Job descriptions and industry overviews

Clinical biochemist: job description

21 Jun 2023, 15:37

Clinical biochemists analyse patient samples to help medical staff diagnose illnesses.

Examination of test tube tray

What does a clinical biochemist do? Graduate salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Clinical biochemists are responsible for testing patient samples and interpreting the results for medical staff, including GPs and hospital clinicians.

Typical duties include:

  • analysing specimens of blood, tissues or urine using computer-aided and automated testing procedures in a laboratory
  • investigating abnormal test results and deciding whether further tests are needed
  • working closely with other scientists including chemists, pharmacologists and toxicologists
  • developing new tests
  • meeting patients
  • evaluating the effectiveness of processes
  • carrying out research
  • keeping up to date with relevant scientific literature
  • writing reports of findings
  • applying for funding.

Clinical biochemists tend to work in hospital-based labs, but it’s also common to work in clinics and other patient-focused locations.

The nature of the work means that some evening and on-call work will be necessary.

Graduate salaries

Clinical biochemists on the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) earn around £32,000 according to Once you have completed the programme and progress into a permanent biochemist role, you’ll earn around £39,000.

Typical employers of clinical biochemists

  • The NHS
  • Commercial biotechnology companies
  • Pharmaceuticals manufactures.

While there is a lot of crossover with biomedical science, clinical biochemists typically work within a medical setting, rather than an industrial or academic setting.

Places on the STP (The NHS Scientist Training Programme), which you’ll need to complete before you can apply for permanent jobs, are advertised by the National School of Healthcare Science. The programme leads to a masters-level qualification.

Once you’ve completed the formal programme, you can find vacancies advertised on specialist jobs boards such as and, as well as by specialist pharmaceutical recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

The STP is a work-based programme during which you’ll also study for a masters-level qualification. To begin training with the STP, you will need a 2.1 degree or higher in a relevant discipline such as biochemistry, chemistry or biology. If you have a 2.2 degree, you will still be eligible to apply if you have a higher degree. The application process for the STP typically starts in January.

Scotland has separate training schemes that also involve a three year STP or an equivalent programme.

Work experience will help you gain a place on the STP as competition is stiff. It will also help you establish if this is right career direction for you. Any laboratory and/or hospital experience will be valuable, including work at your university. Look out for STP open days too, as they will give you insights into the work as well as the application process.

After completing the STP, you can apply for a certificate of attainment. This will enable you to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You must be registered with the HCPC to practise as a clinical scientist in the UK.

You could also progress on to the NHS Higher Specialist Scientist Training programme, which is outlined on the National School of Healthcare Science website. This leads to a doctoral-level qualification.

Key skills for clinical biochemists

To be successful in this field you'll need:

  • experience and confidence in working in a laboratory
  • the ability to work both independently and in a team
  • attention to detail
  • academic research skills
  • organisational skills, especially as you will be studying while working
  • a methodical and thorough approach to work
  • excellent IT skills and the ability to learn new packages quickly
  • the drive to continue to learn throughout your career
  • numerical and written skills.

Next: search graduate jobs and internships

View our graduate jobs and internships and don't forget to register with targetjobs to get the latest job opportunities, internships, career advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you.

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

People reading this also searched for roles in these areas:

Related careers advice

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.