What can I do with this major?
- Basic Research
- Applied Research
- Grant Writing
- Some areas of specialization:
- Healthcare: virology, immunology, enzymology
- Pharmacology: drug properties, interactions, application and development
- Environmental: testing, air, water, and waste management, regulation
- Agricultural: crop production, herbicide/pesticide development and application
- Food science: preservation, nutrition
- Cosmeceutical: development and application
- Forensic: toxicology, DNA analysis, scientific instrumentation
- University laboratories
- Federal government laboratories/agencies:
- National Science Foundation
- National Institutes of Health
- Food and Drug Administration
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Energy
- Armed Services
- State and local government laboratories/agencies
- Public health departments
- Hospital laboratories
- Commercial medical laboratories
- Private testing laboratories including forensics
- Independent research foundations
- Food processing
- Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, biology, or chemistry qualifies one for laboratory technician or research assistant positions.
- Choose courses with laboratory components to build experimental and instrumentation skills.
- Gain experience in area of interest through internships, research with professors and/or complete a senior research project.
- Complete a certificate training program, usually one year, to learn specialized laboratory techniques.
- Take a course in grant writing.
- Earn master’s degree in biochemistry for advanced positions, greater responsibility, and higher pay.
- Obtain Ph.D. to direct research projects and lead research teams.
- Non-classroom settings
- Public and private schools, K-12
- Two-year community colleges/technical institutes
- Four-year institutions
- Professional schools including colleges of pharmacy, dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, and agriculture
- Nature centers and parks
- Develop excellent communication skills.
- Volunteer with and/or tutor target age group.
- Complete an accredited education program for certification/licensure in biology and/or chemistry.
- Earn a master’s degree for teaching at some two-year institutions.
- Prepare to attend graduate school by maintaining a high grade point average and securing strong faculty recommendations.
- Complete Ph.D. for college or university teaching.
- Veterinary Medicine
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Public Health
- Colleges or universities
- Medical centers and clinics
- Private and group practice
- Health networks
- Nursing homes
- Rehabilitation centers
- Correctional facilities
- Large corporations
- Armed services
- Government agencies
- State and local public health departments
- Plan on attending medical school or other related graduate program.
- Maintain an outstanding grade point average, particularly in the sciences.
- Meet with a pre-health advisor periodically.
- Join related student organizations. Demonstrate leadership abilities.
- Volunteer to work in a hospital or healthcare setting.
- Find a summer job or internship in a hospital.
- Secure strong faculty recommendations.
- Research all of the various fields within medicine to determine a particular career goal.
- Develop a back up plan in case medical/graduate school admission is denied.
Other Professional Opportunities
- Technical Writing
- Scientific Journalism
- Scientific Illustration
- Regulatory Affairs
- Scientific/Technical Recruiting
- Intellectual Property/Patent Law
- Biotechnology industry
- Pharmaceutical and chemical companies
- Publishers: Textbook, magazine, newspaper, book
- Software firms
- Regulatory agencies
- Search firms
- Law firms
- Legal departments of corporations
- Supplement biochemistry degree with coursework in chosen field.
- Gain sales experience through internships, part-time work, or summer jobs for sales positions.
- Take business and/or computer classes.
- Become familiar with desktop publishing and other software packages.
- Develop strong written and oral communication skills.
- Get experience writing for a school or local newspaper.
- Obtain an MBA or Ph.D. to reach high levels of administration.
- To pursue a J.D., participate in mock trial and pre-law associations, learn law school admissions process.
General Information and Strategies
- Biochemists are typically curious and creative with strong observational skills and the ability to persevere.
- Biochemists often interact with scientists from other disciplines. Learn to work independently and as part of a team.
- Develop the ability to communicate clearly to compile and share results in oral and written forms.
- Gain competencies in computers and mathematics.
- Read scientific journals to stay current on relevant issues in the field, and join related professional organizations to network and build contacts.
- As an undergraduate, seek laboratory experiences such as research projects, volunteering with professors, summer jobs, or internships.
- Visit government laboratories or research centers to learn more about opportunities in biochemistry. Schedule informational interviews to learn about the profession and specific career paths.
- Participate in research programs sponsored by organizations like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
- Consider a certificate program or specialized master’s program to qualify for research technician positions.
- Become familiar with the specific entrance exam for graduate or professional schools in your area of interest.
- Maintain a high grade point average, and secure strong faculty recommendations.
- Earn master’s degree for greater variety and autonomy on the job.
- Earn Ph.D. to work on high-level research projects, to direct research programs, to enter high levels of administration, and to teach at four-year post-secondary institutions. Postdoctoral fellowships may also be required.
- Combine an undergraduate degree in biochemistry with a degree in law, computer programming, business, education, information science, or other discipline to expand career opportunities.
- Learn the job application process for government positions.