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Job Options for Biochemists

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 9/8/2011

Are you looking for information about the different job options for biochemist? Here you will learn what the most common options are and more about these options.

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    Biochemistry is a field of science that applies chemistry to studying biological processes at the molecular and cellular level. It is considered both a chemical science and a life science. Biochemists often find themselves working in a university laboratory or government laboratory, or for a specific industry. However, there are a wide variety of job options for a biochemist. The average starting salary for a biochemist is about $34,563 per year. After working in the field of biochemistry for about 10 to 19 years, the average salary rises to about $78,726 per year.

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    Drug Development

    Biochemists who want to work towards using existing drug compounds to find new uses for them, developing new drug compounds, or diagnosing diseases and developing new vaccines may seek a career in drug development. Those with an undergraduate degree can find a job in drug development, but having at least six months of work experience in a laboratory is highly recommended before seeking employment. An advanced degree will give a person more career options. Many biochemists working in drug development will seek post-doctoral opportunities in nutrition sciences or drug development.

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    Education

    Biochemists have a variety of options in education, such as teaching high school, developing curriculums, and as professors on the college and university level. Those wanting to teach high school will have to also pursue a teaching certification. Those wanting to teach on the college and university level will have to obtain their doctorate degree in biochemistry.

    Those wanting to develop curriculums will work with online education providers, publishing companies, and state boards of education developing the education standards for both post-secondary and high school students. An undergraduate degree is the minimum, but most employers will want their curriculum developers to have technical writing or teaching experience.

    In addition to a background in biochemistry, all educators will also need to learn about learning theory, classroom management, and teaching standards. Biochemistry majors may also wish to pursue a career as a science writer writing textbooks, non-fiction science works, and manuals for publishing companies, most often on a freelance basis. Magazines, newspapers, and trade publications may also work with science writers.

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    Food and Nutrition

    Nutritional biochemists work to improve both animal and human health. Those specializing in animals often work in the agricultural industry conducting animal research and developing new feed. When working with humans, they work to improve public health through analyzing nutritional components of certain diseases or reducing malnourishment. They may also make crops or develop new crops to improve the health of humans.

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    Military Careers

    One of the job options for a biochemist is in the military. The United States military medical service corps will hire biochemists who have a least a Master's degree to administer clinical services to military men and women and their families. In the military, those who are biochemists will work in blood bands, toxicological research, research and development, and health services.

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    Toxicology

    Toxicologists work to examine how chemicals effect animals, the environment, and humans. They work for the government, non-profit and private firms, and laboratories, and their research is used in research, forensic investigation, policy development, and law enforcement. Those with an undergraduate degree can find employment opportunities in toxicology, but those who wish to obtain certification from the American Board of Toxicologists must have a doctorate degree.

    Looking for more options? Check out the rest of Bright Hub's collection of career guides and profiles.

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    Resources

    Azusa Pacific University. (2010). Biochemistry Major. Retrieved on December 10, 2010 from Azusa Pacific University: http://www.apu.edu/clas/biochem/biochemistry/careers/

    North Carolina State University. (2010). Biochemistry. Retrieved on December 10, 2010 from North Carolina State University: http://www.ncsu.edu/majors-careers/do_with_major_in/showmajor.php?id=85