Biochemist and biophysicist essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $81,480
- 2012 number of jobs: 26,410
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 31 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
Biochemists and biophysicists; what they do:
Remember what you saw when you looked through a microscope in biology and chemistry class? If it was a cell or living organism, you have some idea what the work of biochemists and biophysicists focuses on.
A biochemist career and a biophysicist career include studying cells and organisms’ physical principles, their electrical and mechanical energy and related phenomena. A biochemist career and a biophysicist career include conducting research to further the understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth and heredity.
Most biochemists and biophysicists work in teams and use electron microscopes, lasers and other lab equipment to carry out their research. Biochemist careers and biophysicist careers include using advanced technologies to conduct experiments and analysis.
Biochemists and biophysicists conduct basic research to expand human knowledge and apply research to solve a particular problem. Those who choose a biochemist career or a biophysicist career may determine the effects of food, drugs, serums, hormones and other substances on tissues and the vital processes of living organisms.
Biochemists and biophysicists duties:
- Managing laboratory teams and monitoring the quality of their work
- Teaching or advising undergraduate or graduate students or supervising their research
- Researching substances’ effect on tissues and biological processes
- Presenting research findings to scientists, engineers and other colleagues
- Planning and conducting complex projects
- Writing scientific articles or making presentations at scientific conferences
- Preparing technical reports, research papers and recommendations based on their research
- Isolating, analyzing and synthesizing proteins, enzymes, DNA and other molecules
Biochemists and biophysicists job titles:
- Applied biochemist
- Clinical biochemist
- Medical biochemist
- Forensic biochemist
- Nutritional biochemist
- Analytical research chemist
- Chief scientific officer
- Director of biophysics facility
- Professor of physics/researcher in biophysics
Biochemists and Biophysicists Education, Certification and License Requirements
Those pursuing a biochemist career or a biophysicist career need a doctorate in Biochemistry or a Doctoral in Biophysics to work in independent research and development.
Most biochemists and biophysicists begin their careers in temporary research positions, lasting two or three years. Bachelor’s and master’s degree holders can qualify for some positions in product development, inspection or applied research.
Many schools provide a Bachelor in Biochemistry degree program but just a small number of schools provide a Bachelor of Biophysics degree program. Some schools offer a Master of Biochemistry degree program or a Master of Biophysics degree program.
Biochemist and biophysicist programs cover subjects such as:
- Plant physiology
- Cellular biology
- General physics
- Electricity and magnetism
- Introduction to modern physics
Career Advancement Opportunities
Biochemists and biophysicists typically take on greater responsibility, including leading research teams, as they gain experience. Some who choose a biochemistry career or a biophysicist career take on managerial roles or go on to teach at the university level.
Biochemists and Biophysicists Job Outlook
Forecast: 31 percent employment growth in jobs for biochemists and biophysicists from 2010 to 2020. There’s a demand for biochemists and biophysicists to perform basic research to increase scientific knowledge and to research and develop biological products and processes to improve peoples’ lives.
Biochemists and Biophysicists Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $81,480
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $112,200
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $55,360
Biochemists and Biophysicists Major Employers
- Scientific research and development services
- Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing
- Colleges, universities and professional schools
- Architectural, engineering and related services