Career Options for Biochemistry Majors

Degree programs in biochemistry typically cover math, chemistry and molecular biology. Find out about the requirements of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary information for biochemistry graduates.

Essential Information

Biochemistry majors may find jobs with pharmaceutical companies, government agencies or health organizations. Students majoring in biochemistry may take classes in mathematics, chemistry and molecular biology to prepare for a variety of positions, including research assistant, clinical lab technologist and pharmaceutical sales rep.

Job OptionsPharmaceutical Sales RepClinical Lab TechnologistResearch Assistant
Required EducationBachelor'sBachelor'sBachelor's
Other RequirementsEmployer/manufacturer training Licensure or registration in some statesNone
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)10% (for all wholesale and manufacturing sales reps that sell technical and scientific products) 14%no job outlook data given*
Median Salary$75,140 (for all wholesale and manufacturing sales reps who sell technical and scientific products, as of 2014) $59,430 (as of 2014)$37,433 (as of 2015)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Biochemistry Career Options

Students who graduate with a degree in biochemistry may have a choice of science-related careers. Biochemists may find work not only in research facilities and laboratories, but also in private industry, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms and government agencies. A bachelor's degree in biochemistry may also be used to meet the entry requirements for medical, dental, veterinary, optometry or other professional schools.

An undergraduate biochemistry degree is also a good foundation for graduate study in any of the biological sciences. A master's or doctoral degree in the field may lead to advanced research opportunities or teaching at the college or university level.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Pharmaceutical sales representatives combine their knowledge of medical drugs and treatments with their interpersonal skills to generate sales for pharmaceutical companies. Sales representatives typically are in charge of coordinating meetings with doctors and medical staff. These professionals travel to hospitals, health care facilities and pharmacies to present a product or treatment. Sales representatives generally have acquired product knowledge through employer or manufacturer-sponsored training courses.

The BLS reports that sales representatives of technical and scientific products, such as those within the pharmaceutical industry, earned a median annual salary of $75,140 as of May 2014. A 10% increase in employment for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives who sell technical and scientific products is projected for the 2012-2022 decade.

Clinical Laboratory Technologist

Clinical laboratory technologists use their backgrounds in biochemistry to conduct experiments on bacteria, viruses and microorganisms. Technologists may perform tests on levels of compounds in human blood, monitor growth of bacteria or examine the effects of drugs on viruses. Depending on the laboratory environment they are in, these professionals may be involved in a broad range of studies or specialize in a specific field, such as bacteriology or virology. Clinical laboratory technologists may find employment in government health agencies, drug manufacturing companies or health care facilities.

Medical and clinical laboratory technologists earned a median annual salary of $59,430 as of May 2014, states the BLS. Jobs in this industry are expected to increase by 14% from 2012 to 2022.

Research Assistant

Another option for biochemistry majors is a career as a research assistant, working in government or private laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals or facilities connected to the growing field of biotechnology. Though jobs involving a high level of research will require an advanced degree, there are still many jobs at the assistant or technician level open to those with undergraduate degrees. reports that clinical research assistants earned a median annual salary of $37,433 as of May 2015. The BLS does not provide employment outlook data for research assistants.

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