Biochemists analyze the chemical processes that work in living things and that keep them alive. These scientists study various processes, including metabolism and reproduction. Professionals in this area often work in the field of biotechnology, which helps the fields of medicine and agriculture. Becoming a biochemist requires a lot of effort and several years of formal education and training; however, with effort and dedication you can become one, even if you did not plan a career in biochemistry in high school.
Part 1 of 4: Preparing for a Career in Biochemistry in High School
Step 1. Get a good foundation in science
In high school, you should take courses in all the sciences you can, especially the natural and physical sciences (such as Biology and Chemistry). These courses will be the foundation of your future professional learning and will prepare you to begin your path to your Biochemistry degree once you begin learning at the university level.
- At that time, all fields related to science will be useful.
- Be sure to take courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Zoology, Microbiology, Organic Chemistry, and any other science-related courses you can take.
- Take Advanced Placement courses when possible, as they will be more rigorous and you will learn more about them.
Step 2. Learn math
As a biochemist, you will need to have a basic understanding of mathematics and how mathematical principles develop in the natural world. Knowledge of mathematics will be especially useful when studying certain concepts in chemistry, such as electrochemistry, entropy, chemical potential, etc.
Focus on math courses like Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus
Step 3. Learn to communicate effectively both orally and in writing
Biochemists need to communicate effectively with their coworkers and ensure that their research is organized and can be easily understood by their colleagues. Poor communication skills could lead to potential problems with research experiments and with the way results are recorded.
Take your English classes seriously in order to improve your written communication skills. You could also take a drama or public speaking class to help you become a better public speaker and this will help you in your career as a biochemist when you have to present your work to others
Step 4. Review possible college programs
When you are in high school, you should start thinking about which college you want to attend. This means that you should look for universities that you could apply to that have reputable science programs and offer courses in biochemistry and other sciences that you will need to take.
Apply to multiple colleges to increase your chance of being accepted into a program that interests you
Part 2 of 4: Earning Your Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry
Step 1. Choose your specialty
Sometimes you can get your degree in Biochemistry; however, not all 4-year colleges and universities offer these specialized degrees. Take advanced coursework beyond the bare minimum necessary to earn your degree and major. You will be doing yourself a great favor if you go ahead and learn things that in the end you will have to know sooner rather than later.
- If your university does not offer a degree in Biochemistry, aim for one in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.
- Be sure to take classes like General Chemistry, General Physics, Introduction to Biology, Introduction to Environmental Science, Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Organic Chemistry.
Step 2. Apply to be a lab assistant
Much of the work that you will do as a biochemist will involve doing some kind of research in a laboratory, therefore a good idea is to get some experience early on if possible. Find out if your college allows college students to work as lab assistants.
Being a lab assistant will look great on your resume and will benefit you when you apply to graduate programs
Step 3. Conduct outside research
Doing research early is critical in order to ensure job satisfaction, as research is a central component of being a biochemist. Additionally, research experience will greatly increase your chances of being accepted into graduate schools.
Search for leading Biochemistry professors and express your professional interest and desire to do research. It's helpful to review your professors' resume and research interests before speaking with them. Ask them if they have any opportunities available for you to work with them
Step 4. Get more experience in the field
As you take science courses and work towards your undergraduate degree, you will also need to gain experience in the field of biochemistry. One of the best ways to do this is to apply for summer internships, student work-study programs in the Science Department, or any other type of work that allows you to gain experience to include on your resume.
Part 3 of 4: Advance Your Education as a Biochemist
Step 1. Apply to graduate school
Review the admission criteria of the schools you are interested in applying to. Make sure you get good letters of recommendation - those from senior professors and department heads carry more weight than those from research assistants or temporary professors.
You may need to take the Graduate Record Examination or GRE, which is a general or course-specific exam, in order to apply for certain graduate programs. Make sure you find out well in advance what the program you want requires so that you have time to study for the exam, register and take it so that your results are ready before your application deadline. postgraduate
Step 2. Get a master's degree
A master's degree in Biochemistry includes time in the classroom, field work, laboratory research, and the presentation of a thesis. There will be plenty of time for lab work to help you prepare for your future career as a biochemist.
A master's degree usually takes two more years after earning a bachelor's degree
Step 3. Keep getting work experience
While working on your undergraduate degree, it is important that you continue to work in the field of biochemistry in a way that improves your chances of landing a job when you graduate.
Try to get an internship at a well-known prestigious company that hires biochemists or a job in a biochemistry research lab
Step 4. Consider getting a Ph. D
You can get many entry-level jobs as a biochemist without needing a Ph. D. However, if you want to continue teaching at the university level or do independent research on your own, you will need to consider earning a Ph. D. in your field.
PhDs typically take four to six years after a master's degree and require a lot of time and dedication. During a PhD program, you will spend many hours in the lab and you may be asked to teach some undergraduate classes
Step 5. Apply for postdoctoral research positions
Postdoctoral positions are an excellent way for biochemists to continue their training and research without committing to a long-term project or job. These jobs can offer opportunities to publish the results of your research and gain more experience in the field.
Generally, you will need to have published several studies to find a permanent job in the field of research in laboratory settings
Part 4 of 4: Finding a Job as a Biochemist
Step 1. Apply for a job as a lab technician
Many biochemists get lab jobs, especially those who only have a bachelor's degree in the field. Laboratory technicians assist with investigations in the laboratory; however, they are under the supervision of the most qualified scientist or researcher.
In order to find these jobs, you can search various job posting websites
Step 2. Get a job at a government agency
Many government agencies want to hire biochemists for a variety of reasons, including water regulation, food and drug regulation, and because of other similar things that the government is in charge of.
There are many government agencies that offer employment opportunities, for example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA, the National Science Foundation. Science) or NSF or the National Institutes of Health or NIH
Step 3. Apply for a teaching position
Another option for a job as a biochemist is to go back to college as a professor. For these types of positions, you will generally have to apply through the same university.
- In order to teach at the university level, you will need at least a master's degree in this or a related field.
- You will be able to teach a new generation of biochemists the skills they will need in the field.
- You can review teacher job openings directly through universities or on websites where higher education positions are frequently posted.
- Most of the time a PhD is needed to do independent research or advanced applied research or product development work. This title is generally required for management positions.
- Biological scientists must have the discipline and patience to carry out long research projects. They must be able to work effectively as part of a team or independently.
- Graduates with a bachelor's or master's degree can work as professors or research technicians. Sometimes applied research or product development jobs are available for graduates at this level.