10 Things You Can Do With a Degree in Biochemistry
Biochemistry is a science course that is laboratory-based. It combines both chemistry and biology to explore chemical processes in relationship with living things. Biochemists understand and solve some biological topics like communication among cells, especially when they are under attack and fight to ward off diseases.
In a clearer term, biochemistry is the foundation of some advances in medicine, agriculture, genetic engineering, and other influential science departments. In biochemistry, students do not just study human life, but other living organisms in the environment. Furthermore, it requires more than a bachelor’s degree to apply for research positions in academia or higher leadership.
Biochemistry is quite wide and versatile, due to the fact that it combines two fields, biology and chemistry. You can be found in labs, performing clinical researches, or outside the lab performing such tasks as sales and marketing. The job of a biochemist could be to examine the immune response of the body to germs and allergens. They could also analyze the effect of developed drugs on the body or illnesses.
How to Become a Biochemist
Becoming a biochemist first starts from the mind. You have to discover your passion for science before beginning your academic training, right from high school. You are required to take advanced subjects like biology, mathematics, chemistry and physics.
After that, you can go for an undergraduate bachelor’s degree in biochemistry to become a biochemist. With your bachelor’s degree, you are qualified for entry-level positions like a research assistant, inspector, or technical sales representative.
With a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, you can decide to pursue a master’s degree. A master’s degree in biochemistry gives you an edge to land more advanced positions in commercial industries where foods and other products are manufactured, or you could work as a marketing or sales representative.
With a PhD in biochemistry, you would be qualified to take part in research projects. By then, you have chosen an area of specialty so as to meet the doctoral level standards. It takes about 5 – 7 years to complete a PhD in biochemistry, under the guidance of a committee of several senior scientists. There are some programs that offer financial aids and scholarships to complete a PhD program. You can search for the institutions offering that and make your choice while considering other factors like location, cost of living, and so on.
With you certificate, you can grow your career in areas like teaching, lab work, marketing, sales, administration in both private or public sectors. If you choose to work in an academic setting, your job would include teaching and researching. You could also choose to become a consultant in the field, where other professionals come for professional advice with a fee attached to each consultation. With the endless possibilities of technology, you can choose to become an entrepreneur, setting up your own lab or office and working on your own terms and pace, while growing your career.
Jobs You Can Get With a Degree in Biochemistry
Here are some available jobs you can do with a degree in biochemistry:
- Biochemists and biophysicists: A biochemist or biophysicist specializes in areas that have to do with physical and chemical principles of developmental processes of cells, diseases, growth, and genetic patterns. Researching is a major specific role to be performed by these scientists. They research the effect of hormones, nutrients and drugs, as well as to understand the biological processes and tissues. They are found in laboratories managing a team of lab technicians who analyze and synthesize DNA, fats and protein.
It is reported by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) that the average salary of a biochemist or biophysicist is around $82 000 per annum. This is expected to rise by 11% by 2026 with over 3 500 additional positions.
- Toxicologists: Toxicologists study the impacts of drugs on biological systems. They also take into consideration, the effects of such drugs on other substances. They develop procedures for analyzing and evaluating the effects of harmful substances while making an accurate judgment on the right dosages, proper ways, and the number of times they are to be taken. Monitoring of experiments and interpretation of results in labs are also part of their duties. Their role is closely related to that of pharmacologists.
- Chemists and materials scientists: Chemists typically study molecular and atomic substances to understand the ways they interact. They develop new methods of testing and products. Also, they give instructions to scientists and technicians who work under them on the proper procedure for testing and analyzing chemical processes.
The average annual salary of chemists is estimated to be about $75 200, with a 7% job growth by 2026. This is according to BLS.
- Chemistry professor: Professors teach, and that is exactly what chemistry professors do. Their typical day is spent teaching students and guiding them in laboratory studies. They also prepare study materials, grade testings, and also interact with students regarding issues bothering in class and laboratory activities.
That aside, they publish their scientific research in journals and other academic platforms. The basic requirement of a chemistry professor in a university is a doctorate, while those in colleges could have a master’s degree.
- Forensic science technician: Of late, there has been an increase in the interest of people regarding forensic science technicians. This is due to some television shows like CSI and Bones that focus on what these technicians do. The shows may not be so accurate because of how simplified they project the work to be. However, it does not stop a forensic science technician from being what he is. His primary duty is to collect and analyze evidence that helps in investigating crimes and coming out with the possible perpetrator. They use such important body evidence as body fluids, hair, blood, and fingerprints. That is not all they do. They also take a photoshoot of crime scenes and record observations. The typical entry-level qualification is a bachelor’s degree in forensic science and related fields like biology and chemistry.
The average take-home of a forensic science technician is estimated to be around $57 000, according to BLS, and their estimated growth by 2026 is 17%, with more than 2 500 new jobs.
- Pharmacologist: A pharmacologist is involved with the development and testing of drugs. That is, in addition to analyzing their component and interactions with biological systems. In essence, they ensure that drugs are effective and safe for human consumption. This may involve testing the drugs on animals or human volunteers, who sometimes, are paid for any risks or damage that may be caused by the drug. The duties of pharmacology are mostly laboratory-based. They may work during unusual hours in order to monitor some experiments.
- Plastic surgeon: Nowadays, it looks like everyone gets plastic surgery to repair, reconstruct, or replace some body parts. The plastic surgeon helps them to accomplish that dream. They operate on the skin of the patient in some vital body parts like the breasts, trunks, hands, external genitalia, face, cranium, muscles, skeleton, and so on. Some people purposely want to change the outlook of their body parts for specific or personal reasons. Some women who have lost their breasts as a result of cancer could also go for breast reconstruction. Victims of accidents whose bodies have been damaged or disfigured might feel like the only way out is through body reconstruction. These are some of the things a plastic surgeon does.
A bachelor’s degree and a medical degree, together with internship and residency (depending on the area of specialization of the student), are vital requirements to qualify one for a plastic surgeon. This takes about 3 – 7 years to complete. The annual salary of a plastic surgeon is on the estimate of 208 000 per annum, with above-average growth of 13% by 2026. This is according to the BLS.
- Environmental chemist: The job of environmental chemists include monitoring the air, water and soil, in order to study some chemicals and determine how they penetrated the environment, in addition to their effects on living organisms. Their studies also include ways in which human activities affect the chemicals in the environment. They monitor how contamination and pollution of the environment occur while performing such tasks as analytical testing, initiating product development, and leading conservative efforts. Environmental chemists need the help of broader expertise in biology, math, genetics, engineering and chemistry.
The estimated annual salary of environmental chemists by the BLS is $69 000 with job growth of 11%.
- Technical Sales and marketing: They could also be referred to as sales engineers. A chemical marketer combines his expertise in science, business and personality traits to offer reliable solutions to both business and technical issues in the field. They are involved in advertising, market research, packaging, shipping, sales, and every other aspect of the product cycle. They typically sell medical and laboratory equipment and offer to consult services to their customers.
The median salary of a sales engineer is estimated to be $100 000 per annum with a job growth of 7% by 2026, as reported by the BLS.
- Hazardous waste chemist: A hazardous waste chemist ensures that hazardous wastes are managed and disposed of properly and in a safe location. They are commonly called ‘hazmat’, an acronym from the combination of hazard and management. With their expertise, they identify harmful substances in the air, water and soil, assess the extent of their harm, and coordinate their removal.
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Necessary Skills Needed to Succeed as a Biochemist
Amongst others, the following skills are compulsory for you to excel in the field as a biochemist:
- Technological skills: Biochemists rely on computers and medical technologies to perform their tasks. This means that they must have a basic knowledge of computer software and also know how to operate some equipment. You may take some courses on this effect.
- Laboratory skills: As a lab scientist or technician, you need a lot of interpersonal skills to perform at your optimum. Skills like paying attention to details, ability to communicate effectively, team work, among others are very crucial. You also need writing skills because there are times you need to write reports and assessments.
In conclusion, biochemists are part of the reasons the world has not gone extinct. In case you are interested in the course, you are advised to take your time to study what we have put down for you in order to make the necessary decision.