Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary field of study that delves into the biological and chemical processes of living organisms. With a degree in biochemistry, you can work in science fields such as toxicology, food science, forensic science, or pharmacology. We are going to highlight a few of the highest paying biochemistry jobs for you to consider if you’re a graduate looking for a job.
But before looking into the highest paying biochemistry jobs, here are a few stats to keep in mind.
- Biochemists made a median annual salary of $94,270 in 2020.
- Biochemists’ mean annual salary was $104,810 in 2020.
- The best-paid 10% earned more than $169,860 a year last year.
- The lowest-paid 10% earned about $52,640 a year last year.
- States with the highest employment for biochemists are California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas (Between $77,000 and $120,000 a year).
- States with the highest job concentration for biochemists are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, California, and Maine.
- The highest paying states for biochemists are Montana, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
Highest Paying Biochemistry Jobs 2021
These are the high paying biochemistry jobs in 2021, some paying as high as $150,000 a year.
1. Analytical Chemist
Analytical chemists investigate the chemical composition of substances, the aim being to identify and understand each substance and how it behaves in different settings or conditions. The roles of an analytical chemist vary depending on the work setting.
If you’re working in the pharmaceutical industry, for example, you will be involved throughout the drug development process. You will study the chemical and physical properties of drug substances and their formulations to determine their stability and quality.
Apart from being involved in the drug formulation and development process, an analytical chemist plays major roles in other areas, notably chemical or forensic analysis, product validation, quality control, and toxicology analysis.
According to PayScale, the median annual salary for analytical chemists is $56,000 with best-paid 10% earning more than $87,000 a year, though some earn as high as $120,000 a year. Zippia estimates the entry-level annual salary for analytical chemists to be $45,000.
2. Biomedical Scientist
Biomedical scientists perform scientific tests on fluids and tissue samples to help clinicians diagnose and treat diseases. They also evaluate whether the treatments being used are effective or not. The roles of biomedical scientists vary depending on the work setting.
If you want to become a biomedical scientist, you’ll need to specialize in one of these four areas:
- Infection sciences: Includes virology and medical microbiology
- Blood sciences: Includes clinical chemistry, transfusion science, hematology, and immunology
- Cell sciences: Includes histopathology and cytology
- Genetics and molecular pathology: Includes genetics and molecular pathology
The national mean annual salary for biomedical scientists in the United States is $85,228. The lowest earners receive about $58,000 a year while the highest-paid earn as high as $126,000 a year.
3. Clinical Research Associate (CRA)
The role of a clinical research associate (CRA) includes running clinical trials to test drugs for their effectiveness, benefits, and risks to ensure they are safe before they’re released onto the market. They work on existing and new drugs as an employee of a pharmaceutical company or a contract research organization (CRO) that works on behalf of a pharmaceutical company.
As a clinical research associate, you will be involved in all the stages of the clinical trial, which includes identifying an investigational site, setting it up, initiating clinical trials, monitoring the progress, and closing down the trials. You will also be involved in trials on healthy humans or patients with a disease and conducting studies after the new drug has been launched to monitor safety and possible side effects.
Clinical research associates earn an average annual salary of $97,186 in the United States. The top earners receiving more than $128,000 a year making it one of the highest paying biochemistry jobs in the U.S.
4. Clinical Scientist (Biochemistry)
Clinical scientists with a degree in biochemistry analyze samples from patients’ blood, urine, or other bodily fluids to assist with the diagnoses, management, or treatment of diseases. Clinical scientists often work in hospital labs and help interpret and validate the results of the samples. They also advise clinicians and general practitioners (GPs) on how to use the test results.
The average annual salary for clinical scientists is $98,427 in the United States, with the highest-paid receiving about $148,000 a year.
5. Forensic Scientist
Forensics is one of the best degrees for law enforcement careers. Forensic scientists help criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence such as fingerprints, blood splatters, DNA, tissue, hairs, tire marks, paint & glass fragments, flammable substances, or spent shell casings at crime scenes.
The evidence provided can either support the prosecution or defense in civil and/or criminal investigations. You will present your evidence as a written report, but in some cases, you might be required to attend court hearings to present the evidence in person as an expert witness.
Your roles as a forensic scientist will most likely depend on the area of forensics in which you work. The main areas include:
- Chemistry: Relating to crimes against property, e.g. burglary and arson.
- Biology: Relating to crimes against people, e.g. assault, murder, or rape.
- Drugs and toxicology: Relating to restricted drugs, e.g. poison detection and DUI
With a degree in biochemistry, you can serve as a specialist in a specific area of expertise as a forensic scientist – biochemistry. Other forensic scientists specialize in ballistics, fingerprinting, or handwriting.
The median annual salary of forensic scientists is $60,950, though the top earners receive as high as $101,000 per year.
Here’s a short clip of Forensic Scientist Sarah Rambadt from Michigan State Police, Forensic Science Division (Grand Rapids Laboratory). Video Courtesy: Michigan State Police.
6. Medicinal Chemists
This is another high paying biochemistry job that involves the use of a range of chemistry techniques, notably synthetic organic chemistry and data analysis tools to design and create new pharmaceutically active molecules to help fight particular diseases.
Medicinal chemists work closely with other scientists to understand and interpret biological testing of compounds they have created. They then proceed to analyze the results to identify how to improve molecules until there is enough evidence that it works and is safe for use in people.
The median annual salary for medicinal chemists in the United States is $92,000 with the top earners receiving more than $122,000 a year.
Pharmacologists investigate how drugs interact with biological systems and conduct research to predict the effect certain drugs might have on humans. As a pharmacologist, your research will help in multiple ways, including to:
- Discover new and/or better medicines
- Improve the safety and effectiveness of current medicines
- Understand how people react to different drugs
- Understand why people react to different drugs differently
- Identify the reason why some drugs cause unwanted side effects or addictions
As a pharmacologist, you can choose to focus primarily on either human or animal medicines. The following types of pharmacologists exist depending on the area of specialization:
- Cardiovascular pharmacology
- Veterinary pharmacology
- Clinical pharmacology
The mean annual salary for pharmacologists in the United States is $97,993 and the highest-paid get more than $132,000 a year.
Toxicologists are experts in toxic materials and chemicals who use their expertise to research and evaluate the safety of materials, chemicals, new medicines or drugs, natural substances, and radiation and their impact on human health, animal health, and the environment.
As a toxicologist, you can work for pharmaceutical, water, or chemical companies to evaluate the safety of their products. You can also work for government regulatory bodies such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The mean annual salary for a toxicologist is $86,480 while the top-paid medical experts in this profession earn more than $131,000 a year, which also makes it one of the highest paying biochemistry jobs in 2021.
9. Life Science Research Scientist
Life science research scientists conduct research, either individually or as part of a team, that help in developing new products, enhancing commercial applications, or broadening scientific understanding in general. You can work in commercial or government labs, higher education institutions, or hospitals.
Life science research scientists can specialize in a single area of life science such as:
- Plant sciences
- Stem cell research
Although most of the research will center on medical sciences, there are instances when it will cross over to related disciplines, including biochemistry. The average annual salary for life science research scientists is $92,221, with the top-earners getting more than $155,000 a year.
10. College Professor
A decent percentage of biochemistry majors go on to become college professors in their area of expertise. Apart from being one of the highest paying biochemistry jobs in the United States, being a college professor gives you the noble responsibility to nurture and inspire the next generation of bioscientists.
The average salary for college professors in the United States is $70,427 with the top earners making as high as $178,000 a year.
Recap: High Paying Biochemistry Jobs in the U.S.
We have highlighted just a few of the highest paying biochemistry jobs in the United States in 2021. It’s important to know that a degree in biochemistry opens job opportunities in dozens of scientific fields. Most companies in different fields often use different terms for a job you might qualify for.