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Biochemistry: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Research

  • Basic
  • Applied
  • Medical
  • Grant writing
  • Administration

Employers

  • University laboratories
  • Federal government laboratories/agencies including National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Armed Services
  • State and local government laboratories/agencies
  • Public health departments
  • Hospital laboratories
  • Commercial medical laboratories
  • Private testing laboratories including forensics
  • Independent research foundations
  • Industry laboratories such as pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms, food processors, cosmetic manufacturers, chemical and petroleum industries, agricultural industry

Information & Strategies

  • Bachelor's degree in biochemistry, biology, or chemistry qualifies one for laboratory technician or research assistant positions.
  • Choose courses with laboratory work.
  • Get on the job experience in a laboratory 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 better positions, advancement opportunities, more responsibility, and higher pay.
  • Obtain a PhD to direct research projects and lead research teams.

Teaching

  • Elementary
  • Secondary
  • Post-secondary

Employers

  • Public and private elementary, middle, and high schools
  • Two-year community colleges/technical institutes
  • Four-year institutions
  • Medical schools

Information & Strategies

  • Complete an accredited teacher preparation program for certification/licensure in biology and/or chemistry.
  • PhD required for college or university teaching. Some teaching positions in two-year institutions may be available for those with a master's degree.
  • Prepare to attend graduate school by maintaining a high GPA and securing strong faculty recommendations.
  • Serve as a tutor for high school or college students.
  • Learn to communicate effectively.

Healthcare

  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Optometry
  • Podiatry
  • Pharmacy
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Allied health: occupational therapy or physical therapy

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Medical centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Private practice

Information & Strategies

  • Plan on attending medical school or other related graduate program.
  • Maintain an outstanding grade point average, particularly in the sciences.
  • Secure strong faculty recommendations
  • 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.
  • Develop a backup plan in case medical/graduate school admission is denied.
  • Consider alternative but related careers such as physician assistants.
  • Research all of the various fields within medicine to determine a particular career goal.

Other Professional Opportunities

  • Sales/Marketing
  • Technical writing
  • Scientific journalism
  • Scientific illustration
  • Regulatory affairs
  • Administration/Management
  • Scientific/Technical recruiting
  • Intellectual property/Patent law

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

  • For sales positions, gain sales experience through internships, part-time work, or summer jobs.
  • 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 PhD to reach high levels of administration.
  • Plan on attending law school if interested in law.

General Information

  • As an undergraduate, seek laboratory experiences such as research projects, volunteering with professors, summer jobs, or internships.
  • 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.
  • Earn master's degree for greater variety and autonomy on the job.
  • Earn a PhD 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.
  • Learn to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Develop the ability to communicate clearly.
  • Gain competencies in computers and mathematics.
  • Read scientific journals and join related professional organizations.
  • Combine an undergraduate degree in biochemistry with a degree in law, computer programming, business, education, information science, or other discipline to expand career opportunities.
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Chemistry at North Park University