Difference Between Biologist & Biochemist

May 30, 2020

Comparing Biologists to Biochemists

Biologists and biochemists are scientists, and they both focus on the study of living things. The difference is that biologists focus on living things, such as trees or birds, while biochemists focus on the elements that form to make a living thing, such as cells. Check out the requirements and salary outcomes of these jobs below.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2020)** Job Outlook (2018-2028)*
Biologists Varies; Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral Degree $53,434 6% (for biological scientists)
Biochemists Doctoral Degree $60,865 6% (for biochemists and biophysicists)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com

Responsibilities of Biologists vs. Biochemists

Biologists and biochemists both spend time working in laboratories. Biologists may travel to gather samples and return to their lab to run tests, while biochemists typically perform all of their work at their office or laboratory. Since they perform scientific tests and use the results to inform their conclusions, it's important that they thoroughly document their research and results. Biologists may also travel to present their findings. Biochemists may perform their research for practical applications and use their work to identify effective treatments for medical conditions or things like natural fuel sources that can be derived from plants.

Biologists

Biologists are scientists who focus on the study of living things. Their focus is not limited to plants or animals; anything that is living can fall within their field of study. They can use their research to identify environmental problems. A bachelor's degree is required to become a biologist, although graduate studies will increase job prospects and may be required for advancement. Fieldwork may be necessary in order to make observations about the organisms they're studying.

Job responsibilities of a biologist include:

  • Determining the focus of their research
  • Collecting samples of relevant materials related to their study
  • Testing samples
  • Collaborating with other biologists on research
  • Analyzing data and writing reports about their findings
  • Presenting information about their research to colleagues

Biochemists

Biochemists must have a doctoral degree to prepare for their career. Those who work in this field focus on scientific research related to things such as cells. Their focus is on the building blocks of organisms. It's common for biochemists to work in research or for academic institutions, although they may also be involved with manufacturing. Biochemists typically work standard daytime hours during the week.

Job responsibilities of a biochemist include:

  • Identifying research goals
  • Operating equipment used to test samples
  • Locating relevant samples related to data
  • Studying reports about research by other professionals in their field
  • Forming conclusions from the data they analyze
  • Using results to help produce things such as medicine

Related Careers

There are other scientific positions that involve studying living things or animal- and plant-based products. One option is to be a food scientist, since food scientists may work in laboratories where they perform research on food products. Agricultural scientists also perform some similar duties, since they test things like soil and animals to determine how to improve food production.

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