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How to Become a Biochemist or Biophysicist

EXPECTED WAGE:
$88,000
Unemployment:
3%
Education:
Doctoral degree

In order to work in development and research positions, biophysicists and biochemists are required to hold a Ph.D. The majority of Ph.D. holders initiate their careers in temporary postdoctoral research positions. Master's degree and bachelor degree holders are often prerequisites for entry-level positions in biophysics and biochemistry.

Education & Training

Commonly, Ph.D. holders in biophysics and biochemistry have bachelor's degrees in related fields such as engineering, biology, physics or engineering. High school students can take courses in physical and natural sciences in order to better prepare themselves for college.

Additional beneficial courses include: computer science, mathematics and physics. Due to the intricate data analysis component of this career, computer science and mathematics classes are an integral part of the equation.

Laboratory coursework is a required element for most bachelor's degrees. Preparing for graduate school can be obtained by acquiring additional laboratory courses. Experience may be earned via entry-level industry positions and by working with university laboratories. Internships and meeting with prospective employers including medicine and pharmaceutical manufacturers' is common practice.

Advanced coursework is required for those who wish to obtain their Ph.D. Topics including the study of proteins or proteomics, genetics and toxicology are important. Graduate students will spend copious amounts of time in the lab conducting research. Master's level studies are considered to be beneficial preparation for those who wish to secure hands-on lab work. Planning research projects and completing them correctly is part of the additional training that Ph.D. level students partake in.

Training

The majority of biophysics Ph.D. and biochemistry holders initiate their careers in positions of postdoctoral research. During these appointments, work is conducted with experienced scientists. This helps to a broader understanding to develop within related research areas.

The opportunity to publish research conclusions is presented frequently to postdoctoral positions. In order to obtain a permanent research position, a record of published research is necessary; particularly for those who wish to secure a faculty position within a college or university.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Analytical Skills: Biophysicists and biochemists are required to conduct scientific analyses and experiments with precision and accuracy.

Communication Skills: Due to the repetitive tasks involving writing and publishing research papers and reporting on their findings, biophysicists and biochemists have to effectively communicate with family members.

Critical-thinking Skills: Biophysicists and biochemists conduct sound judgment and reasoning to draw conclusions from experimental results.

Interpersonal Skills: Research team work is a regular component as is working with others regularly to achieve a common objective. Biophysicists and biochemists have to have the capacity to motivate team members and serve as team leaders.

Math Skills: Biophysicists and biochemists commonly rely on complex formulas and equations to complete their work. They require broad mathematical knowledge of statistics, calculus and mathematics.

Perseverance: Research needs to be thorough in order to adequately find solutions. Substantial trial and error is a common part of their work and biophysicists and biochemists need to avoid becoming discouraged.

Problem-solving Skills: Scientific analysis and regular experiments are conducted to discover solutions to scientific issues.

How To Advance

Certain individuals move on to become natural science managers. This equates to spending much of their careers preparing schedules, budgets and spending time completing a variety of administrative tasks.