Do Biochemists make good money?

Thinking about studying biochemistry but not sure about the opportunities?

In this article we’re going to answer the question ‘’Do Biochemists make good money?’’ We will detail the role of biochemists in science and their annual income.

Do Biochemists make good money?

Biochemists can earn good money depending on the area in which they work. On average, they can earn about $93,280 annually.

What’s biochemistry?

Biochemistry is a science that studies the chemical composition of living organisms.

Biochemistry is based on the fact that every living being is composed of carbon and, in general, biological molecules are mainly combined with hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and phosphorus.

So, a biochemist is dedicated to studying and investigating cells and the chemical nature of the compounds of a cell, as well as the chemical changes that take place in it and how living beings are affected if these chemical variables are altered.

It’s a scientific discipline that encompasses the physical-chemical laws and the biological transformation that influences biosystems and their members.

They do it from a molecular point of view and try to understand and apply their knowledge to broad sectors of medicine (gene therapy and biomedicine), agri-food, pharmacology.

What does a biochemist do?

Some tasks that a biochemist performs:

  • Plan and conduct complex projects in basic and applied research.
  • Isolate, analyze, and synthesize proteins, enzymes, DNA, and other molecules.
  • Present research results to scientists, engineers, and other colleagues.
  • Investigate the effects of substances such as drugs, hormones, and foods on tissues and biological processes.
  • Prepare technical reports, research papers, and recommendations based on your research.
  • Manage laboratory equipment and supervise the quality of work.

Where can a biochemist work?

Biochemistry involves the study of basic life processes, for example, how DNA is transferred between cells and how it can be manipulated to solve problems. Biochemists work with all kinds of organisms, from microorganisms to plants and animals.

Biochemical techniques are very important to almost all areas of biological research, that’s why biochemists are involved in all areas of modern biology.


In industry, they develop new biochemical products and supervise the production process, guaranteeing their safety and quality. They work in a wide range of industries, especially food, pharmaceutical, beverage, and other biotechnology and agrochemical companies.

Biochemists working in biotech companies, for example, develop genetic techniques to apply them to the production of essential proteins and hormones, such as insulin, a chemical deficient in people with diabetes.

Biochemists create vaccines and antibodies, and investigate how DNA can be manipulated as a resource to treat genetic disorders. Biochemists have also developed DNA fingerprinting techniques for application in forensic science.

In the early days of pharmaceutical research projects, biochemists study how a disease develops and spreads. The results help decide the biological properties and chemical structure that the future drug should have. Biochemists also help decide what format a drug should take when marketed as a medicine, for example in pill, injection or lotion form.

Research on a new drug involves conducting routine experimental tests, first performed with cells in a test tube, in a petri dish (in vitro), and then tested on animals and human volunteers (in vivo).


Generally, clinical biochemists work in hospitals, analyzing tissues and body fluids, to aid in the diagnosis of disease.

Diseases cause changes in the complex biochemistry of the body, so biochemists can detect diseases by analyzing the concentration of certain substances in body fluids and tissues. For example, glucose levels increase in patients with diabetes mellitus, while patients with kidney disease show increased urea.

A typical general hospital performs more than a million biochemical tests per year, so clinical biochemists use highly sophisticated automated machines that can analyze up to a thousand samples per hour (for example, sodium, glucose and urea in the blood).

In contrast, identifying an unknown drug extracted from an overdose may require time-consuming and laborious work, with manual testing and the use of a wide range of laboratory techniques and technologies.

Clinical biochemists are also involved in the research and development of new analytical techniques, often working in partnership with industry professionals or university researchers.


Biochemists specialized in agricultural research and in the agrochemical industry contribute to the development of products such as pesticides and fertilizers.

They apply their knowledge of genetic modification to develop pest-resistant crops, to improve crop yields, and to increase the amount of time food stays fresh.

There are other biochemists specializing in the environment, who are in charge, for example, of detecting pollutants in food chains.

Informatics and bioinformatics

Many biochemists have knowledge of bioinformatics, that is, they apply information technologies (such as the internet or databases) to biology.

For example, there are databases on the internet that contain the complete genome sequence of different bacteria. Biochemists can use this information to analyze the similarity of one bacteria to another.

Biochemists can also work in many other areas, including education, medical writing, journalism, marketing, and industry product sales.

What do I need to be a biochemist?

Professional profile

To be a biochemist you need the following characteristics:

  • Be curious and have a restless mind.
  •  Have skills for logical thinking.
  •  Have a thorough, patient, and methodical approach to work.
  • Have good organizational skills to plan and carry out experiments.
  • Have practical laboratory skills.
  •  Have observation skills, precision, and attention to detail.
  •  Have skills in mathematics, statistics and computers.
  • Have the ability to present the results clearly and concisely, including the writing of reports.
  •  Have skills for teamwork.

The process of ensuring a chemical is safe can include animal testing, so you need to be prepared to participate in these types of tests.

How do I become a biochemist?

Students can earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate in biochemistry to prepare for a career as a biochemist. Individuals with a bachelor’s or master’s degree can work in product development and applied research. A Ph.D. is generally required for most independent research positions and university-level teaching positions.

Undergraduate courses generally cover topics including bacteriology and inorganic chemistry. Students can also spend significant time in the laboratory to gain a deeper understanding of biological processes.

Advanced level programs can take 2-4 years to complete. Students can design their own course of study based on their interests. For example, those interested in plant biochemistry can propose research projects, thesis or dissertations on topics such as photosynthesis.

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in biochemistry can qualify you for an entry-level position. However, to become an independent research scientist and / or university professor, you will need a Ph.D.

Understanding how the profession works and knowing the expected job growth, median annual salary, and educational requirements can help you decide if this career is the path you want to pursue.

Best Biochemistry Universities in America

America’s top-rated biochemistry programs are equally divided between the east and west coasts, and are among some of the top-ranked universities in the nation.

College students study biochemical work to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Art degree (B.A.). Graduate students generally continue beyond the Master of Science (M.S.) degree to obtain a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

The best biochemistry programs in the country offer students the opportunity to work with experienced and successful professors in state-of-the-art labs.

University of California at Berkeley, College of Chemistry

The University of California at Berkeley, College of Chemistry contains the departments of chemistry, chemical engineering, and chemical biology.

The university offers undergraduate and graduate programs in each of these departments. Four faculty professors and seven university students have won Nobel prizes in chemistry.

Yale University

Prospective students interested in advanced studies, this’s the right school for you. They also offer 3 different higher degree levels in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Chemistry

Bachelor’s degrees in chemistry can work towards an American Chemical Society (ACS) Certificate in Biochemistry to complete your bachelor’s degree. 

Harvard Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology offers undergraduate and graduate programs. College students can apply to complete the Bachelor and Master of Arts (A.B./A.M), an intensive dual-degree program that prepares advanced students for further graduate study.

Stanford Biochemistry

Stanford’s Department of Biochemistry offers a doctoral program in biochemistry at the School of Medicine. The program has extensive opportunities in independent research for experienced graduate students.

How much does a biochemist make? 


The overall median hourly wage for biochemists in the United States was $41.63, with median annual wages of $86,580, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They were the highest paid of all biologists, earning 20% more than the second highest paid, microbiologists.

10% percent had wages of $20.70 per hour and $43,050 per year. The remaining 90% was US $68.47 per hour and US $142,420 per year.

Largest Industry

About 11,300 biochemists and biophysicists work for companies offering scientific research and development, making this the largest field for biochemists, explains the BLS.

Those working in scientific research and development made an average of $43.66 per hour and $90,810 per year. Wages in industry were 4% above the national median wage rate for biochemists.

Other industries

Doctors’ offices were the highest-paying employer for biochemists with a salary of $95.68 per hour and $199,020 per year, the BLS reports.

The second-largest industry for jobs in biochemistry is pharmaceutical, and medicine manufacturing companies, paid biochemists an average of $42.59 per hour and $88,590 per year.

Employees in colleges and universities earned an average of US $30.04 per hour and US $62,480 per year, while those who worked in medical laboratories averaged US $37.18 per hour and US $77,340 per year.

Geographic areas

Biochemists working in Georgia enjoy the highest salaries of all people in the United States, averaging $50.88 per hour and $105,830 per year, according to the BLS.

Louisiana was ranked the lowest-paying state for biochemists, averaging $24.78 per hour and $51,550 per year.

Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Marietta, Georgia are the highest paying cities averaging $57.72 per hour and $120,060 per year. Kansas City in Missouri are the lowest-paying cities with wages of $24.07 per hour and $50,060 per year.

As you can see, the salary of a biochemist can be very varied, since it will depend on many factors such as years of experience, the functions to be carried out, in which country the activity is developed and the company in which you work.

Why study biochemistry?

Biochemistry is a branch of science that studies the chemical structure of living organisms in molecular terms, especially working with carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and other molecules.

Thanks to biochemistry, we can currently study the chemical basis of the molecules that make up cells that are responsible for functions as diverse as digestion, photosynthesis or immunity.

Without a doubt its role in science is very important. That’s why they are the best paid in biological sciences.

FAQs: Do Biochemists make good money?

Is biochemistry a good career?

Yes, if you study biochemistry you can have many opportunities, in public or private research, hospitals, institutions, etc.

Are biochemists in demand?

The biochemist job market is expected to grow by 11.4% between 2016 and 2026.

The most demanded biochemists will be to conduct research and develop better products, however, there is a limiting factor: the budget. This influences new hires.

How much do biochemists earn UK?

A biochemist in the UK can earn up to £104,927 which would be about $122045, although the least paid can earn up to £31,365, that is, $ 36,482.

Do biophysicists make good money?

Depending on experience, biophysicists can earn up to $ 147,300.

Is biochemistry a hard major?

Yes, in fact, it’s in the top 10 of the most difficult majors. This is due to the complexity of the chemical processes and substances of organisms.

In this article we answered the question ‘’Do Biochemists make good money?’’ and detailed the role of biochemists in science and their annual income.

If you have any questions, please let us know!


Biochemists and Biophysicists :    Occupational Outlook Handbook: :    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020, September). Retrieved September 27, 2020, from website:

Top Biology and Biochemistry Schools in the World – US News Education. (2020). Retrieved September 27, 2020, from @USNews website: