A career as a biochemist is very rewarding with many employment avenues available. This CareerStint article will give you some important insight on the biochemist salary range, duties, and educational requirements.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of biochemists and biophysicists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.
We all have at some point of time dreamed of becoming scientists, when we used to read science chapters and learn about the remarkable achievements and great lives of scientists? Certainly, many of us have! However, very few of us were determined enough to turn our dream into reality! Scientists are experts who work long hours to invent and discover something new for the betterment of humanity. Biochemists too, are scientists who specialize in the field of biochemistry. Whatever may be the field of work, biochemists help improve the quality of human life. For example, biochemists in the agricultural industry (agricultural and food scientists) have developed new pesticides which kill insects without harming humans. But what is the biochemist salary range, responsibilities, and educational background? Well, let us find out all of that in the following paragraphs.
Annual Mean Salary of a Biochemist
Generally, the educational qualification, experience, and the type of industry decide the salary range of a biochemist. If we are to look at the mean annual salary according to the industry a biochemist works in, it will be something like this:
|Median annual salary
|Research and development services
|Management of companies and enterprises
|Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing companies
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools
|Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers
|Basic chemical manufacturing industry
|General medical and surgical hospitals
* Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Maximum number of jobs were available in the state of California, followed by New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
- The top-paying states for this occupation were New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
- The annual mean wage in New Jersey was $117,370 while that in Indiana was $99,170.
- The Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, (MA) was the metropolitan area which exhibited the highest employment level in this occupation.
- The top-paying metropolitan area for this occupation was Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (CA), and the highest salary received was $153,920.
*Source: BLS data, May 2014
Biochemists Educational Requirements
To make a career in biochemistry, you need to score well in subjects such as chemistry and biology in your high school level. Pursuing courses in genetics, stem cell therapies, and pharmaceutical sciences, would also prove to be useful. The minimum qualification that is required to become a biochemist is a four-year bachelor’s degree. Some people also go in for a master’s degree, and a few opt for a doctoral level of study, if they wish to enter the management, planning, teaching, and administration-related jobs in this field. This increases the chances of better employment. There are many career opportunities for a biochemist. Biochemists with a doctoral degree are preferred at universities to train and mentor upcoming biochemists. You can also seek employment in research labs and large multinationals as senior scientists, if you are qualified enough for this position. The salary of a biochemist will vary according to location, employer type, area of specialization, skills, job duties, and level of experience.
Biochemists and their Duties
Biochemists study the various chemical processes that take place in living organisms. This further includes the study and research on complex chemical reactions taking place in human and animal bodies, such as reproduction, metabolism, heredity, etc. Studying, researching, and preparing comprehensive information on new methods of treatment, developing new products, improving the quantity of crops, monitoring and reducing the effects of pollution on the environment, are some of the main duties of biochemists.
Biochemistry is further classified into different groups, which are independent areas of research and development. Biochemists also work in the area of nutrition. Over here, their main duty is to analyze and find the nutritional value of food. This is done by measuring the food within the limit of its nutrient contents, that include, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, etc. It is further followed by arranging the data in order, and then presenting it for reference purposes. Biochemists also work in the field of medicine. Such biochemists are sometimes called molecular biologists. They research on various useful and harmful bacteria and viruses present in food. They are also responsible for determining how various microorganisms and chemicals have an impact on living organisms.
Speaking in general terms, the job description of a biochemist includes duties and responsibilities such as,
- Designing and conducting various experiments for finding out the chemical reactions of substances in living organisms.
- Analyzing different chemicals in the body by using advanced techniques such as amino acid assay and gel electrophoresis.
- Keeping in touch with the latest trends and techniques associated with related work.
- Coordinating with other scientists, toxicologists, and pharmacologists, to carry out effective research.
- Prepare the documentation of their research, study, and the results of experiments.
- Making the data available at biochemistry conferences.
Degree and postgraduate courses are available in a wide range of subjects such as genetics, microbiology, biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, cell and molecular biology, etc. Apart from the formal education (a bachelor’s/master’s degree, or doctorate in biochemistry), you need to have strong critical and analytical skills. Those, who have an eye for detail, can enjoy this job.