Pharmacists and Other Careers in Biochemistry

September 11, 2022

Biochemistry is a field of science that studies how chemicals interact and react within a living body. It requires an understanding of both chemistry and biology. Students with biochemistry degrees can choose to use their education in a variety of fields to do many different jobs.


Pharmacists must understand biochemistry, technology, health care, and patient care to be successful at their jobs. A pharmacist can work in a variety of settings, including a community pharmacy, hospital, nursing home, or research facility.

  • Pharmacists can expect to earn about $130,000 a year on average.
  • Typically, pharmacists earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry or something similar and then begin working toward obtaining their doctor of pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.).
  • All pharmacists must pass certification exams.
  • The specialized subfield of pharmacotherapy requires extensive knowledge of biochemistry.


Toxicology is the study of how chemicals and biological compounds affect animals, people, and the overall environment. Some toxicologists focus on testing new products to make sure that they are safe to be offered to the general public, others research how chemicals impact the environment, and still others focus on general issues of public health.

  • Toxicologists make between $55,000 and $114,000 depending on their location and experience level.
  • Typically, toxicologists work in hospitals, at pharmaceutical companies, or for the government.
  • Most toxicology jobs require a master’s degree in biochemistry or a related subject.
  • Along with a great understanding of biochemistry, those interested in working in this field should develop strong skills in analyzing data and sharing their findings with a variety of stakeholders.

Biochemical Engineer

Biochemical engineers are responsible for creating, installing, and maintaining the equipment used to safely manufacture food and drugs. Some biochemical engineers work in fields related to creating packaging for food and medicine.

  • The average salary for this job is about $85,000 a year.
  • Although an undergraduate degree in biochemistry is sufficient for some entry-level jobs, most jobs require a master’s degree.
  • Biochemical engineers’ workplaces include universities, research laboratories, and chemical plants.

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers do things like conduct research to identify new treatments for diseases and other conditions, improve the quality of care that patients experience, and improve or invent medical equipment. Skills required for this job include great critical-thinking skills, an understanding of medical treatment and patient care as well as molecular biology, and the ability to analyze a large amount of information and data.

  • People in this field earn an average of about $90,000 a year.
  • Some jobs require a Ph.D., but almost all require at least a master’s degree.
  • Biomedical engineers work in university settings, in research institutes, for pharmaceutical companies, and at hospitals.

Medical Chemist

Medical chemists conduct experiments and research so they can better understand how certain substances impact humans and other living beings. Typically, medical chemists work in teams, and therefore, they need excellent communication and collaboration skills.

  • The typical medical chemist earns about $94,000 a year.
  • Progressing in this field requires a master’s degree or higher.
  • Typically, medical chemists work for the government, at private laboratories, in university settings, and for the pharmaceutical industry.

Food Scientist

Food scientists research how elements in food and drink interact with each other. They also study how heat and cold impact the chemical integrity of foods.

  • Food scientists typically earn around $130,000 a year.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required for entry-level jobs. Higher-level jobs require additional certifications or a master’s degree.
  • Usually, food scientists work for government agencies like the USDA or FDA. They also work for food processing companies in their factories and plants.

Physician Associate

Physician associates provide health care to patients in doctors’ offices, urgent care centers, community health centers, and hospitals. They work under the supervision of surgeons, specialists, and general physicians.

  • Some physician associates make up to $365,000 a year.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required along with two years of specialized graduate-level coursework. Most physician associates also hold certification from NCCPA, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). It’s also required that they obtain licensure from the state medical board where they live.
  • Most physician associates complete internships before seeking their first jobs.

Patent Examiner

Patent examiners are part of the team involved in developing new medications, vaccinations, and other chemical compounds. They are in charge of managing the patent application process and making sure that the application complies with all applicable laws and regulations at each step of the process.

  • Most patent examiners work in office settings, but some work directly in the laboratory.
  • The average wage for a patent examiner is about $95,000.
  • Typically, patent examiners have a biochemistry degree. People with an undergraduate science degree who then went to law school earn higher salaries and are very in demand.

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