13-07-2023

PHARMACOLOGIST AS A CAREER FOR STUDENTS STUDYING BIOLOGY IN THE UK

Biology is a popular degree subject and is the study of living creatures; it is heavily concerned with health and science so most tend to take career routes in this area, though this doesn’t mean there aren’t other options for you. The typical jobs many people become are academic researcher, microbiologist, pharmacologist and marine biologist and many others. 

WHY A BIOLOGIST? 

Biologists are naturally interested in experimenting and asking questions. They do this by research or conducting experiments in labs or in similar settings, or they can be found working in less obvious places that people don’t always think of at first when they think of biologists. Biologists can work in a variety of clinical settings and jobs where science is a major factor of their work, like vets, dentistry, health, physiotherapy, and technical areas.  

Pharmacologist  

A pharmacologist is someone who works to understand how medicinal drugs affect the body and how they can be improved and used more effectively in a way that is safe for the human body to ingest.  

What you’ll be doing in your normal work is also learning how some drugs may cause addictive behaviours and why people react in different ways to them, most likely in academia. Understanding the activity of a drug in the human body is what they do in simple terms. A level of teamwork will be required as pharmacologists need to cooperate with other scientists in meetings and collaborations.  

Even within pharmacology, as a biologist, there are options to pick in where exactly you will specialise in. Some of these areas are cardiovascular pharmacology, clinical pharmacology or if you prefer to work with animals rather than humans, veterinary pharmacology.  

Pharmacologists are very important as they are the ones who study and define medicinal drugs; without them, hospitals and those unwell would be in trouble, and in senior positions in this career you can expect to earn around £80,000. Salaries usually are higher in academia than in the industry, as pharmacologists with a PhD typically make more. For this reason, the ultimate earning potential below will follow this route. 

Ultimate Earning Potential  

Position in career Associated Salary (UK) 
Postdoctoral Position  
To secure a role in a postdoctoral position as a pharmacologist you must earn a PhD in most cases and carry out substantial research. You can apply for funding but remember to check as each position has different guidelines on it.  
£28,000 - £40,000 
Lecturer  
To be a lecturer you must have enough qualifications and experience; this role can vary since every institute is different so it will depend on your individual circumstances.  
£55,000 
Senior Position 
As with all senior positions in any job sector, a large amount of relevant experience is required – not just in your area of pharmacology knowledge but in the industry. This means when you graduate try and get as much work experience as possible to boost your position. 
£35,000 - £80,000 

Top 10 Employers  

  1. Certara Strategic Consulting 
  2. GlaxoSmithKline 
  3. Charles River 
  4. Richmond Pharmacology 
  5. Labcorp Drug Development 
  6. Certara Strategic Consulting 
  7. CK Group 
  8. UCB (Biopharmaceutical Company) 
  9. Healx 
  10. Simbec-Orion 

Top Employers and What They Want  

Employers in any sector are keen to look for candidates who are qualified, but also for graduates who are willing to learn and be motivated. Having the right qualities are important since getting a biology degree is sadly not enough for securing a job anymore. Personality qualities like resilience and perseverance are needed since your job might require adaptability, so your employers need to know if you can manage.  

Another thing that top employers look for are people who take the initiative – having confidence in your work regardless of your self-doubts is vital in succeeding in your career. Ask for help when you need it, take the lead, and sometimes take risks.  

Lastly, what will really boost your CV is work experience. You’ve probably heard it many times, but work experience is really the difference between getting a job or missing out. Alongside your biology degree, try your best to find some sort of relevant work experience, and you will be grateful when searching for a job. It doesn’t matter how often or small the work is, just actively going out to find something voluntary in your own time is what will impress top employers. 

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