Inside Biochemist Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Stress Is Handled Easily Be Everyone Rather Than With Tension In...
The relaxed mood most people are in during days where there is a large amount of work to be done. It most likely stems from my inexperience in certain analytical techniques compared to my coworkers. I have found that although there is much work to be done when new analysis systems come in, keeping your head down and pushing through the work, you and your team can complete most large tasks in the amount of time that is appropriate to your experience." (Biochemical Analysis Lab Technician; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Biochemistry at CSUSB in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Several Uses For Biochemistry...
People would be surprised at all the things biochemistry research is used for. There is research into medical technology as well as food safety, processing evidence from crime scenes or testing ecological samples." (Research Assistant; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Biology at University Of Missouri - Kansas City in Missouri; completed Master degree in 2012

"Creativity Meets Freedom...
I'm surprised at the degree of freedom science actually provides. I'm allowed to design methodologies, tune instruments, collaborate with other creative people. This is a career where freedom meets creativity." (Scientist; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied BS In Biochemistry, MS In Pharmacy at FSU And UT At Austin in Florida; completed Master degree in 2008

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Assistant Research Scientist: "The best part of my career is that the academic research world can be very laid back and relaxed. Many people work on a schedule that suits them best, which means people work late nights and weekends fairly often to complete their necessary experiments. I am able to attend graduate school classes while working. I am lucky in that I am in an environment where everyone is supportive of the fact that I am not staying in research. The worst part of my career is that more often than not, academic researchers are not supportive of those looking to get into other fields. Also, there are just as many labs who are not as laid back and relaxed as that one I am working in. Many people get overworked or burned out too early in their career." (2011)

Research Scientist: "The best part of the job is the travel. I get to go to a lot of exciting places to do my research and attend conferences, including Antarctica, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Iceland. Another great part is the independence. Nobody tells me what to do each day. I know my responsibilities and can do them however I see fit (as long as my job gets done). The worst part is that it's a lot of work and can be very stressful. I have a lot of responsibilities, and I frequently work long hours and on weekends." (2009)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Work In School Labs Makes Job Hunting Much Easier...
Start trying to work in a lab and your university with a professor as soon as possible so as to have good, academic sources to include in your resume." (Biochemical Analysis Lab Technician; 2014)

"Record Keeping Is Vital...
To be successful, you have to be meticulous about sample processing and keep excellent records. Keeping a good lab notebook will ensure you don't make mistakes in lab." (Research Assistant; 2014)

"Lab Trumps Textbook...
If you want to be a scientist, you should go out of your way to take on research projects during undergraduate. This will give you a more realistic feel for how a lab works than any type of text ever could. Take on many different style labs in small doses and feel for what interests you." (Scientist; 2013)

"Get Experience Then A Doctorate...
If you know you want to be involved with academic research, you will need to attend graduate school for a Ph.D. Before applying for Ph.D programs, make sure you have full-time experience working in a lab. If you find yourself interested in careers other than benchwork, find a mentor, internship, or boss that is willing to work with you to explore other career options. Find a position with a lab or research group that seems to fit your ideals of what you want out of a job." (Assistant Research Scientist; 2011)

"Consider Small Colleges Strong In Science...
Do well in your science and math courses, so that your grades allow you to get into a college with a strong science program. Apply to small colleges with strong science programs. You will get the attention you need from your professors to learn how to write well, present well, and do research that is not possible at a large university. It is just as important to find out what you don't like as what you do like. Find opportunities to work on various research projects to find out what you really enjoy." (Research Scientist; 2009)