Biochemistry is a significant field of science since it studies the chemistry of life by connecting Chemistry to Biology. Since Biochemistry plays an immense role in our daily life activities, all Biochemists must have a strong educational background and be well-equipped with experiences and skills. Along with that, gaining experience is closely related to working in the environment supplied with high-quality equipment and professional co-workers. Moreover, working conditions and terms that the employers offer should also be satisfactory for the employees. One of the most important factors that influence the satisfaction of the employees is salary, which also affects the quality of work.
Salary of an individual is dependent not only on the chosen career path but also on the experience in the specific area of expertise. For that reason, the career development of a person along with the salary can be categorized into four different stages, which will be discussed throughout the article.
Stage I – Undergraduate Student
Studying at a university or a college is the first step of an individual towards career development. Being an undergraduate student means that one chooses the specific career path and gains particular knowledge necessary for that specific profession.
Undergraduate students usually receive financial assistance from parents or family members, but it is evident that “pocket money” is also significant. Because undergraduate students do not have enough educational background or experience in the field of their interest, it is hardly ever possible to work in companies with their chosen profession.
One of the best options for enthusiastic undergraduate students is to work as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant within their university facilities. For getting a job as a Teaching Assistant (TA), it is crucial to have a strong educational background as well as excellent academic standing in the particular class in which one is becoming a TA. Moreover, training might also be required to become a TA.
Since Biochemistry is a broad science which incorporates various ideas and concepts from Biology and Chemistry, Biochemistry students take a diverse variety of courses in not only Biochemistry but also Biology and Chemistry along with several other subjects.
Typical duties for Undergraduate Teaching Assistants include attending the classes, taking attendance, and grading papers. Moreover, Teaching Assistant might also be responsible for lecturing, leading a discussion, designing course materials, or performing several other duties. Depending on the subject in which one serves as a Teaching Assistant, duties might also include leading lab sessions, explanation of basic laboratory concepts, grading lab reports, or other assignments.
The hourly wage of an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant varies from $6 to $21 depending on the institution as well as on the experience and duties of the employee. The annual salary of Undergraduate Teaching Assistants depends on individual schedules and working hours.
Being a Teaching Assistant is a perfect job for undergraduate students not only for its financial benefits but also for educational and professional development since the best way to learn and enhance skills is to teach someone else.
Stage II – Graduate Student
The second stage of career development is becoming a graduate student. Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree grants students the knowledge and experience utilizing which the options for work environment become even more extensive. In the case of Biochemists, big companies usually hire individuals with at least a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry since working as a Biochemist requires particular and in-depth knowledge.
For that reason, working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant is an excellent option for students studying in graduate schools. A Graduate Teaching Assistant helps a professor to perform various tasks, including grading papers, lecturing, preparing presentations, etc. Moreover, graduate students with good academic standing and potential might also be given their class to teach. Along with that, Biochemistry graduate students might even have a chance to help professors complete research.
Graduate Teaching Assistants work part-time along with completing their full-time graduate studies. Their typical workplaces are classrooms or offices within which they assist students. More importantly, they can also use the space for their graduate studies.
The hourly wage for a Graduate Teaching Assistant varies from $9 to $27 depending on the experience, workplace, and individual schedule.
Stage III – Ph.D. Student
Being a Ph.D. student in Biochemistry is the third stage of career growth, which reveals a wide variety of job options starting from educational facility employees to research scientists. At this stage, Ph.D. students have enough experience along with the educational background to not only work as assistants or lecturers within university facilities but also become a team member of lots of big companies and organizations.
Starting from educational facilities, Ph.D. students are usually granted the possibility to lead the specific classes independently. Being a lecturer requires preparation and delivering lecture presentations, development of course material, grading, holding office hours, offering assistance to students, etc. Along with the fact that one can enhance not only educational but also communicational skills during the teaching process and interaction with students, being a lecturer is also a perfect tool for its financial benefits. Ph.D. students who work as lecturers along with their Ph.D. studies have annual salary varying from $15,000 to $40,000 depending on the institution or country.
As it was mentioned earlier, Ph.D. students have sufficient theoretical and practical knowledge to perform various tasks in the companies requiring Biochemists. Since they do not yet have a doctoral degree, the status of such employees might not be as high, and the salary might be a little bit low accordingly. It is estimated that a Ph.D. student earns roughly $30,000 per year, but the specific data cannot be retrieved since the income is entirely dependent on the country of residence, company, experience, duties or schedule.
Stage IV – Biochemist with a Ph.D. Degree
Pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry means that individual becomes able to work at leading research facilities, educational institutions, and top companies. Having a doctoral degree in Biochemistry might lead to career development in various engaging areas such as nanotechnology or cancer research.
It is estimated that Biochemists in the United States earn around $65,000 per year (starting from $51,000 to $125,000) with an approximate hourly rate of $90 in case of top-level Biochemists.
Considering the fact that Biochemistry is a broad discipline with a diverse variety of sub-disciplines. Biochemists can work in various areas including agriculture, technology, education, pharmacy, or medicine. For that reason, there is no general estimation for all Biochemists working in different facilities. Here is the list of several specific professions and corresponding estimated annual salary:
- Biochemist – $34,000 – $96,000
- Professor of Biochemistry – $51,000 – $145,000
- Biomedical Scientist – $31,000 – $113,000
- Biotechnologist $31,000 – $105,000
- Medicinal Biochemist – $49,000 – $180,000
- Nanotechnologists – $57,000 – $161,000
- Pharmacologist – $49,000 – $131,000
- Agricultural Scientist – $46,000 – $123,000
- Biochemical Engineer – $51,000 – $152,000