It covers biology, chemistry and physics, but students might be able to study these as separate subjects, depending on their school.

Science Teachers teach pupils about how science is relevant to their everyday lives and the natural world around them. They study scientific theories, and topics such as global warming, genetic modification, radioactive substances, how to keep healthy and how drugs affect the body.

Teaching methods include group and project work, doing experiments, and using interactive whiteboards, audio-visual materials and the internet, as well as more traditional teaching sessions.

Health and medicine

Science is essential to many areas of health and medicine. Doctors need knowledge of both biology and chemistry, for example.

Here are some other careers in health and medicine that use scientific knowledge.

  • Biomedical Scientists test samples of things such as blood and tissue. This helps Doctors to diagnose, treat and study disease.
  • Medical Laboratory Assistants help and support scientists in medical laboratories. They have tasks such as sorting blood samples, sterilising equipment and carefully throwing away waste.
  • Respiratory Physiologists use equipment to test and measure patients' breathing
  • Optometrists examine people's eyes to detect problems such as long- or short-sightedness, or disease. They try to correct sight problems by prescribing glasses or contact lenses.
  • Medical Physicists design, develop and test medical equipment. This is used to diagnose and treat patients in hospital. Examples are X-ray machines, radiotherapy equipment and incubators for premature babies.

Working with plants and animals

People working in forestry, fish farming, animal care, agriculture and horticulture can benefit from a basic understanding of biological processes, for example, how they affect growth, the spread of disease, nutrition and reproduction.

Construction jobs

Bricklayers, Plumbers, Glaziers and other people involved in building work must be able to make accurate measurements, using a range of equipment.

They use their hands and a variety of tools to build houses and other buildings, and put roofs, staircases, electrical wiring and plumbing in them. They have to follow plans and diagrams that show how the building is meant to look.

Manufacturing industries

Science plays an important part in many manufacturing industries. For example, Brewery Workers and Chemical Plant Process Operators both need some scientific knowledge.


Engineers use scientific principles to find creative solutions to practical problems. Their work is very varied and impacts on all our lives, through areas such as construction, manufacturing, processing, communications, transport, fuel and medical technology.

There are many areas of engineering. This section introduces the main areas.

  • Mechanical engineering: the design, manufacture and maintenance of all moving parts of machinery. This is a very diverse area, including everything from the design of Formula 1 cars to installing gas turbines in industry.
  • Chemical engineering: this covers changing raw materials into a wide range of useful products, such as plastics, dyes, drugs/medicines, paints and cleaning products
  • Electrical engineering: generating and supplying power to homes and businesses Electronics engineering: developing products that use electricity, such as computers, satellites and digital televisions
  • Civil engineering: designing and building structures such as roads, bridges, airports and tunnels
  • Engineering Technicians solve technical problems in research and development, manufacturing, sales, construction, inspection and maintenance. Their work is more practical than that of Engineers.

Further Information

Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM)

Address: Fairmount House, 230 Tadcaster Road, York YO24 1ES

Tel: 01904 610821



Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)

Address: 12 Coldbath Square, London EC1R 5HL

Tel: 020 7713 0214



Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology (ARTP)

Address: Executive Business Support Ltd, City Wharf, Davidson Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS14 9DZ

Tel: 0845 2263062



Engineering Council

Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX

Tel: 020 3206 0500


Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

Address: Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 0WF

Tel: 01223 420066


British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA)

Address: Regents Park, London NW1 4RY

Tel: 020 7449 6599



Royal Society of Biology

Address: Charles Darwin House, 12 Roger Street, London WC1N 2JU

Tel: 020 7685 2550




Women in science, engineering and technology

Address: Quest House, 38 Vicar Lane, Bradford BD1 5LD

Tel: 01274 724009



Institute of Acoustics (IOA)

Address: 3rd Floor St Peter's House, 45-49 Victoria Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 3WZ

Tel: 01727 848195



Institute of Physics (IOP)

Address: 76 Portland Place, London W1B 1NT

Tel: 020 7470 4800



Institute of Science & Technology (IST)

Address: Kingfisher House, 90 Rockingham Road, Sheffield S1 4EB

Tel: 0114 2763197




Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies

Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT

Tel: 0845 6439001




New Scientist

Publisher: Reed Business Information Ltd



Planet Science

Publisher: Tinopolis


Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Address: Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2AY

Tel: 01438 313311



College of Optometrists

Address: 42 Craven Street, London WC2N 5NG

Tel: 020 7839 6000


Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD)

Address: 33 Clarges Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7EE

Tel: 020 7499 8144



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