What is a Biochemist?
If you ever wanted to become a biochemist, then it means that you’ve understood and researched some information about what is a biochemist and what are the daily activities that one of these professionals is leading.
A biochemist is one of the specialists that is dealing with the chemical and physical principles of the living organisms, as well as with the biological process of growth, cell development, and heredity. In general the job of a Biochemist is to study all the chemical transformations and the chemical process that are taking place in the living things or organisms, as we like to call them. Other biochemists have dedicated their career to the study of DNAs, cell parts and of proteins.
To understand a biochemist and what he is doing, you’ll have to go to the root of the tree, with other words to take a look at the science that started with all. Biochemistry is one based laboratory science that brings together biology and chemistry. Its job as a branch of science is to explore the chemical processes that are taking place within the living organisms, and those that are related to the living organisms.
Job Description of a Biochemist
A biochemist will use chemical knowledge in order to understand and solve plenty of biological problems. Your job as one of these professionals will be to investigate all the chemical processes that are taking place in the living organisms, starting from viruses, up to bacteria and people. You will also conduct research on chemistry and biology areas, being an aid in solving environmental problems, and giving a hand to the farmers on how to grow more nutritious foods.
Your part and your daily duties will differ greatly based on the industry in which you are working in. For instance, if you are in the field of pharmaceutical or food and brewing industry then your daily duties will involve the development of new products. You will also handle quality control, monitoring production and verifying the safety of the products that already exist.
If your job is in the area of health laboratories, research institute or hospitals, then your role will include exploring methods of treatment that are new on the market. Additionally, you will carry out tests that are based on blood or other bodily fluids, and you’ll have to research which is the cause of disease.
When agriculture and environment are involved, then you could work with water authorities, central governments and seed companies. Your day by day duties and activities will include how to improve the quantity of the crops, or how to monitor the devastating effects of pollution on the environment and other.
Working as a Biochemist at university or college than you’ll have to combine teaching with researching in the area of interest in which you are involved.
How to Become a Biochemist?
Working your way through in a career as one of biochemistry, should make you put some solid base right from the high school. In those years, you should focus on subjects such as biology and chemistry. Make sure that you’ll also take classes in Latin and Greek, math, physics and computers, later on they will prove to be very helpful in this field.
One of the skills that help you maintain a great atmosphere at work and that it will ease it a lot is the communication skill. Learning an effective written and oral communication will allow you be understood by your co-workers and your peers and vice versa. Also, make sure that your research is easy to be understood by your peers.
There are occasions and opportunities that will allow you to earn a bachelor degree in biochemistry, but you have to be aware that not all the four-year colleges or universities will grant or offer these specialized degrees. Try to do yourself a favor and take advanced courses that usually go beyond the minimum needed for a major or a degree. All these things you’ll eventually needed, so it’s better to start earlier than later.
The next step that will promote you into being accepted into accredited graduate schools is the research experience. The best tip is to seek out those senior professors and express your interest in a career as a Biochemist as well as your desire to perform research. First do some research on your own on checking out their CV and their research interests before you even speak to them, being on the same page makes a huge difference.
Career satisfaction comes through research so doing it will lead you to become a great Biochemist. Research can be seen and considered as one of the core elements or components when it comes to be a Biochemist.
Deciding to apply to a graduate school is not always an easy thing to do. First make sure that you’ve checked the admissions criteria of those schools that are of interest for you. Getting good recommendation letters from senior faculties and chairmen are of great value.
After you’ve obtained a bachelor’s degree, you can head out for the next degree – which is a master’s degree – and later on for a doctorate. All these advanced degrees usually assumes class work, laboratory research, field work and in the end the presentation of a thesis or a dissertation.
The length for a master’s degree will usually be comprised of 2 years while that of a doctorate degree can last between 5 and up to 6 years to be completed. If you are heading towards a career in research or laboratory setting, then start by applying to a temporary postdoctoral research position. Such a job will allow you to publish your research findings. Finding a permanent job in research or laboratory is usually based on several published studies.
A biochemist besides education and training should also possess a set of skills that are mainly comprised of a high ability in the world of science. Ideally, you should as well be good at solving various problems, and have an eye set to find small details that will help you a lot when you are exploring samples under the microscope.
Work Environment and Schedule
The typical work environment of a biochemist can be found in a laboratory or in an office in which he or she will conduct various experiments and analyze each and every result. They can be found working in hospitals, pharmaceutics, research institutes, universities, colleges, or in other fields.
These professionals have opportunities to work in teams on various research projects, or they will work alone in well-equipped laboratories. The schedule of a Biochemist is usually comprised of 40 hours per week, but sometimes with extra hours due to an approaching deadline. Biochemists who already chose to be teachers in universities or colleges will work extra hours outside the classrooms to be well prepared for the students.
Like any other career in science, these professionals will take part at conferences and seminars or any other online journals that will allow them to stay in touch and current with the developments that are new in this field. A Biochemist can find plenty of job openings for private companies in beauty care or health care, food and drink production, medical instruments and other.
Pros and Cons of Being a Biochemist
Being a biochemist has its ups and downs, but mainly is a very rewarding path especially for those who enjoy what they are doing. If this career is a fit for you and you like doing scientific research and other daily tasks required in this field, then you are on the right track.
The first pro in this field is that you’ll have regular hours of work in laboratory and offices with some differences according to the type of industry in which you are working. It is advantageous to have great job opportunities and above average growth. This job can lead you to advancement opportunities such as some of your own research projects. The average income is pretty competitive reaching at about $92,010 per year.
The cons that are related to this job involve having to deal with dangerous substances as well as equipment not to mention that there is plenty of competition for the research funding and those permanent positions.
Another con will be the fact that in order to work as a biochemist, you’ll need to possess a doctorate degree that will take between 4 and up to 6 years of graduate school. Many of the job opportunities are to be found in California or Northeast, meaning that if you are somewhere else and you want better chances, then you must relocate.
Biochemist job growth
The employment growth for biochemists is projected at 19%, rate of increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This increase is mainly due to the nature itself of the job as well as the number of demanding in the field.
These professionals are employed in a variety of work settings from colleges and pharmaceutical companies, up to universities, scientific research as well as development organizations. Their work is extremely satisfactory, with a lot of rewards, since they are those who put their services in helping and saving other people lives through biological products and process that they develop.
The estimated average biochemist salary reaches at $91,642 per year. The wage will vary according to several circumstances such as the level of education, the years of experience, the type of employer, geographical location and the company size.
The started up biochemist salary is estimated at $42,662 per year and it can go up to $147,782 per year. The median salary that one could gain is estimated at $54,321 per year. Those professionals that are very skillful in Biotechnology can expect to a higher salary.
In this field having experience is a strong point that usually increases in time the income. For instance an individual that works as a Biochemist and has less than five years of work in the field is estimated that he or she will take home an average income that reaches at about $48,010 per year. Those who work for more than five and up to ten years will gain an income of about $62,010 per year.
In this position having more than ten years in the field will lead you to an average wage of $75,010 per year. Having over 20 years of experience you can expect a salary estimated at $92,010 per year.
On the other hand, another influential factor that was mentioned earlier is the level of education. On average, a Biochemist that has a bachelor’s degree can expect an income that starts from $45,010 per year. At the same time, those who already possess a master’s degree can expect an income that reaches about $60,010 per year. A Ph.D. will take you to a salary that is estimated at $90,010 per year.
Having an advanced biochemistry diploma or degree can lead you to work in other fields such as medicine, teaching, providing marketing for pharmaceutical companies and other. For instance, you can find work as a medical writer with an annual salary that will range from $20,010 per year and up to $43,262 per year. Also, working as a secondary school teacher you’ll get a salary estimated to be between $35,010 per year and $52,010 per year.
There are also plenty of universities and colleges that hire many biochemists after services in the scientific research or the pharmaceutical companies. For example, the University of Tennessee, based in Knoxville, will hire biochemists on the positions of assistant professors with an income of approximately $65,010 per year. Also, in the position of a full professor the income received is estimated at $90,010 per year.
According to location, the best top paying states for the job of Biochemist were found in New Hampshire with an average annual salary estimated at $129,642 per year. Then comes Delaware with an income that reaches at $93,072 per year, and finally New Jersey with an estimated wage of $112,672 per year.
Salary of a Biochemist in 2015
In the United States, the average salary estimation for 2015, reaches about $81,010 per year. This average salary estimation is made for a senior biochemist while for a starting Biochemist the annual average estimation can reach up to $45,010.
Still the salaries for these professionals in 2015 are influenced by the same mentioned factors, and it will vary greatly based on the type of activity in which you are working. The growth in this field is mainly based on the number of demanding. The extension is also due to the demand for new medical procedures and medicines, cleaner energy or some of the new and effective ways of protecting the environment. All these are based according to the area of specialty or industry in which a biochemist is working.
Biochemist Salary in 2016
In the U.S., the median average income, for a biochemist, for the year 2016 is estimated to reach at $56,497 per year, with a starting point range estimated from $35,246 per year and up to $95,504 per year, according to the PayScale, salary data survey.
The bonuses in this profession that are attributed can reach up to $10,206, while the profit sharing reaches at $250.03. The total payment that is estimated for biochemists gets somewhere around $32,913 per year and up to $93,529 per year.
The main factors that impact the economic salary status in the lives of these professionals are based upon the geographical location where the incomes vary from state to state, years of experience as well as level of specialization, type of employment, company size and industry. A high payment for this job is associated with one of the skills required in this branch that is Biotechnology.
When it comes to the years of experience factor, a biochemist income is increasing gradually. Higher salary opportunities are linked with this particular factor. For instance, an entry-level biochemist, with less than five years of experience in the field can expect to earn around $51,010 per year, while one individual with 5 and up to 10 years of work practice can expect to take home around $63,010 per year.
Those professionals who are already seen as experienced biochemists with 10 and up to 20 years of practice will earn around $78,010 per year, while the veterans in this profession, with more than 20 years and with plenty of activity and practice gained at the working site can enjoy an income that gets somewhere around $105,010 per year.
According to Salary.com, the annual median income for a biochemist I, is estimated at $49,161 per year, with a range that is usually comprised from $43,451 per year and up to $57,462 per year. When it comes to the geographical location factor, the incomes of these professionals don’t vary only according to each state but also according to each region, city or town. For a biochemist I, in California, the incomes vary a lot from town to town. For instance in Berkeley, California their incomes have a median average that goes to $55,805 per year, while in Long Beach, California, they get around $54,356 per year.
In Baltimore, Maryland, the median annual earnings for a biochemist I, tend to reach at an estimated average of $50,497 per year, the same incomes as in Columbia, Maryland. In Silver Spring, Maryland, the salaries for biochemist I, reach at $54,272 per year.
Biochemist Salary in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom
- The salary of a Biochemist in Canada is estimated to have an average that will range between C$29,798 per year and up to C$153,194 per year. The median income is situated at about C$51,726 per year. An annual bonus is granted that can reach up to C$1,967 per year. According to the years of experience in the field, those professionals that have fewer years of working experience will take home an estimated income that is comprised between C$45,010 per year and C$51,448 per year. Those with 1 and up to 4 years of experience take home a biochemist salary in Canada that is comprised between C$30,010 per year and up to C$75,010 per year.
- In Australia, the average salary for a Biochemist is estimated to range from AU$48,835 and AU$88,438 per year. The median biochemist salary in Australia in this field reaches at about AU$67,010 per year. Those who have between 1 and four years of experience will take home a basic income that is comprised between AU$54,010 and AU$85,010 per year.
- In the UK, the average annual salary for a Biochemist is estimated to range from £17,459 per year and £97,872 per year. The median estimated average reaches at a granted income of about £35,005 per year in the United Kingdom. The yearly bonus is comprised between £0.98 and up to £19,798 per year.
Conclusion on Biochemist Salary
The salary of a Biochemist is influenced by a variety of factors and according to the industry in which one has found work. The top paying states in US for this job will grant an increased income compared with other states where the economic flux or the number of demanding is not that high.
- First Published Date: 16 June, 2015
- Last Updated Date: 16 September, 2016