A genetics degree can lead to a career in scientific research or industry, as well as setting you up with skills that can be used in a range of alternative jobs
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Clinical research associate
- Healthcare scientist, genomics
- Healthcare scientist, immunology
- Plant breeder/geneticist
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Research scientist (medical)
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Healthcare scientist, physiology
- Medical sales representative
- Physician associate
- Scientific laboratory technician
- Science writer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Practical experience gained through work shadowing and placements in the laboratory or field may increase your chances of finding genetics-related work. It's also useful to build up knowledge of the range of techniques used in the area.
It's a good idea to gain some experience within industry as well as academia so you can compare the two and decide which you prefer. Temporary work within a healthcare environment, for example in a hospital, may also prove useful in helping you explore career ideas.
You might decide to do some volunteering with organisations that specialise in researching genetic conditions or supporting people with inherited disorders.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
Most careers relating to genetics are based in the health services, so employers tend to be hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and universities.
Opportunities are also developing in food and drink companies, health and beauty care, biotechnology, and research and consultancy companies. The government-sponsored research councils have laboratories that recruit scientists, but you'll usually need a higher degree.
You may want to consider opportunities in industries related to biological sciences, such as biotechnology, agricultural and horticultural companies. It's also possible to use your skills in unrelated fields like business, finance and retail.
Skills for your CV
In addition to gaining specialist subject knowledge, which is important if you intend to pursue a career in a genetics-related job, you'll also develop more general practical and technical skills such as:
- logical thinking, numeracy and computing skills;
- the ability to handle masses of diverse data and draw conclusions;
- awareness of current issues and ethical debates;
- communication skills including report writing and making presentations;
- time management;
- problem solving;
- self-reliance and initiative;
- business awareness;
- team work and strong interpersonal skills.
Many genetics-related employers really value postgraduate study and the technical skills that are developed to a higher level. It is particularly useful for jobs in research but also helps with other transferable skills such as analytical and report writing.
There are many options at postgraduate level to enhance the knowledge gained in your first degree. Some subjects are directly related such as medical and molecular genetics, while others derive from genetics, like immunology and pharmacology.
What do genetics graduates do?
Six months after graduation, just under half of genetics graduates are in employment in the UK, with around a third going on to complete further study. Graduates use the transferable skills gained from their degree to enter a wide variety of professions, with just under a half entering science-related professions.
|Working and studying||6.2|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Retail, catering and bar work||18.4|
|Technicians and other professionals||14.3|
|Business, HR and financial||12|
Find out what other science graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.