Biochemistry is the study of chemistry in living organisms. Biochemists conduct research into such areas as the development of new medicines, solving environmental problems and helping farmers grow more nutritious food. Although some students go on to receive advanced biochemistry degrees to work as research scientists, others will apply their biochemistry degree for careers such as teaching, medicine, marketing for pharmaceutical companies, editing science texts and more. This impacts average biochemistry degree salary.
The average starting salary for people with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry is $45,000; while the average starting salary for those with a master’s degree is $60,000. That figure rises to $90,000 for Ph.Ds, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Winter 2011 Salary Survey.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2011, the mean annual wage for biochemists was $87,640.
The University of Arizona Career Center provides some salary information for those with biochemistry degrees working in certain other fields. A sampling of annual salary ranges includes science or medical writer, $20,000 to $43,260; biological lab technician, $24,900 to $39,000; forensic-science technician, $32,900 to $51,600; secondary-school science teacher, $35,000 to $52,000; and coordinator of research grants $36,143 to $43,271.
Universities and colleges employ the most biochemists after scientific research services, and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing companies, the BLS shows. (Reference 4, 3rd box). According to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, assistant professors earn approximately $65,000 annually, associate professors approximately $75,000 and full professors approximately $90,000. (Reference 5, 3rd section)
The bureau also reports that top-paying states for biochemists in 2011 were New Hampshire, with mean annual wages of $129,640; followed by New Jersey's $112,670; Pennsylvania's $108,860; Delaware's $93,070; and $92,680 in Massachusetts.
Although each occupation a biochemistry degree holder might work for has its own employment outlook, the statistics bureau predicts the employment of biochemists will increase 31 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. But as biochemists are in a small field, the growth will create only 7,700 new jobs over that time. The growth will be due to the demand for new medicines and medical procedures, cleaner energy, better crop yields and effective ways of protecting the environment.