Working in science and research with A levels (or similar)

You may be able to get a job in science and research with A levels or equivalent Level 3 qualifications, but options may be limited. Many people in the industry have degrees.

Apprenticeship schemes may help you gain experience and qualifications while you work. Finding an apprenticeship is possible but not easy, and you will need to prove to a company that you are ready to work and are genuinely interested in science.

Case study

Working in science and research

I went on to complete an NVQ Level 3 in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (LATA).

Harry Green, analytical quality control scientist

Example jobs

Animal technician
Responsible for the welfare of laboratory animals used in scientific research.

Science education technician
Supports science and design and technology teachers by preparing equipment and materials.

Pharmacy retail worker
Assists customers, passing queries to the pharmacist when required.

Food technician
Works closely with food scientists in research and development and quality control.

Measurement and control technician
Monitors production processes and equipment in industries such as manufacturing and engineering.

Gas and oil instrument technician
Looks after high-voltage power generation and distribution systems specially designed for use in hazardous areas.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

You will receive at least the minimum wage or minimum apprentice wage if you are training.

Salaries will vary with experience.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • Many technician jobs involve working shifts.
  • You may need to move away from home, and some jobs in the industry offer the opportunity to work abroad.
  • For other jobs you may work in a lab or factory.

Qualifications needed

  • All careers at this level require good grades at Level 2, including maths, English and science subjects at C or above.
  • To progress in science and research, it is important to study A levels in science and/or maths or Level 3 vocational qualifications in similar subjects.

Career path

  • Progression routes will vary depending on the career path you choose.
  • Apprenticeships are available in many science and research areas. Many employers also offer training programmes.
  • You may also want to consider further part-time study to improve your employability prospects, such as a foundation degree, an HNC or an HND.

Useful links

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