What Kind of Jobs & Salary Can I Expect With a Bachelor's in Biochemistry?
Published: Nov 27, 2009
A Bachelor's in Biochemistry is a rather complex degree. In many cases, graduates follow this educational route because they are aiming for an advanced degree in nursing or other medical or science specializations. For those who want to jump directly into work instead of pursuing further education, numerous opportunities do exist.
Graduates of a bachelor's program in biochemistry have a series of skills that can be used in a variety of settings where science is paramount. For example, the program covers subjects such as cellular biochemistry, concepts in modern genetics, methods in biochemistry, viruses and hosts, molecular biology, calculus and fundamentals of physics. Also, students will have both concept and block courses, which cover biology concepts as well as the scientific research process and include labs and practicals. As a result, graduates should have a thorough understanding of the biological sciences and their practical application in medicine and research.
Technologist Research Jobs
A large percentage of graduates from bachelor's programs in biochemistry end up working as researchers, usually under the direction of senior investigators with advanced degrees. Job duties may include daily supervision of the lab, equipment management, safety procedures implementation, preparation of samples and specimens, development of compounds or substances and safety routine checks. Graduates from biochemistry programs should have a clear understanding of bioanalytical chemistry, enzymology, equipment operation and research techniques, which will allow them to work in many different lab settings. They will also be equipped to deal with research into protein chemistry and nucleic acids, bio-organic chemistry, hormonal elements and general spectroscopy.
Salaries for graduates of a bachelor's program in chemistry will depend mostly on the type of job performed. For example, Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians earned a median salary of $49,700 and $32,840 respectively in 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those working for federal offices earn as much as $57,360 on the same year. Chemists and Materials Scientists, who generally work in research and development, earned a median salary of $45,730 that year, while scientific and medical research pays much more, with a median of $68,760. Those working in chemical manufacturing plants earn also on the high end of the scale: the median salary was $62,340 in 2006.
Office and Field Work
Professionals who prefer to work outside of a lab setting often have the option of looking for organizational positions. These normally involve regular office hours in a comfortable setting, mostly in front of a computer, where the graduate will conduct theoretical research, prepare lab reports or plans of action, process results and organize findings. Many also work alongside researchers, providing assistance with sample gathering and organization, as well as organizing grant work or equipment purchase and repair. Field work is sometimes part of the job description as well, as biochemists will have to gather samples for the lab experts and report their experience afterwards, noting details as environmental conditions at the site where the sample was taken, structural and chemical conditions of the sample and variations that may affect the test results.
Automation Sales Professional
While sales professionals exist in almost every field, those who are employed in the chemical and medical industry need to have a thorough understanding of science in order to be able to properly promote and place products. Graduates with a bachelor's in biochemistry can find employment working for compound management and retrievable system companies as a sales representative for automatized medical storage systems and lab equipment. This type of position often involves travel as well as direct contact with the public and frequent meetings.