Chemical Biology Jobs: Career Options and Requirements

Oct 04, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed have a career in chemical biology. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and prospects to find out if this is the career for you.

Some of the positions dealing with chemical biology include biochemical technician, pharmaceutical sales representative and biochemist. Education needed for these positions can range from an associate's to a doctoral degree.

Essential Information

Chemical biology jobs often fall in the categories of education, research and development or quality control. Positions may involve extensive laboratory time or significant interaction with the public. Most positions require at least an associate's degree in chemistry, biology or a related field. The following are examples of jobs available in these fields.

Required Education Associate's degree in chemistry or related field
Other Requirements Master's or doctoral degree for advanced positions
Projected Job Growth 6% from 2018-2028 for biochemists and biophysicists*
Median Salary (2018) $93,280 annually for biochemists and biophysicists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Biochemical Technicians

Career Information

Biochemical technicians assist biologists, chemists and other scientists on research projects and experiments. For example, technicians in the pharmaceutical industry may analyze the effects of certain chemical compounds on living tissue. They may also work in other fields like environmental science, where they may evaluate data to measure the effect of pollution on the ecosystem.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biological technicians earn a median annual salary of $44,500, as of May 2018. Employment is expected to increase faster than average by 7% through 2028.

Education Requirements

Biochemical technicians typically have attained at least an associate's degree in chemistry, biology or a related field. Associate's degree programs generally last two years and include fundamental courses in the life sciences, math and statistics, followed by courses in biotechnology and cellular biology. Additionally, most programs require at least one laboratory course allowing students to become familiarized and use equipment such as burners and sophisticated microscopes in analyzing chemical compounds and other substances.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives

Career Information

Pharmaceutical sales representatives visit doctors' offices and other health care sites to promote and sell a specific pharmaceutical drug. They often drop off drug samples and demonstrate their use to an office's medical staff and physicians. Sales representatives generally receive on-the-job training on their company's products and selling techniques. These professionals may also spend significant time on the phone, providing customers with information such as research reports and product lead times.

The BLS reported in May 2018 that sales representatives working in the industry of drugs and druggists' sundries merchant wholesalers earned a mean wage of $83,300 per year. The field of wholesale and manufacturing sales in general is projected to experience 4% growth during the 2018-2028 decade.

Education Requirements

According to a November 2016 job search conducted on, employers may prefer pharmaceutical sales representatives who have completed a bachelor's degree program in a life science field. Introductory courses in these programs generally include fundamental training on chemical reactions and biological processes, such as oxidation and digestion. Laboratory courses in which students analyze compounds and formulas are also part of these programs. Aspiring sales representatives may also consider supplementing their life science education with classes in business administration and marketing.


Career Information

Using their knowledge of organic chemistry and biological processes, biochemists seek to gain a better understanding of how chemical processes, such as metabolism, affect organisms. Biochemists may plan and conduct research studies for private companies and organizations. They may also review other experiments, examining results and approving research processes. For example, biochemists may analyze different nutrients in soil to determine what best helps corn, wheat or other agricultural products to grow.

As of May 2018, biochemists and biophysicists earned a median annual salary of $82,150, according to the BLS. Employment is expected to grow by 6% from 2018 to 2028.

Education Requirements

While some employers may hire job seekers who hold a bachelor's degree in biochemistry or a related field, others may prefer applicants with a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biochemistry or a related field. Students in these programs attain specialized knowledge on cell biology, biometrics or biotechnology. Aside from coursework, students may have the option of writing a thesis or dissertation on a biochemical issue, such as genetic manipulation. Master's degree programs generally last 1-2 years while Ph.D. programs may take 3-4 years to complete.

Each of these three positions requires individuals to have solid knowledge of chemistry and other scientific fields. Job growth is projected to remain at an average rate through 2028. The annual salary depends on the position acquired, as salaries range from $44,500 to $93,280.

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