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Toxicologist: Salary and career prospects

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Career progression may see you specialising in a certain area of toxicology and moving away from the laboratory


  • Starting salaries for graduate toxicologists in private sector industry range from £22,000 to £27,000.
  • Toxicologists working within the NHS start on salaries around £21,400. With experience, salaries ranging from £25,700 to more than £34,500 can be reached.
  • The salary range for highly experienced toxicologists in the public or private sector can rise to £75,000 and beyond.

Salaries may be lower in some public sector and contract laboratories and location will influence salary.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Professional training

Once you're in the job, you may want to work towards a Masters or PhD relating to your specific area of toxicology. For example, if you're working in environmental or ecotoxicology, you could take a Masters in a subject such as pollution science, waste management or aquatic resource management. This could be helpful for longer-term career progression and some employers may support and even sponsor you to do this while working.

You can also take relevant advanced qualifications at diploma level through the following organisations:

In addition to practical laboratory-based and GLP (good laboratory practice) training, you're likely to receive training in project and study management, data interpretation, report writing, and presentation skills. If you're involved in forensic work you will be trained in court reporting as well.

Toxicologists working within the NHS have to undergo specific training, which varies depending on the entry route to the profession. Get more information from NHS Careers: Analytical Toxicology .

Career development

It's likely that as your career progresses, you'll spend less time on practical and laboratory-based scientific work and more time on office-based and supervisory work. You can progress into project management, having the responsibility of directing others. There may be opportunities to move into consultancy work.

There is scope to specialise within toxicology or to move into related scientific fields. Opportunities depend on your background and experience but specialist areas include:

  • neurotoxicology;
  • immunotoxicology;
  • safety pharmacology;
  • toxicology of biotechnology products.

Once you've gained some experience, you'll be able to apply to become a Registered Toxicologist on the UK Register of Toxicologists . To become registered you need to:

  • have a degree in a relevant science;
  • have at least five years' subsequent toxicological experience;
  • pass assessment of suitability for registration, for example by published works or reviews;
  • be currently engaged in the practice of toxicology;
  • provide two senior toxicologists as referees.

Gaining entry to the UK Register gives you automatic membership of EUROTOX: Federation of European Toxicologists and European Societies of Toxicology .

Written by AGCAS editors
August 2014

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