In our previous article, we highlighted 15 of the highest-paying biochemistry jobs. It includes the possible jobs one can do with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, with some of the jobs paying as high as $150,000 a year.
However, you might be wondering where biochemists work and what their specific roles and duties are in each of the different work environments.
While a significant number of biochemistry graduates work as biochemists, medical scientists, and in laboratories, a sizable percentage go on to pursue masters and postgraduate degrees in biochemistry-related fields.
So, where do biochemists work and what are their specific tasks and duties?
Where do biochemists work?
Below we highlight the most common places biochemists work in the United States. Keep in mind that a degree in biochemistry opens doors to a multitude of careers and you should take advantage of that.
1. Pharmaceutical laboratories
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest number of biochemists work in Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing laboratories.
Biochemists who work in pharmaceutical laboratories are often analytical chemists and are involved throughout the drug development process. They study the chemical and physical properties of drug substances and their formulations to determine their stability and quality.
Analytical chemists can also be involved in the product validation process, quality control, and toxicology analysis.
2. Research institutes
Another place where biochemists work is research institutes. Biochemists that work in research institutes include clinical research associates (CRA), analytical chemists, biomedical scientists, medicinal chemists, pharmacologists, toxicologists, and life science research scientists.
Each of these professionals has specific roles but the core is to conduct analytical research, carry out experiments, and analyze the data. For example, clinical research associates run clinical trials to test drugs for their effectiveness and risks to ensure they are safe before being released onto the market.
Biochemists working in biological research institutes work in collaboration with bioinformaticians, specialists who use their knowledge of math, statistics, computer science, and engineering to mine datasets for correlations that might explain biological phenomena.
3. Biotech companies
Some biochemists can also work for biotech companies under different roles, including as researchers or sales representatives. Biotech companies need biochemists including biochemical engineers, biomedical engineers, and biomedical scientists.
Most biotech companies that manufacture medical products using complex technologies often need experts to explain to potential customers or clients about their products. Other biochemists can also act as sales representatives of the company because they understand the products, how they work, and why the customers need them.
4. Universities and colleges
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 8% of biochemistry graduates work in universities, colleges, and professional schools. Some work as college professors to teach, nurture and inspire the next generation of bioscientists.
Others work as academic researchers and apply their knowledge, expertise, and skills honed through years of study and research to publish academic papers in peer-reviewed journals. They can also write books and reports on their specialist areas of knowledge.
5. Government regulatory bodies
You can also land a high-paying job as a biochemistry graduate with government regulatory bodies such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Biochemists that can work in such agencies include toxicologists, pharmacologists, food scientists, and biomedical scientists.
6. Scientific and medical publishers
Biochemists can also work for scientific and medical publishing companies. They use their knowledge, skills, and expertise to conduct extensive research and publish scientific and medical reports.
For example, they can publish the latest on research, medicine, drugs, diseases, contagions, and other medical information to ensure the information is documented and the general public remains informed.
7. Sports science institutes
Biochemists can also work with the sports industry such as in sports science institutes to study the physiology of an athlete’s body. They conduct a lot of tests and their research and findings play an integral in the massive acceleration of sports science, promotion of athlete’s physical health, fine-tune athlete selection process, perfects training plans and schedules, and gathers real-time monitoring of training and how an athlete’s body responds to different exercises.
Here is a short video clip of biochemists Gatorade’s Sport Science Institute. Video courtesy: National Science Foundation.
8. Intellectual property agencies
Other places where biochemists can work are in intellectual property offices as patent examiners. The role of patent examiners is to examine patent applications to determine whether or not a patent can be granted or not, which in this case will be anything related to medicine and health care.
9. Sales and marketing
The skills and knowledge of experienced biochemists can be gems for biotech and pharmaceutical companies looking to introduce and/or push new health care inventions, including drugs and medical devices into the market.
Biochemists are better placed to explain how the new inventions will help solve problems patients and/or healthcare facilities such as hospitals face. Understanding the facets of sales and marketing will play an integral role in helping you become a successful agent.
10. Hospitals/healthcare facilities
A bachelor’s degree in biochemistry can also open doors for you to work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. For example, physician associates, which is one of the highest paying medical jobs in the U.S., carry out tasks such as diagnosis, examination, management, and care of patients under the direct supervision of physicians.
You can also be part of a medical team and work in general practitioner surgeries. It is worth keeping in mind that physician associates and physician assistants perform different tasks and the two roles should not be confused or considered to be the same.
11. Forensic science agencies/departments
Biochemistry graduates can also work as forensic scientists to help criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence at crime scenes. The evidence can include fingerprints, DNA tissue, blood splatters, hairs, flammable substances, or used shell casings.
If you choose to become a forensic scientist, you may work for local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies, crime labs, hospitals, or the coroner’s office. Forensic scientists helping in criminal investigations can present the evidence as a written report or be required to attend court hearings to present the evidence in person as an expert witness.
12. Agricultural companies
Many agricultural companies also hire biochemistry graduates to help in research and provide specialists services. For example, food scientists can work in the agricultural industry to study and develop methods that help improve the productivity and/or sustainability of crops and livestock.
Alternatively, they can work as food technologists to develop new food products, packaging techniques, as well as advanced methods of detecting contaminants.
Other biochemists that work for agricultural companies are toxicologists. They are experts in toxic materials and chemicals who conduct toxicological studies to evaluate the safety of materials, chemicals, new drugs, natural substances, and radiations and their impact on human health, animal health, as well as the environment.
13. Chemical companies
Apart from working with agricultural companies, toxicologists can also work with pharmaceutical, water, and chemical companies to evaluate the safety of their products.
Toxicologists use their expertise to research and evaluate whether the chemicals, materials, and/or radiations from chemical companies are harmful to humans, animals, and the environment.
Having a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry also opens opportunities for you to work in water companies. The most notable professions you can pursue with water companies include being a toxicologist or biochemical engineer.
Read More: Medical Certifications That Pay Well in 2021.
We have highlighted just a few of the places where biochemists can work. Your career path will determine which of these options will be most applicable to you. Either way, a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry will open many career doors for you.