What Can You Do With A Biochemistry Degree

Biochemistry is a complex and fascinating field, and its importance to modern living can not be understated. A Biochemistry degree will give you a thorough understanding of the natural world that we live in, which can prepare you for a number of careers. Whether you’re still in high school, about to graduate from high school, or right out of college, you might be asking yourself what exactly you can do with a biochemistry degree. After all, these degrees aren’t exactly for the faint of heart and many other students don’t understand them. You could handle the hard work that comes with earning a degree in a hard science, but after you get that bachelor’s degree what are you going to do with it?

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What Can You Do With A Biochemistry Degree? The answer is simple–anything. Biochemistry is a gateway degree to many careers and occupations, including medicine and pharmacy, biotechnology, forensic science, environmental science, or just about any other field in which understanding the way living organisms work is important.

can i get a job with a biochemistry degree

Many biochemical research projects are funded by federal government funds through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the NIH. Biochemists can seek positions within these agencies, but availability of positions depends on the level of federal funding. Other settings in which biochemists can seek employment include hospitals, public health laboratories, cancer research institutes, environmental pollution control and public health offices.

The Essential Biochemistry Career Guide

Biochemistry is the place where biology and chemistry intersect. Complex chemical processes take place within all biological organisms, and a biochemistry degree gives graduates an understanding of those processes and how they impact organisms, ecosystems, and habitats. A biochemistry career can help change the world!

Biochemists may study microscopic organisms in or out of the lab.

A strong biochemistry career path starts with a Florida Tech degree

Biochemistry graduates can choose many career paths, including the following…

Common Careers for Biochemistry Graduates

Medicine. Biochemistry is a common pre-med major for those who want to pursue medical school and become physicians and medical professionals. Biochemistry is a useful major for all types of physicians, including those who primarily do research and those who see patients.


The ways in which pharmaceutical drugs impact people or animals is informed by studying biochemistry. Therefore many biochemists get master’s degrees in pharmacology and become pharmacists or researchers in the pharmacology industry. Pharmaceutical sales is another career path in this area, and it doesn’t require an advanced degree.

Agricultural research

Biology isn’t just animals and people; it’s plants too. Scientists are finding better ways to grow crops with higher yields and to take care of various plants so that they contribute to environmental health rather than take away from it.

Zoology and animal population restoration

The biochemistry of animal populations can have a lot to do with their health, well-being, and survival, and biochemists trained to work with animal populations can help to ensure that they remain healthy and thrive no matter what the environmental conditions.

Forensic science

 Biochemical samples are a major part of forensic science, which makes this career an appropriate one for many biochemistry degree graduates. Some bachelor’s level jobs are available, but others require advanced degrees in this field to work in federal or other government agencies.


 Biochemistry graduates can work as biology or chemistry teachers or museum curators, and those with advanced degrees can be professors at universities. Many educators also engage in research and scholarship at the same time, and they have a lasting impact on technologies that are then used by those in other career fields.

Students with an interest in one of these careers may be well-suited for an internship in that area. Besides seeing what a specific career in biochemistry is like, students will get hands-on experience that may help them find a job after graduation.

Biochemists do everything from improve farming practices to studying diseases in animals and people.

Payscale reports that biochemistry careers have entry-level salaries averaging $43,200 with earning potential up to $88,500 as experience grows. Employment can be found in government agencies, non-profit organizations, and for-profit companies of all sizes.

Some organizations that have hired Florida Tech biochemistry graduates in recent years include the American Museum of Natural Science, Andean Biodiversity Consortium, Baltimore Aquarium, Brevard Zoo, and Sea World Florida.

Biochemist - Career Rankings, Salary, Reviews and Advice | US News ...

biochemistry jobs in hospitals

If you can’t find solution to a questions like what can you do with a biochemistry degree, well we will be glad to inform you that a degree in a field like biochemistry is a stepping stone to a wonderful career in the life sciences.

Is Biochemistry A Good Career

If you don’t know what to do after biochemistry degree, well there are plenty of job openings for biochemists interested in carrying out applied research for private companies in health and beauty care, chemical manufacturing, food and drink production, medical instruments and pharmaceutical development. Private companies such as these often have positions for biochemists without advanced degrees. In general, biochemists work in a laboratory or an office, conducting experiments and analyzing results, but research environment varies by the job.

A large portion of research takes place in academic settings, in which the biochemist usually holds a PhD and has started to do independent research after holding a postdoctoral position. An academic environment involves training undergraduate and graduate students and hiring postdoctoral researchers and technicians to conduct the research. Biochemists choose a research topic based on their own interests. Funding usually comes from grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other agencies. The schedule is often set by the scientist and varies depending on the person and the research topic.

By contrast, a biochemist working for a biotech or pharmaceutical company often has the opportunity to work in teams on research projects (wherein they report to a supervisor). Or alternately, they are assigned individual tasks in modern, well-equipped laboratories. The work schedule is generally regular (40-hour weeks) with occasional opportunities for overtime when a project deadline is approaching.

In addition, biochemists can opt for a teaching route that does not involve research; they find these positions at the high school or the university level. As teachers, biochemists put in hours outside of the classroom to be well prepared for their students. As with any career in science, a biochemist who wants to stay current on developments in the field will subscribe to a variety of online or print journals and attend conferences and seminars.


Biochemistry degree | Undergraduate Programs | University of Waterloo


What Degree Do You Need To Be a Biochemist


4 years

The first step to becoming a biochemist is to earn a bachelor’s degree. This can be in biochemistry or in a closely related discipline like biology or bioengineering.

Holding a bachelor’s degree will qualify you for many entry-level positions in product development, quality control, chemical manufacturing, sales, and research. You’ll also need a bachelor’s degree in order to apply graduate school (master’s and doctoral programs).

Bachelor’s degree programs in biochemistry can be found at many 4-year universities. Some students complete their general education requirements at a 2-year college, and then transfer to a larger college to take their biochemistry core courses.

When choosing an undergraduate biochemistry program, look for one that will allow you to get some hands-on laboratory and research experience. If you plan to go on to graduate school, ask where recent alumni have been accepted. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) provides voluntary accreditation for biochemistry bachelor’s programs.

Bachelor’s-level biochemistry programs combine general education courses in English and the humanities with major courses in chemistry, physics, and biology. Typical areas of study include:


A sequence of courses that introduces the chemical properties and behavior of proteins, nucleic acids, fats, and carbohydrates.

Physical chemistry

Examine how matter behaves and reacts at the molecular and atomic levels.

Analytical chemistry

Learn techniques to measure and analyze the composition and structure of matter.


A class sequence focused on the properties of matter related to heat, electromagnetism, mechanics, and atomic structure.

As an undergraduate biochemistry student, it’s important to gain laboratory and research experience. This will help you land jobs after graduation and will also strengthen your graduate school application.

An increasing number of colleges are incorporating research into their biochemistry bachelor’s programs. You can also find research opportunities in industry, the government, and university laboratories. The American Chemical Society maintains a list of summer research programs and internships on its website.


2 years beyond the bachelor’s level

A master’s degree can be a stepping-stone to a doctoral or professional degree (for example, medicine and dentistry). It’s also helpful if you want to perform more complex job tasks as a biochemist or move into a management position.

Most master’s degree programs in biochemistry are located at larger universities. Some things to look for when evaluating a program include:

  • Laboratory and research facilities
  • Research opportunities for master’s-level students
  • Faculty research interests
  • Which employers have hired recent alumni?
  • Where have recent alumni been accepted as Ph.D. candidates?

In order to get into a master’s degree program, you’ll usually need a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry or a closely related science. However, some programs accept candidates with business or law degrees.

Most master’s programs in biochemistry blend coursework with research and scholarly activities. Some subjects you can study at the master’s level:


Survey the process of developing, producing, and marketing biochemical products and processes, including pharmaceuticals.


Understand how complex biological systems like genomic and protein sequences can be analyzed, mapped, and compared.

Cell biology

Learn how cells organize and function at the cellular and molecular levels.

Tumor biology

Study how cancer starts, progresses, and responds to treatments.

Many master’s students also complete a research project or thesis under the direction of an advisor or mentor.


4-7 years beyond the bachelor’s level

You’ll need to earn a doctoral degree (PhD) in order to become a principal research investigator, work on most major research studies, lead product development for industry, or become a professor. Many academic biochemists begin their careers as postdoctoral fellows working alongside mentor scientists at research universities.

PhD programs in biochemistry are generally found at large research universities or within medical schools. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in the field for admission. Many PhD candidates enter their programs with master’s or professional degrees.

Doctoral candidates in biochemistry usually take some coursework early in the program. Some courses are required, but you’ll also have an opportunity to choose topics related to your research. Examples of doctoral level biochemistry courses include:

Developmental genomics

Study the development of the human genome across the lifespan, from embryology to geriatrics.

Cell signaling

Learn how cells “communicate” with other cells by releasing chemical messages into the extracellular space.

Nucleic acid metabolism

Gain an understanding of the interactions between proteins and nucleic acid, plus techniques for studying these reactions.

Gene expression

Covers the mechanisms by which genes alter cell development and differentiation.

After completing your coursework and passing a round of comprehensive exams, you’ll transition to a full-time research phase that lasts 4-6 years. One of the most important milestones of the program is choosing a mentor to supervise your research project.

In order to graduate, you’ll need to write a thesis or dissertation about your research. At some schools, you must also publish your research in a peer-reviewed journal.

In addition, PhD candidates participate in journal clubs, seminars, and professional conferences. You’ll be expected to present your research often through posters and oral presentations.


Keys to Success as a Biochemist

Necessary Skills and Qualities

Technological prowess

Because research in biochemistry relies on computers and medical technologies, an extensive understanding of computer science and software is very helpful, but not necessary. Often these are skills that are attained during the job training.

Lab skills

Attention to detail, the ability to work with a team and good communication skills are all important qualities for a biochemist to be able to thrive and succeed in a lab environment.

How to Become a Biochemist: Education and Career Roadmap

what degree do you need to be a biochemist

Biochemists analyze the chemical characteristics and processes that are involved with living organisms. In this profession, you may work for governments, universities or private industries. Your day-to-day activities as a biochemists will often include working in teams conducting basic and applied research. Depending on the industry you’re in, some of your duties may involve dealing with hazardous organisms or toxins. You’ll typically be able to work a regular schedule in this field, but longer days may be necessary from time to time.

Career Requirements

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Many careers in the biological sciences, especially in research or academia, require a doctoral degree, so a bachelor’s degree in a relevant science major is a necessary foundation for an aspiring biochemist. Schools offer concentrations in biochemistry, molecular biology, chemistry and biology. Biochemistry majors may take course topics that include organic chemistry, genetics and cells. In addition to having a strong science background, students need to develop skills in computer science, engineering and math.

Success Tips:

  • Begin to develop relevant skills. Biochemists must have strong communications skills for engaging in research and writing about complex subjects. Students should use time in undergraduate programs to sharpen speaking and writing skills with related coursework in English and the humanities.
  • Work on undergraduate research projects. Some schools offer opportunities for undergraduates to work on collaborative research projects. This is a good chance to gain experience in the lab and prepare for a career in academia or research.

Step 2: Pursue a Graduate Degree

A PhD is typically required to work in this field, particularly in research or academia; however, some entry-level positions require only a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Colleges and universities have Master of Science in Biochemistry programs, and some master’s degree programs provide students with a dual concentration, such as biochemistry and biophysics. Curricula usually require graduate students to conduct individual research. Students then use this research to develop their thesis, which many schools require for graduation.

While a master’s degree may also be enough to work as a research technician, advanced research and academic faculty positions typically require applicants to hold a doctoral degree. Graduate students can find Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry programs. All doctoral candidates must complete a dissertation based on their original research. They may also take advanced courses that discuss metabolism, molecular biology and cell biology. PhD holders commonly begin their careers with postdoctoral research positions lasting 2-3 years.

Step 3: Gain Experience

Once earning a PhD or master’s degree, biochemists will begin to see their earning potential increase as they accrue more experience in their chosen field. Some biochemists may choose to specialize in a specific niche of their discipline. Alternatively, the advanced education required makes biochemists strong candidates for managerial or upper-tier administrative roles at their respective universities or companies.

Success Tips:

  • Concentrate on publications. Students should take the opportunity to focus on research interests and work on academic papers while in graduate programs. For academic research positions, candidates who have published research papers may improve their chances to secure employment.
  • Network in the field. Potential biochemists, especially those looking for work outside of academia, would benefit from participating in as many networking opportunities as possible. One way to meet people in the science industry involves attending science-related workshops and conferences. For example, the National Institute of Health (NIH) offers a variety of career and professional development opportunities in topics such as career planning and workplace dynamics.

how to make money with a biochemistry degree

Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes that take place in living organisms. This broad definition of biochemistry means that the job of a biochemist can encompass a wide range of scientific topics, including stem cell research, genetic research, immunology, pharmacology, forensics, cancer research, environmental science and food science. The research efforts of biochemists have the potential to result in dramatic medical or scientific breakthroughs.

A biochemist’s job duties may include examining the body’s immune response to germs and allergens, or determining the effectiveness of drugs in treating a wide array of afflictions. But biochemists enjoy a wide-ranging career path with many possibilities – for instance, other biochemists work in the commercial food or agricultural fields looking for ways to improve products and crops.

The diverse applications of biochemistry means that career options are nearly endless and still unfolding. As technologies and discoveries advance in this exciting field of study, the range and variety of research topics only expands.

What jobs can you do with a biochemistry degree with Salary

The average annual salary for biochemists with a PhD is $94,340 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For those entering the field with a bachelor’s degree, average wages will be closer to $45,000, though these averages vary by geographic location. Wages for biochemists range from around $45,000 (the median of the bottom 10% of wage earners) to $158,410 (the median of the top 10% of earners). Positions in pharmaceutical manufacturing or scientific research and development generally pay higher salaries than positions at universities and colleges, where the average annual salary is $62,070.

Many industries are scrambling to incorporate biotechnology into their research, development and marketing strategies in order to be more competitive. Likewise, public and private healthcare agencies and pharmaceutical companies are utilizing advances in scientific and technical knowledge in their pursuit of more effective therapies and treatments. Environmental safety is also a growing public and private concern. This is all good news for biochemists.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2014 and 2024 there will be an 8% growth in jobs for biochemists, which is about as fast as the average growth of all occupations. Teaching positions at the college or university level and opportunities to secure the funding to conduct independent, basic scientific research have become increasingly competitive, due to budgetary restraints in a tight economy.

Steps to Become a Biochemist

1Starting in high school.

Many biochemists discover their passion for science and begin their academic training in high school by taking advanced placement courses in biology, chemistry, calculus and physics. An aptitude for mathematics and an interest in the biological or chemical sciences are essential for success in biochemistry. Without a passion for these, maintaining a job as a biochemist is difficult.

2Earn a bachelor’s degree.

With an undergraduate bachelor’s degree, a biochemist can qualify for positions such as research assistant, inspector or technical sales representative. Therefore, a bachelor’s degree at minimum is required for entry-level positions

3Decide whether you want to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree.

Biochemists who go on to obtain a master’s degree qualify for most positions in commercial industries, such as food inspection or product development, as well as for jobs in the private sector in marketing, sales or administration. To get accepted into a master’s program, the selection committees are usually looking for students with a strong history of laboratory experience and excellent professor or supervisor recommendations.

A PhD in biochemistry or chemistry is necessary to lead or participate in serious research projects. At this level, candidates declare a sub-specialty and complete original research in order to meet the doctoral-level standards of the academy. Graduate students in a PhD program typically take five to seven years to complete their PhD. This happens under the close supervision of a senior mentor or principal investigator, along with the guidance of a committee of several other senior scientists.

Pursuing a PhD is a serious commitment that requires undivided attention in order to complete the significant workload, which includes both classes and research in the lab. Often, students also have to teach undergraduates at some point during their graduate career, which is both time-consuming and rewarding. PhD students are not allowed to hold any other job while in a PhD program. Thankfully, most programs offer financial aid for those pursuing PhDs, which helps to lessen the financial burden. This includes free tuition and a monthly stipend for living expenses. The amount varies depending on the institution.

Colleges and universities offering biochemistry degrees may obtain curricular and degree approval from the American Chemical Society (ASC) and many employers consider this certification from the ACS a great advantage in prospective hires. There are no state or federal requirements for licensing to work as a pure biochemist, unless the job itself carries a certification requirement.

4Grow your career.

Biochemistry careers offer many possibilities – basic or applied research, hands-on lab work, teaching or administration in public or private sector industries. There are jobs available for all levels of academic training, and the demand for biochemists continues to grow. Many college graduates begin their careers as lab technicians or assistant researchers to master key skills and gain experience so they can pursue a post-graduate degree. It generally takes a doctorate to lead a research team or to direct a laboratory for private or governmental agencies.

Most biochemists employed by academic institutions are instructors or researchers. In this setting, advancement follows the administrative or management pathways of the institution. If successful, there is opportunity to become a self-employed consultant. Advancement in the private sector largely depends upon successful publication in journals as well as becoming established as an expert in a sub-specialty.

What is Biochemistry? Scope and Career - Careerindia

We hope that you see a future for yourself in the field of biochemistry! Biochemists are employed in government, pharmaceutical companies, medical schools and hospitals. They are also employed by private corporations for research, legislative lobbying, food safety testing and quality assurance. If you want to be a researcher or a professor teaching at the college level, then you will need to get your doctorate degree. If you would like to stay in industry and work with chemicals and/or work in research and development of products, then you may end up working as an industrial chemist.