How to Become A Biochemist

Biochemists analyze the characteristics of different living organisms including living tissues, generic patterns and molecules. They work in laboratories, conduct experiments and analyze results. These professionals know how to conduct applied and basic research while working in teams. Some of them have to deal with toxic and hazardous organisms depending on the nature of their work. They usually have a fixed work schedule, however sometimes they may have to work extra hours.

Should I Become a Biochemist?

To become a biochemist, you will have to get at least a Ph.D. in biochemistry. If the field of science interests you and the idea of making biological discoveries sounds intriguing, then a career in biochemistry might just be for you.

The following table outlines the basic requirements that a career in biochemistry entails, along with information on salary and growth in employment.

Education Required

Ph.D. is required.

Bachelor’s or master’s is accepted with some experience

Major Requirement



Required for some jobs


1-8 years depending on education level

Key Skills

Analytical skills, Communication skills, Critical-thinking, Interpersonal skills, Math skills, Problem-solving skills, Time-management skills

Annual Mean Salary (2018)

$105,940 (Biochemists and Biophysicists)

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

6% (Biochemists and Biophysicists)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Requirements

Professionals who want to become biochemists have to earn a Ph.D. degree. Those who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree are also considered keeping in view their experience. All jobs in this field do not require a license. However, some may want professionals to be certified. Aspiring biochemists are required to have analytical and basic communication skills. They should be able to perform experiments and analyze the results accurately. They are also required to write down a report explaining the results. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary of a biochemist was $105,940 in 2018.

How to Become a Biochemist

1.      Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree

Earning a bachelor’s degree helps aspiring professionals know more about the field. This program helps them get ready for higher education in biochemistry and includes subjects like biology, physics, math and computer science. Some schools provide the opportunity of internship which helps students get hands-on experience in the laboratories of medical manufacturing or pharmaceutical companies.

2.      Earn Your Graduate Degree

After completing their four-year undergraduate program, students are expected to pursue their master’s degree. This gives them a chance to earn advanced knowledge in subjects like biology, physics and chemistry. It includes lab experience as well. Some schools provide a degree on the basis of a thesis project while others focus more on examinations.

Students who want to secure a job in the research sector are recommended to pursue a Ph.D.

3.      Gain Work Experience

Entry-level jobs help biochemists gain experience. These candidates can find jobs at pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. Professionals who want to get high-level positions need to have 2-8 years of research and lab experience.

4.      Get a Certification

Having a license is not mandatory for all jobs, however some employers require it. Having a certificate demonstrates competency and it also helps biochemists advance in the career. An exam is offered to all the applicants who have doctoral degrees. It is a certified exam offered by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC). Continuing education after every 2 year is compulsory to maintain the license.

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