What does a biochemist do
Biochemist - job description, studies, training, salary and career prospects
Are you interested in the natural sciences and can't imagine life without a microscope? Then the profession of biochemist is probably exactly the right field for you.
Biochemists study biological processes and chemical processes in cells at the molecular level. For example, they carry out investigations into the synthesis of cell components and cell structures, research the effects of different toxins and / or examine metabolic processes in organisms and organs.
These experts in the construction of organic existence work in different areas and do, for example, important research work for cancer research. Basic experimental research is an important field of activity.
Biochemists research different interrelationships and derive different application possibilities for pharmaceutical, medical and chemical fields of application from the research results. Research in the field of biochemistry is an important prerequisite for practical applications in numerous areas such as genetic engineering.
Biochemistry is divided into different subject areas, including bionics and genetic engineering, for example. The areas of application for trained biochemists are correspondingly diverse.
After completing your studies, you can work in research institutions, universities, medical laboratories or university clinics. You will find further fields of activity in the pharmaceutical, chemical or biotechnological industries as well as in environmental agencies and in the field of food hygiene and food monitoring.
Video about studying and working as a biochemist
Salary as a biochemist
Your academic degree is an important criterion for the level of your income. With a master’s degree or even a doctorate, you will usually earn significantly better. In addition, other criteria are relevant, for example the industry, the location of the employer and the size of the company.
With a master’s degree, you can expect a starting salary of between EUR 2,500 and EUR 3,000 gross. If you have a doctorate, the average starting salary is around 3,300 euros. In the research area, gross incomes averaged 3,000 euros and are therefore somewhat lower than in industry.
Another aspect with regard to the level of income is your work experience. On average, with appropriate professional experience, you can expect an average gross salary of 4,500 to 5,500 euros. If you are aiming for a management position, your salary may even increase to a peak of 8,800 euros.
Studies and training as a biochemist
The standard period of study for the bachelor’s degree is six semesters, and you can usually plan four more semesters for the subsequent master’s degree.
The focus may vary depending on the university and you can specialize in certain areas during the course of your studies. Possible courses of study include chemistry and biochemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology, biological chemistry and biochemistry and cell biology.
The contents of the course include the subjects of biochemistry, general and inorganic chemistry, microbiology and developmental biology. Each university has its own focus and offers different options for deepening specific subject areas such as organic and inorganic chemistry, molecular biology, medical biochemistry or biophysical chemistry.
You attend bioinformatics seminars and courses in genetics and physical chemistry. In addition to attending seminars and lectures, many universities also have practical exercises and / or practical phases to deepen certain topics.
Alternatively, you can study chemistry or biology instead of biochemistry. Here you should definitely focus on the area of biochemistry. It is advisable to specialize by taking a compulsory elective and / or to focus the thesis on biochemistry.
Properties and requirements for biochemistry
If you want to work as a biochemist, you need at least a bachelor's degree. However, many employers expect at least a master’s degree and in some areas even a doctorate is required.
Depending on the area of activity, you will also need a certificate of competence in accordance with the Medicines Act and / or Plant Protection Ordinance for the work. If you want to study, you need a subject-related or general university entrance qualification as a prerequisite.
Since some universities are very popular, you sometimes have to meet your own admission requirements (NC, etc.). Good grades in key subjects such as chemistry, biology, and math are also relevant.
An understanding of the natural sciences is an important prerequisite for the profession of biochemist. In addition, you should have good IT and English skills, analytical skills, the ability to work in a team and patience. The ability to think abstractly and a disciplined way of working are also important.
Application as a biochemist
When looking for your dream job, the right application is an important factor. The mandatory application documents include a cover letter, curriculum vitae and copies of certificates. In the application letter you convince with the description of your knowledge and skills.
Find out about the company in advance so that you can tailor the letter to this information. This way you can show your interest in the job and convince the employer that you are perfectly suited for the position.
The tabular curriculum vitae provides a brief insight into your previous career. There you will list important information about your school career and provide other relevant information.
This includes, for example, completed internships or interesting hobbies. In addition, you attach copies of the current certificates as well as certificates and evidence of vacation jobs, secondary employment, internships and / or attended seminars.
Tips and templates for preparing applications!
Trends and career prospects for the job description
After studying biochemistry, you have a number of interesting fields of activity open to you. The prospects in this profession are consistently positive, because many universities, pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies and other branches of the economy are looking for well-trained specialists. In all areas you benefit from attractive job offers and good income opportunities.
Most employers expect at least a master’s degree. You can specialize in a certain area and, for example, acquire a master's degree in microbiology or cell and molecular biology.
Renowned institutes such as the Max Planck Institute are popular employers for trained biochemists. Mostly, a career in academic research that requires a doctorate is sought. With a doctorate you have numerous career opportunities and you also benefit from a higher income.
There are other career opportunities in the industrial sector. Here you can advance to the position of project manager with the appropriate professional experience. As a biochemist, you can also start your own business and found your own company. One possibility is to work independently as an environmental verifier.
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