Clinical biochemists work in labs to research, diagnose and manage diseases. They need to have great critical thinking skills, be passionate about problem solving and above all else have a love for science. Does this sound like you? Then you should consider a career in clinical biochemistry.
The first step towards a career in clinical biochemistry is a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree will prepare you for entry-level positions in clinical biochemistry such as a laboratory technician or research assistant.
A master’s degree in biochemistry will be necessary for career advancement, allowing you to work as laboratory operations manager or a clinical lab scientist. A master’s degree is also necessary to teach post-secondary education.
A PhD isn’t required of clinical biochemists, but you will need to earn your PhD if you want to pursue independent research in the field.
Classes at the bachelor’s level cover mathematics, computer science, physics, biology and chemical sciences. As you study, classes will become more specialized covering topics such as toxicology, genetics, neurobiology and molecular biology. You will also be expected to complete laboratory hours, internships and possibly personal research.
Clinical biochemists look at the processes happening within an organism at a molecular level, studying the components of cells. They analyze organic samples (bodily fluids), looking at lipids, proteins and organelles to find anomalies. When an anomaly is found, clinical biochemists run tests to help patients diagnose and manage their diseases.
Typically, clinical biochemists work in hospitals, medical research facilities or pharmaceutical companies. Clinical biochemists work full-time, sometimes being required to work nights and weekends or have on-call hours.
Salary and Job Outlook
The average salary for biochemists was $82,150 in 2015 as reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This varies depending on the degree held and whether you work in a lab or in research. Employment of clinical biochemists is expected to grow by 8 percent over the next decade.
Want to learn more about a career in clinical biochemistry? Take our course “Careers in Clinical Biochemistry“