What can I do with a major in biochemistry?

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Examples of where alumni in your major are working

Companies:
Boston College
Novelis
Bristol Myers Squib

Titles:
Cell Culture Operator
Lab Technician
Organic Chemistry Lab Assistant

Search for employers hiring graduates in your major

Employers in NY: 2,091
Employers in US: 35,474

 

Explore the numerous career fields related to your major

Research

Areas

Basic Research
Applied Research
Grant Writing
Administration

Some areas of specialization:

  • Healthcare: virology, immunology, enzymology
  • Pharmacology: drug properties, interactions, application and development
  • Environmental: testing, air/water/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

Employers

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 Industries:

  • Pharmaceutical
  • Biotechnology
  • Food processing
  • Cosmetic
  • Chemical
  • Petroleum
  • Agricultural

Information/Strategies

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 a master's degree in biochemistry for advanced positions, greater responsibility, and higher pay.
Obtain a Ph.D. to direct research projects and lead research teams.

Teaching

Areas

Elementary
Secondary
Post-Secondary
Non-Classroom Settings

Employers

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
  • Agriculture 

Museums
Zoos
Nature centers and parks

Information/Strategies

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 a Ph.D. for college or university teaching.

Healthcare

Areas

Medicine
Dentistry
Optometry
Podiatry
Pharmacy
Chiropractic 
Veterinary Medicine
Occupational Therapy
Physical Therapy
Public Health

Employers

Hospitals
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

Information/Strategies

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

Areas

Sales/Marketing
Technical Writing
Scientific Journalism
Scientific Illustration
Regulatory Affairs
Administration/Management
Scientific/Technical Recruiting
Intellectual Property/Patent Law
Bioinformatics

Employers

Biotechnology industry
Pharmaceutical and chemical companies
Publishers: textbook, magazine, newspaper, book
Software firms
Regulatory agencies
Search firms
Law firms
Legal departments of corporations

Information/Strategies

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 a master's degree for greater variety and autonomy on the job.
  • Earn a 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.