Why A Degree in Biochemistry?
Biochemistry is a lab-based science that explores the chemical processes occurring within a living system; including specific chemical substances and chemical reactions and the internal chemical transfer within a specific system; particular focus is given to the role of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and specific nucleotides found in both RNA and DNA. As the field of biochemistry develops, research continues to explore how and why specific substances cause reactions that result in the functions observed in the cells of living systems.
Pursuing a degree in the field of biochemistry prepares graduates to pursue employment in a variety industries, including hospitals, university labs, food industries, law firms, sales/marketing companies, pharmaceutical laboratories and government organizations.
What Skills Will I Learn While Studying for A Biochemistry Degree?
While studying for a degree in Biochemistry, students will be exposed to, and prepared for, a number important field-related competencies, including:
- Analyzing various techniques, scientific approaches, and data to better understand how scientific knowledge is synthesized, how data is analyzed, and to determine the quality of data and/or results.
- Understanding and employing various methods of data analysis, including statistical analysis and graphing.
- Developing and carrying out experiments that employ a wide range of approaches to gather, interpret, and draw meaningful conclusions from results
- Learning and demonstrating "best practices" for experimental design, including quality control, lab safety, data collection, and keeping of records while displaying an understanding of conduct considered responsible for research.
- Describing various biochemical concepts in words; including providing descriptive interpretation and analysis of data, constructing and defending arguments based around conclusions drawn from collected data, and supporting conclusions and arguments with research-based literature.
- Developing and demonstrating ability and skill required to communicate with policy makers and broader audiences in both spoken and written language
How are Biochemistry Courses Taught?
Courses leading to a degree in Biochemistry span a large variety of topics, including macromolecules, biochemical reactions, metabolism, neurobiology, genetics, and enzyme structure and function. These courses are also taught in a variety of ways, including in the traditional classroom setting, the laboratory setting, and through courses that are offered online.
Many of the science-based courses offered in a biochemistry program require students to sit for the class as well as a corresponding laboratory requirement. The lab setting exposes students to the skills, techniques, and equipment required conduct proper research and experimentation in the professional setting.
Many institutions offering a degree in biochemistry also offer those enrolled in the program the opportunity to challenge certain courses online.
How Long Does It Take To Complete A Biochemistry Program?
Many schools offer bachelors, masters, and doctoral degree programs in Biochemistry.
A bachelor's degree in Biochemistry is typically able to be obtained in four years. An increasing number of schools are requiring an additional year of study specifically in the area of laboratory techniques, in this case the bachelor's degree in Biochemistry can be earned in 5 years.
A Biochemistry master's degree typically takes between two and three years, while earning a doctoral degree usually takes four to six years to earn. Most doctoral degree programs include two to three years of advanced study in areas such as genetics, stem cell research, bioethics, and bioorganic chemistry.
How do Online Degrees in Biochemistry Work?
Many schools offer a fully online graduate degree in biochemistry. Due to the amount of lab work required for an undergraduate degree in biochemistry many programs are held in the traditional class-based way or as a hybrid program with only some classes available online. This is not to say fully online degree programs in biochemistry do not exist, however, there are other online undergraduate degree programs in related fields like chemistry or biology and then students can pursue a concentration such as biochemistry fully online at the higher academic level.
What if I Have Questions about the Online Biochemistry Degree Format and Process?
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a great resource to use when searching for accredited online biochemistry degree programs. Once students discover an enticing biochemistry degree program, there are some questions to consider with the school directly. Some of these include:
- How are the courses taught? Are they fully online, traditional, or hybrid?
- Does the school offer financial aid packages?
- Is there twenty-four hour access to technical support?
- What course materials does the school provide?
- Does the school offer career counseling and/or provide work study, internship, and/or job placement?
What Will I Need to be Successful Studying Online?
Obtaining a degree online provides students with flexibility and pacing that a traditional degree program may not. Students can often take classes when they want to versus enrolling in a full-time degree program to be stringently completed in four to five years. Some online degree programs load all the class materials at the onset and students have a semester to complete the work on their own schedule. While obtaining a degree this way requires a high amount of effective time management, organization, and discipline, online degree programs are an excellent choice for those with families and full-time jobs, or for those who do not live in close proximity to a four-year college institution.
Biochemistry Online Degree Course Examples
Courses taught online in pursuit of a Biochemistry bachelor's degree include:
- Intro to Biochemistry
- Principles of Biochemistry
- Behavioral Science
- Organic Chemistry
- Cell Biology
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Animal Physiology
Tuition and Costs for an Online Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry
An online degree in biochemistry at the undergraduate level can cost approximately as little as $11,000 and as much as $53,000 annually.
What Kind of Jobs Can I Do With A Biochemistry Degree?
According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a degree in biochemistry earn an average annual salary of $91,190; with experience and advanced degrees, the average annual salary climbs to roughly $115,000.
Upon completion of a Biochemistry degree program, students are prepared to pursue employment in a number of well-compensated, competitive careers in a number of scientific fields, including:
- Research Scientist, Biotechnology, $79,939
- Pharmaceutical Consultant, $85, 312
- Biomedical Engineer, $63,560
- Molecular Biologist, $57,813
- Toxicologists, $85,000
- Pharmacologist, $97,315
See more from the Biochemical Society
What Are The Benefits of Having A Biochemistry Degree?
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that careers in the biochemistry field will grow 11% between 2018 and 2028, which is a higher growth rate than the average of all other jobs. In addition to growing job demand, a degree in Biochemistry offers a number of benefits, including:
- Having access to advancing technologies when carrying out research and scientific experiments; this may include fluorescent microscopes, cutting edge nanotechnologies, and the latest computer modeling software to aid in determining various dimensional structures of cells and molecules.
- Access to work in independent research-and-development positions, which is usually afforded only to those holding doctoral degrees in the field.
Earning a degree in biochemistry also affords the opportunity to seek employment in a wide range of areas, including research, grant writing, education, health care, scientific and technical writing, pharmaceuticals, intellectual property/patent law, and sales/marketing.
Graduates of Biochemistry programs often go on to careers in various public and private sector posts, including the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and at various private firms and environmental non-government organizations.
How Can I Get More Information on Biochemistry Degree Programs?
More information on Biochemistry programs is available at the following sites: