After you have earned your Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, you may choose to work in a variety of settings. Since you will have the experience and knowledge necessary to work with DNA, genes, proteins and amino acids, you could apply for a research assistant or technician position with a pharmaceutical company, a hospital, a public health department or even the prestigious National Institute of Health. You will likely work alongside a team of individuals and be supervised by a biochemist or biophysicist who has earned a Doctorate degree. In some cases, you may be hired to participate in short-term research projects, as well.
Duties and Responsibilities
Your duties and responsibilities will vary, but you will essentially be required to perform any task that a biophysicist or biochemist charges you with. For instance, you may find yourself planning complex projects that will aid in biochemical research; isolating, synthesizing and analyzing various proteins, DNA, enzymes and other molecules; assisting with the preparation of technical reports and research papers; researching the effects of medications and even foods on the tissues and cells in the body and its biological processes; and even presenting research findings to engineers, scientists and various other leaders.
Salary and Career Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those working in the biochemistry and biophysics fields earned an average of $79,390 annually in 2010. It is important to consider that this figure encompasses individuals with all levels of education. Thus, since your Bachelor’s degree will provide you with access to entry-level positions, it can be deduced that you will likely earn about the same as the lowest-paid 10% in this field—or about $43,050 annually. Employment within this industry is expected to increase by 31% between 2010 and 2020, which is a staggering figure when compared to the average growth of other industries. This growth is driven by an increased demand for pharmaceuticals and biological products.
If you would like to work in the research or teaching industries as they pertain to biochemistry, it will be necessary for you to earn a PhD, or a Doctorate of Biochemistry or Doctorate or Microbiology degree. With these, you will have the knowledge and credentials necessary to work alongside industry greats in an effort to develop new technologies and treatments that will improve the quality of and perhaps even extend the length of human life. With a PhD, you will also be eligible for much higher salaries and more opportunities to snag positions in an incredibly competitive job market.
Biochemistry and biophysics are incredibly rewarding career paths, particularly if you are scientifically-minded and dedicated to bettering human life. Whether you are in charge of assisting with the development of new medications or isolating genes to better understand certain diseases, your career will be very important to the future of mankind.