Health and Biotech
Our ageing and growing population means demand for health and medical professionals will only increase over time. At the same time new technologies continue to improve detection, prevention and treatment.
The University of Adelaide is the top ranked university in South Australia for health and nursing.
Explore careers and courses
Pave your way into a career in health and biotech. Search for career options and the University of Adelaide degrees that will get you there.
I am starting my career
- Analytical chemist
Chemists test products and materials, prepare specifications and standards to ensure compliance with government health laws. They undertake research and analysis to test theories, techniques and processes. Employers include universities, governments, industry, hospitals and medical research bodies.
Biochemists study chemical processes that occur within individual cells, or digestion and growth, involving whole organisms. They undertake chemical analysis using sophisticated instruments and techniques. They may work in scientific research institutes, hospitals or medical research institutes and biotechnology companies.
- Biomedical scientist
Graduates work in genetics, biochemistry, stem cell research, systems biology, molecular biology of cancer, cancer screening, diagnosing HIV, or as microbiologists/virologists. Graduates work in a wide variety of biomedical research careers. They can be at the frontier of biological research and development of vaccines. Graduates can work in management, patent law and intellectual property, biological ethics and regulation. They may work with healthcare professionals or be employed in management, research, education and specialised laboratory work.
Biophysicists study and research physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, protein behaviour and related phenomena. Employers include government and university research laboratories, hospitals, science museums and a range of processing, manufacturing and research and consulting firms.
Biostatisticians analyse data and statistics on living things collected during medical research studies to draw conclusions or make predications. They may also contribute to the design and execution of research studies in collaboration with other statisticians and scientists.
Biotechnologists apply scientific and engineering principles and practices to develop new biological products and processes, and develop genetically modified micro-organisms, plants and animals. They may be employed in pure research, bioinformatics, industrial applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries or the production of alternative fuels.
- Biotechnology engineer
Firms employ graduates to design processes to more efficiently and effectively produce new medicines for the community. Graduates may also work in research in government agencies or laboratories.
Chemists study and apply the physical and chemical properties of substances to determine their composition, develop new substances, processes and products, and increase scientific knowledge. They may work in government, industrial, university and hospital laboratories, or food processing firms.
- Clinical studies coordinator
Clinical studies coordinators monitor and analyse clinical activities to identify issues, variances, and conflicts. Employers include hospitals, medical laboratories and research institutes.
- Community services officer
Community services officers work in a variety of areas, such as psychology, rehabilitation and social work. They may also be involved in helping clients with counselling issues, leading and organising community group activities. Graduates may be employed in child and adult support agencies or community health centres.
A coroner confirms and certifies the death of an individual; they conduct or order an investigation into the manner or cause of death and investigate or confirm the identity of an unknown person.
Counsellors provide information on vocational, relationship, social and educational difficulties and issues, and work with people to help them to identify and define their emotional issues. Employers include private practice, government agencies, marketing companies and health care agencies.
Criminologists examine the systems by which people accused of crimes are brought to justice, attempt to explain the reasons for criminal behaviour and suggest ways crime might be reduced. Criminologists may specialise in crime prevention, cybercrime, juvenile justice, policing strategies, economic crimes or corrections. They may also work in the social/psychological fields, studying the effects of the criminal justice system or the factors that contribute to off ending behaviour by individuals.
- Dental hygienist
Dental hygienists provide periodontal and preventive dental care for patients of all ages. They are able to work in either private practice or the public sector in areas such as dental education, health promotion and research.
- Dental therapist
Dental therapists provide general dental care for children and adolescents including health promotion, prevention and restorative care. They may be employed in private practice or school dental clinics, dental education, health promotion/ administration and research.
Dentists work in community healthcare centres, dental hospitals or private practice. They may also follow an academic career.
- Doctor / medical practitioner
Graduates can follow a career as a GP in private practice or in hospitals. They can, with further study and experience, become specialist practitioners or researchers in a variety of medical fields.
- Environmental biologist
Environmental biologists are concerned with solving environmental problems and preserving the natural world for future generations. Graduates work in the protection and conservation of the natural environment, and are employed by government agencies, CSIRO, mining companies and community groups.
- Forensic anthropologist
A forensic anthropologist is a scientist who studies the physical development of the human species. They analyse and identify human remains for legal purposes. They work in disaster areas, educational institutions and law enforcement agencies.
- Forensic dentist/odontologist
Forensic dentists are involved in assisting investigative agencies to identify recovered human remains in addition to the identification of whole or fragmented bodies, forensic dentists may also be asked to assist in determining age, race, occupation, previous dental history and socioeconomic status of unidentified human beings.
- Forensic scientist
Forensic scientists apply scientific procedures and techniques to the examination of physical evidence that may assist in legal investigations in relation to criminal, environmental and safety laws. They are employed by government health departments, and state and federal police forces.
A geneticist is a biologist who studies genetics, the science of genes, heredity, and variation of organisms. A geneticist can be employed as a researcher or lecturer. They evaluate, diagnose and manage patients with hereditary conditions or congenital malformations, genetic risk calculation and mutation analysis.
- Health administrator / hospital worker
Graduates may work in management and research in positions such as health service managers, health promotion officers, health policy makers and business managers.
- Health promotion professional
Health promotion officers plan and coordinate health promotion programs for community groups; design and develop public information campaigns using radio, television, newspapers, pamphlets, posters and social media; and design school curriculum material.
- Humanitarian / aid worker
Graduates in relevant disciplines (e.g. economics, health sciences, medicine, engineering) can work with agencies such as Community Aid Abroad, CARE Australia, Engineers Without Borders and Médicins Sans Frontières.
- Indigenous health officer
Indigenous health officers assist general practices and their staff to deliver culturally appropriate services to Indigenous Australians. They provide a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues at a local level. Employers include GP practices, Indigenous health councils and government agencies.
Immunologists undertake research and investigation of the immune system using complex and sophisticated molecular techniques. They are employed in hospitals, universities and government departments.
- International development worker
This career focuses on the efforts of developed countries to reduce poverty in developing countries. Employment can be with government agencies or non-government organisations (NGOs).
- Laboratory manager
Laboratory managers are usually senior scientists who work in the laboratory. They are responsible for the workers under them and the smooth running of the laboratory.
- Laboratory technician
Lab technicians assist scientists in all areas of science by collecting and preparing samples, carrying out experiments, working with scientific equipment, and recording and presenting results for critical analysis.
- Medical physicist
Medical physicists are involved in planning and delivery of radiotherapy in cancer clinics. Possible careers also include work in medical imaging units in public and private hospitals, and as radiation protection officers in private and public institutions.
- Medical scientist
Work involves biomedical research in medical areas such as cancer and other diseases to improve human health. They develop treatments and design research techniques for medical applications. Graduates may be employed in universities and laboratories in the public and private sectors.
- Medical technician
Technicians are involved in analysis of samples collected from patients for potential diagnosis. Work would mainly be in laboratories in the public and private sectors.
- Mental health worker
A mental health worker cares for people with mental health issues, substance abuse, poverty and other social problems. They assist psychiatrists, doctors and nurses by monitoring patients/groups, providing therapeutic assistance and keeping patient records.
Microbiologists study the micro-organisms of the world, looking at how they affect humans and animals, but also microorganisms of commercial/economic importance. Employment is found with hospitals, university research laboratories and medical laboratories.
Nanotechnologists apply scientific and engineering principles and practices to develop new materials on the nanoscale. They may be employed in pure research or biomedical industries.
Neuropsychologists provide assessments and treatment recommendations for people experiencing difficulties with memory, learning, attention, language, reading, problem solving, decision-making or other aspects of behaviour and thinking abilities. Neuropsychologists also provide treatment that may employ cognitive, educational, behavioural or psychosocial methods.
Neuroscientists perform and analyse laboratory tests. They study injuries and diseases affecting the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nervous system and muscle tissue, and may work in hospitals or research centres.
Nursing graduates may work in hospitals and a variety of other health care settings, advanced clinical practice, management, education or research.
- Oral health therapist
Oral health therapists provide prevention, basic dentistry and periodontal maintenance. They form a vital part of the dental team and provide preventive and general dental care for the population in both public and private sectors.
- Pharmaceutical engineer / researcher
This growth area is designed to improve the sustainability, efficiency, drug effectiveness and length of time between drug discoveries to delivery. Projects may include: design of a process to efficiently produce a new drug quality control; validation of production processes and facilities; technology innovation; design of equipment for the pharmaceutical, biotech and healthcare industries; safe disposal of unwanted drugs.
Pharmacologists develop and evaluate the origin, nature, chemistry, effects and uses of drugs in humans and animals. They also study drugs for possible side effects and complications, to ensure they can be used safely and effectively. Employers include private industries, hospitals, medical or research laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry.
Physiologists study the physical workings of the human body, looking at various areas and the way they interact, and the effects of injuries on the human body. Graduates work in hospitals, laboratories and research centres.
Psychiatrists diagnose, assess, treat and prevent human mental, emotional and behavioural disorders. A psychiatrist must first qualify as a medical practitioner and then undertake further training and study to specialise in psychiatry.
Psychologists investigate, assess and provide treatment and counselling to assist with personal, social, educational and occupational adjustment and development. Career options include employment in the private and public sector, or as a consultant, following postgraduate study in the Masters of Psychology. Psychologists can work individually with clients, as advisers to industry or in policy research and development.
- Public health officer
Public health workers specialise in a certain area such as behavioural science and health education, biostatistics and international global health. Their work may bring them to areas with underserved populations or environmental disasters.
- Sports nutritionist
Sports nutritionists are responsible for assisting athletes with their health and performance through nutritional meal plans and supplements. Sports nutritionists assess an athlete’s current condition and monitor their progress. Employers include sports teams, universities, colleges, corporate wellness centres and sports medical practices.
- Welfare officer
Jobs include field workers, project officers, program coordinators, community health workers, counsellors, and policy managers. Positions are available in many areas, including government, councils, hospitals, health centres, unions, community groups and private practice.
- Analytical chemist
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