How to Become a Biochemist

Biochemist Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $64,780
Avg. Pay / hour $31.14
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 11.4%

Biochemistry is a branch of biology.

Biochemists are considered biological scientists who specialize in a biological niche.

They study the chemical composition of organic beings on a microscopic level.

Their goal is to understand the complicated chemical reactions and reactions that create metabolism, growth and reproduction.

Biochemists are professionals who also specialize on observing the chemical makeup of organic beings.

The majority of these professionals work for educational institutions as professors or researchers.

Some of these experts may also work in the business world and perform researching in order to produce a variety of new products.

People who go into Biochemistry will find that their background will allow them to apply their knowledge in several types of industries.

Some of these industries include research for educational institutions, the medical field as well as the business sector.

There is no shortage to what a Biochemist can do with their skills.

Education Requirements to Become a Biochemist

The level of education a student needs depends on what they want to focus on as a career.

Development and research positions require candidates to have a minimum of a Ph.D.

Students who want to become a Biochemist and work in product development, applied research or management need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry.

A Bachelor’s degree typically takes about four years to complete.

During their undergraduate studies, students should strengthen their skills in mathematics, biology, chemistry and communications.

A Master’s and a Ph.D.

in Biochemistry will require additional two or four years to complete, respectively.

A Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry can help students work in the following industries or positions:

  • Assistant Scientist
  • Technical Sales Representative
  • Business Process Analyst
  • Research Assistant
  • Acquisition Linguistics Manager

Candidates who want to become a Biochemist and work in advanced positions need to attend and complete an advanced degree.

The following are professions that require an advanced degree:

  • Pharmacist
  • Research Scientist
  • Cardiac and Pulmonary
  • Medical doctor
  • Development

The previously mentioned professions all require candidates to complete a Master’s or Ph.D.

Biochemist Job Description

A Biochemist is responsible for studying the chemistry of many types of living things.

This can include observing the many chemical reactions occurring in organic beings that cause body functions such as growth, reproduction and metabolism.

Some Biochemists focus on performing more research in order to expand and provide updated information regarding the chemistry of living things.

Biochemists who work in applied science research information for different purposes.

These Biochemists use their extensive knowledge of biochemistry in order to solve practical problems and create a variety of new products.

Some Biochemistry applications will use applied science in the medical field.

For example, some Biochemists are responsible for developing large quantities of synthetic hormones that will be used on a large scale.

These Biochemists will study the chemical background of how hormones are made and apply this knowledge to develop synthetic hormones.

Biochemist Salary and Career Path

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the annual median wage for Biochemists in2008 was approximately $71,000.

The salary range for these professionals during the same year was approximately $38,000 to $110,000 per year.

Exact wages will depend on the industry as well several other factors.

Industries paying the highest wages for Biochemists include:

  • Federal government: Annual median income – $81,000
  • Agricultural chemical manufacturing: Annual median income – $85,800
  • Architectural and engineering services: Annual median income – $82,000
  • Chemical product and preparation manufacturing: Annual median income – $81,900

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, candidates who want to become a Biochemist should expect a healthy job growth.

Employment opportunities for all Biological scientists are expected to grow by approximately 21 percent through the year 2018 compared to a 12 percent growth for all other professions.

Job prospects for Biochemists will depend on the industry they choose to go into.

For example, professionals with a doctoral or Ph.D.

will have better have a more competitive background for academia careers in research.

However, even with their vast knowledge, these professionals should expect serious competition from other candidates as the number of applicants exceeds the number of available positions.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$95,570
Iowa- NA -
New Hampshire$95,010
New Jersey$118,640
New York$92,280
North Carolina$95,470
Rhode Island$104,060
South Carolina$63,080
South Dakota$64,060
West Virginia$65,940

The top earning state in the field is Massachusetts, where the average salary is $134,090.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Massachusetts - $134,090
Virginia - $131,160
Colorado - $118,920
New Jersey - $118,640
Oregon - $118,320
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Biochemists and Biophysicists, OCC Code 19-1021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a biochemist do?

Biochemists are professionals who study the physical and chemical principles of biological processes (cell development, heredity, and growth) and of living things.

The typical duties of a biochemist usually include managing laboratory teams and monitoring the quality of their work; planning and conducting complex research projects; isolating, analyzing, and synthesizing various molecules; preparing technical reports and other papers based on his or her research; researching the effects of different substances on tissues and biological processes; presenting research findings, and so on.

In most cases, biochemists work in laboratories and offices.

A professional can be involved in basic research and study genetic mutations, for example, or in biotechnology research.

How much do biochemists make?

On average, a biochemist can make a little more than $93.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $49.000 and $178.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the employer, the location and so on.

The biochemists that work in New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Indiana, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level biochemist can earn $24 per hour, while a specialist with plenty of experience will make $85 and more.

How much does it cost to become a biochemist?

You would certainly need at least a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, engineering, physics or a related field, in order to apply for entry-level positions.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

However, the majority of employers will prefer you to have a master’s degree (over $11.000) or a doctorate degree, in case you want to become a professor or focus on independent research in biochemistry (a Ph.D. will cost you around $20.000 per year).

What is the demand for biochemists?

Between 2016 and 2026, the molecular biologist job market is expected to grow by 11.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is faster than the national average for all occupations in the United States.

Biochemists that focus on the development of tests that detect diseases and genetic and biomedical research will be in most demand.

The candidates that have plenty of experience and knowledge in bioinformatics will have better job prospects.

The industry is mainly concentrated in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

How long does it take to become a biochemist?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree and another 2 years to earn a master’s degree.

A doctorate degree typically takes 5-6 years to acquire.

The majority of Ph.D. holders start with a temporary postdoctoral research position that lasts for around 2-3 years.

Laboratory experience is incredibly important for aspiring biochemists; you might want to consider seeking internships with prospective employers as well.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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