Is becoming a biochemist right for me?
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How to become a Biochemist
Biochemists need a Ph.D. to work in independent research and development positions. Bachelor’s and master’s degree holders are qualified for some entry-level positions in biochemistry and biophysics.
Most Ph.D. holders in biochemistry and biophysics have bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry or a related field, such as biology, chemistry, physics, or engineering. Many schools have bachelor degree programs in biochemistry, but few schools have bachelor degree programs in biophysics.
Most bachelor degree programs include required laboratory coursework. Additional laboratory coursework is excellent preparation for graduate school or for getting an entry-level position in industry. Students also can gain valuable laboratory experience through internships with prospective employers such as pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers.
Ph.D. programs typically include two years of advanced coursework in topics such as toxicology, genetics, and proteomics (the study of proteins). Graduate students also spend a lot of time conducting laboratory research. It typically takes four to six years to earn a Doctoral Degree in Biochemistry or Biophysics.
Most biochemistry Ph.D. holders begin their careers in a temporary postdoctoral research position, which typically lasts two to three years. During their postdoctoral appointment, they work with experienced scientists as they continue to learn about their specialties or develop a broader understanding of related areas of research.
Postdoctoral positions frequently offer the opportunity to publish research findings. A solid record of published research is essential to get a permanent position doing basic research, especially for those seeking a permanent college or university faculty position.