Biochemist and Biophysicist Career Opportunities

To become a Biochemist and Biophysicist you need to think creatively, analyze data and process information.

Biochemists involved in basic research may study the genetic mutations in organisms that lead to cancer and other diseases. Others study the evolution of plants and animals, to understand how genetic traits are carried through successive generations. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. If you want to discover if this professional track is right for you, just take a free career aptitude test right here.

Biochemist and Biophysicist Salary

  • Average Salary: $80,450
  • Expected Lifetime Earnings: $3,283,000

Biochemist and Biophysicist – Education

Biophysicists and biochemists are required to have Ph.D. to be able to obtaindependent research and development jobs, and the majority of Ph.D. holders start out their professional careers working in temporary positions where they may conduct postdoctoral research. There are also several entry-level positions in biophysics and biochemistry for qualifying bachelor’s and master’s degree holders.

Practically all Ph.D. holders in this sector hold bachelor’s degrees in biophysics, biochemistry or in a related subject field, for example chemistry, physics, biology, or engineering. Students interested in a career in this fascinating field should already at high school prepare for the right college education and take classes that relate to the world of physical and natural sciences such as math, biology, computer science, or chemistry. Interested in this field? You are welcome to take a totally free career quiz!

Bachelor’s degree programs usually come with required laboratory coursework, and this is actually an excellent preparation track for graduate school, or to obtain an entry-level job. Interested students may get great laboratory experience if they work for a university lab, or if they secure a valuable internship with a pharmaceutical or medicine manufacturer.

Ph.D. education programs usually include advanced courses in subjects such as genetics and toxicology, and graduate students will spend much time performing laboratory research and experiments. Ph.D. degree coursework includes additionally training in research planning, project financing, and research execution.

Biochemist and Biophysicist – The Job

Biochemists and biophysicists are studying the physical and chemical principles of biological processes and living things. They usually study things such as cell development, heredity, and growth. Biochemists and biophysicists, in general, are planning and conducting complex assignments in fundamental or applied research, and they often are responsible for laboratory teams and control work quality. They frequently are working on projects where they analyze or synthesize proteins or other molecules, enzymes, or work on DNA analysis and profiles.

This group of professionals is often researching the effects of certain substances, for example hormones or drugs, and research or monitor biological processes for example in food and on tissue. Biochemists and biophysicists can be found researching scientific papers, preparing highly technical reports, or providing recommendations that are based on, and in line with their research. Often, they need to present their research findings in detailed reports to engineers, scientists, researchers, or some other scientists.

Often, biochemists and biophysicists are using highly advanced technological devices, for example lasers or electron microscopes to perform their scientific experiments, or for analysis purposes. They will use sophisticated computer modeling software programs to identify 3-dimensional structures of proteins or other molecules.

These professionals are also often involved in biotechnological research projects. Biochemists and biophysicists may be conducting fundamental or applied research work. Basic or fundamental research is general academic research without any known or immediate application, and they do this to develop and expand our scientific understanding and knowledge.

Applied research work is typically directed toward studying and coming up with solutions for a specific problem. Biochemists performing fundamental research may, for example, be studying genetic mutations in organisms which lead to cancer and some other disease, while others may be studying the evolution of animals or plants in order to get a better understanding how genetic traits work through various generations.

Biochemists and biophysicists conducting fundamental research generally need to submit grant proposals in writing to universities and colleges, or to the federal government or private foundations, to obtain the funds needed to do their research work.

In applied research, biophysicists and biochemists conduct scientific research with the goal to develop processes and products that are intended to improve human life in general. In medicine, for example, these scientists are developing specific tests for the detection of genetic disorders, diseases, or certain illnesses.

They may additionally be developing revolutionary new medications or drugs, for example to treat Alzheimer’s disease or cancers. Also in agriculture are biochemists and biophysicists researching all sorts of genetically engineering to be able to come up with crops that will be resistant to insects, diseases, drought, or other afflictions. Biophysicists and biochemists additionally are working on alternative fuels, renewable energy, and energy sources from plants. Additionally, they are continuously developing methods to protect our environment and how to best clean up all sorts of pollution.

Where do they work

Biophysicists and biochemists usually are working in offices and laboratories where they conduct their experiments and research, and analyze and evaluate the test results. Those scientists who are working with toxic substances or dangerous organisms in laboratory settings are required to adhere to strict safety procedures to stay clear of hazardous situations and avoid contamination. Their research projects are often multidisciplinary, so we often see that biochemists and biophysicists are working in teams of experts from other fields, for example chemistry, physics, computer science, or various engineering disciplines.

Job outlook and pay

The employment opportunities of biochemists and biophysicists are pretty stable and will grow with over 15 percent during the upcoming decade. More of these professionals will be needed to conduct fundamental research, to enhance our scientific knowledge, and for researching and developing new biological processes and products to improve the lives we live.

Budgetary concerns on the other hand, may put a cap on the funding that will be required for fundamental research. Much of fundamental research in biophysics and biochemistry depends on federal government budgeting via the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, so federal budgetary cuts may directly affect job prospects in fundamental research, Traditionally, there has always been strong competition between institutions and bio-scientists for research funding. In 2014, the average yearly income for these scientific professionals was around $80,450.


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