A genetics degree can lead to a career in health, scientific research or industry and also provides a range of skills that can be used in many other sectors
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Academic researcher
- Clinical research associate
- Clinical scientist, genomics
- Clinical scientist, immunology
- Genetic counsellor
- Plant breeder/geneticist
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Research scientist (medical)
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Forensic scientist
- 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. Some courses provide the opportunity for a year out in industry or with a research institute, or some form of shorter work placement either in the UK or abroad.
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.
Many careers relating to genetics are based in the health services, so employers tend to be hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and universities.
However, opportunities within food and drink companies, the health and beauty care industry, and research and consultancy companies are also available.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is comprised of seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England. The 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, biomedical research, agricultural and horticultural, conservation and environmental assessment. It's also possible to use your skills in fields like teaching, business, finance and retail.
Skills for your CV
Studying genetics provides you with specialist subject knowledge, as well as skills in scientific protocol, biological research and laboratory practice, which is essential if you intend to pursue a career in a genetics-related job.
Employers are also interested in the broader skills you acquire, such as:
- recording, analysis and interpretation of masses of scientific data
- logical thinking, numeracy and computing skills
- 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
- teamwork and strong interpersonal skills.
Many genetics-related employers value postgraduate study and the technical and research skills you develop to a higher level, as well as other transferable skills such as critical analysis and report writing. Postgraduate study at Masters and PhD level is particularly useful for jobs in research.
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?
Graduates use the transferable skills gained from their degree to enter a variety of professions, with just a fifth (21%) becoming science professionals. This includes biochemists, medical scientists, laboratory technicians, and natural and social science professionals.
|Working and studying||6.3|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Business, HR and finance||15.1|
|Technicians and other professionals||12.5|
Find out what other science graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.