Career Definition of a Biochemical Engineer
Biochemical engineers are creators who draw on their scientific knowledge to make products, such as medicine, or to refine the ways that things like food are processed. Their work involves studying the natural chemical functions of organisms and then using what they observe to inform their research on how to combat specific issues related to how products are made. They may use their knowledge to alter the composition of a product or to develop a better method of production. Biochemical engineers may be involved with making things such as biofuels. They may also work on things such as environmentally friendly waste disposal methods.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Knowledge of production methods, analytical skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of scientific computer software, mathematical skills, knowledge of biology and chemistry|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$97,300|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||4% (engineers, all other)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Biochemical engineers are usually required to have a bachelor's degree. They must complete courses in subjects such as biology and chemistry in order to prepare for this type of work. They should also take courses in math and engineering. Biochemical engineers who wish to advance to management roles or lead research teams may be required to have a master's or doctoral degree.
Biochemical engineers need a wide range of skills that include the ability to process oral and written information effectively, since they function as part of a team and must also perform research and review data in their work. They also need to be able to think through issues and come up with different options to address specific problems. Since much of their job involves determining how to make or process goods, they need to be familiar with the production process. As part of their work they perform complex calculations, so they need strong mathematical skills. These engineers also need to be familiar with scientific computer software so that they can store and process research data effectively.
Career Outlook and Salary
Biochemical engineers are grouped with 'engineers, all other' by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2016, the BLS reported an annual median salary of $97,300 for these scientific engineering professionals. While the annual salary is considerably higher than the national median salary of $37,040 for all occupations, the outlook for this group of engineers is lower than the 7% growth rate that the BLS projects as an average for all occupations from 2014 to 2024. 'Engineers, all other' are expected to see a job growth rate of 4% during the same ten-year period.
Those considering a career as a biochemical engineer may also be interested in biomedical engineering, which has a focus on producing medical products. Other related career options include being a food scientist, who specializes in food production methods, or an agricultural research scientist to improve farming methods.