What are the Different Types of Jobs in Biochemistry?

Barbara R. Cochran

Biochemists study the chemical structure of living systems in order to come up with solutions that will make life better for human beings. Jobs in biochemistry are as diverse as they are plentiful. When they are working on a project, many biochemists will interact with other experts to address specific problems.

University biochemistry professors often teach students to use laboratory technology.
University biochemistry professors often teach students to use laboratory technology.

The preponderance of jobs in biochemistry tend to be centered around one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world — pharmaceuticals. Biochemists in this field primarily study the chemical components and action of virus-producing proteins. As a result of their research and testing, other scientists are able to develop and come up with newer and more effective drugs to combat debilitating illnesses.

When working on a project, many biochemists will interact with other experts to address specific problems.
When working on a project, many biochemists will interact with other experts to address specific problems.

For jobs in biochemistry, one has to have at least a bachelor's degree. In addition to core biology and chemistry courses, other related, more specialized course work is usually indicated. Some examples of specialized areas of study are genomics, stem cell and gene therapies, and patent law. The latter course of study is especially pertinent since a biochemist may work directly, or indirectly, with a scientifically-trained patent attorney. The attorney is supposed to make sure that any new product, such as a prescription drug, is protected from infringement.

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Biochemists are constantly researching ways to keep people safe from different germ strains.
Biochemists are constantly researching ways to keep people safe from different germ strains.

Bachelor's-level jobs in biochemistry are found in other medical specialty areas besides that of general medicine. Some biochemists work in the fields of veterinary science and dentistry. Most jobs at the bachelor's level are research-oriented. The military and other enforcement agencies offer jobs in biochemistry in an effort to keep citizens safe against chemical and germ warfare. Other jobs in biochemistry, such as research and/or teaching at a university, require a master's or PhD degree.

The most profitable career for biochemists is in the pharmaceuticals industry.
The most profitable career for biochemists is in the pharmaceuticals industry.

Besides university jobs in biochemistry, there are many other public venues where biochemists are employed. Some examples would be hospitals, national blood services, pollution control agencies, cancer research institutes, and crime labs, where DNA testing might be carried out. One example of a private sector concern that would offer jobs in biochemistry would be a biotech company. This kind of company is typically interested in offering products or services that have evolved out of biochemical research.

A biochemist may choose to work in a crime lab.
A biochemist may choose to work in a crime lab.

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