Biochemists and Biophysicists
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Study the chemical composition or physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, serums, hormones, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
Titles for this career often contain these words
About 51% of biological scientists have a graduate-level education, and 100% have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by biological scientists
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Context: workers with graduate degrees
More biological scientists have graduate degrees than 92% of other careeers.
Workforce size
Biochemists and biophysicists, with 30,400 workers, form a smaller workforce than 65% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for biochemists and biophysicists are expected to grow by 6%, and should have about 3,100 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Biochemists and biophysicists are less likely to be automated than 84% of other careers.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for biochemists and biophysicists compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most biochemists and biophysicists earn.
Women account for 47% of biological scientists -- that's a larger percentage than 58% of other jobs.
Gender of biological scientists
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For biological scientists, the median men's salary was 3% more the median woman's salary.
About 19% of biological scientists are minority, and 18% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of biological scientists
Pacific Islander
American Indian
Context: Foreign-born workers (18%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Biochemists and Biophysicists per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Context: workers are union members
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of biochemists and biophysicists who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (72%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions (55%)
  • Consequence of Error (48%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (36%)
  • Time Pressure (36%)
Salary and diversity
What do biological scientists earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries at the specialty level (biochemists and biophysicists). This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for biochemists and biophysicists (BLS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers. This view of salaries is only available for all biological scientists.
Distribution: Salaries for biological scientists (ACS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
Biological Scientists: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $62KAll jobs' median $45K$62K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$50K$100K$150K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire biochemists and biophysicists.
Employers of Biological Scientists (ACS)
Private for-profit (41.2%)
Private not-for-profit (12.1%)
Local government (5.2%)
State government (20.6%)
Federal government (19.4%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.7%)
Self-employed not incorporated (0.8%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of biological scientists by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of biological scientists, which combines the 4 specialties for this career.
$62K$64K$50K$53K$75K$58K$75K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of biochemists and biophysicists by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty biochemists and biophysicists, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for biological scientists

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
Number employed

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Biological scientists and gender

With 47% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 58% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
Gender of Biological scientists
Men (53%)
Women (47%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is better for biological scientists, with the median salary for men only 3.0% higher than the median salary for women.

Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Biological scientists have one of the smaller inequity calculations, with the increase for men's median salary over women's median salary in this job lower than that for 88% of other jobs.


We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of biological scientists

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. The percentage of minority biological scientists falls in about the middle of all careers' percentages. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of biological scientists
White (80% )
Asian (12% )
Black (3% )
Multiracial (3% )
Other (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Hispanic (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
Distribution: Salaries for biological scientists by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

Distribution: Salaries for biological scientists by nativity
$59K$71K$0$50K$100K$150KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Biological scientists and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 7% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 67% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time biological scientists is shown following.

$26K$62K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by biochemists and biophysicists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), biochemists and biophysicists typically hold a doctoral or professional degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as biological scientists as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for biochemists and biophysicists

Most Ph.D. holders in biochemistry and biophysics have bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry or a related field, such as biology, chemistry, physics, or engineering. High school students can prepare for college by taking classes related to the natural and physical sciences, as well as math and computer science.

Students in bachelor’s degree programs in biochemistry or a related field typically take courses in math, physics, and computer science in addition to courses in the biological and chemical sciences. Courses in math and computer science are important for biochemists and biophysicists, who must be able to do complex data analysis. Most bachelor’s degree programs include required laboratory coursework. Additional laboratory coursework is excellent preparation for graduate school or for getting an entry-level position in industry. Students can gain valuable laboratory experience by working for a university’s laboratories. Occasionally, they can also gain such experience through internships with prospective employers, such as pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers.

Ph.D. programs typically include advanced coursework in topics such as toxicology, genetics, and proteomics (the study of proteins). Several graduate programs include courses in bioinformatics, which involves using computers to study and analyze large amounts of biological data. Graduate students also spend a lot of time conducting laboratory research. Study at the master’s level is generally considered good preparation for those interested in doing hands-on laboratory work. Ph.D.-level studies provide additional training in the planning and execution of research projects.

Education attained by biological scientists
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for biological scientists? Below we see the distribution of biological scientists salaries based on the education attained.

$54K$67K$68K$80K$0$50K$100K$150KBachelor's Degree (49%)Master's Degree (30%)Professional Degree (3%)Doctorate (18%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

College majors held by biological scientists

This table shows the college majors held by people working as biological scientists.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Percentage of Biological scientists with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
The link between degrees and careers

With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as biological scientists, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.

PhysiciansPostsecondary TeachersSpecialized ManagersElementary and Middle Sch...DentistsRegistered NursesSpecialized Physical Scie...Specialized Life Scientis...Medical and Clinical Labo...PharmacistsBiological ScientistsSurveyors, cartographers,...Conservation scientists a...Police OfficersFirst-Line Supervisors of...Project Management Specia...First-Line Supervisors of...Medical and Health Servic...Software DevelopersSpecialized Life, Physica...Secondary School TeachersFarmers, Ranchers, and Ot...Retail SalespersonsWholesale and Manufacturi...Chemists and materials sc...Environmental Scientists ...Management AnalystsacsOcc_565Geoscientists and Hydrolo...Lawyers, and judges, magi...VeterinariansBiologyNatural ResourcesManagementMicrobiologySpecialized Program inBiologyEcologyChemistryBiochemical SciencesEnvironmental ScienceZoologyMolecular BiologyAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majorsEach major's top ten jobs
What college major is your best entry?

Almost all of people working as biological scientists have at least a bachelor's degree. Each dot represents a college major leading to these jobs, with the dots to the right representing the majors sending the most of their grads into this career. The dots at the top are the majors who earn the most working in this career.

Darker colors have a larger percentage with graduate degreesOverall median salary0.0%5.0%10.0%15.0%20.0%25.0%30.0%35.0%Percentage with this major$40,000$50,000$60,000$70,000$80,000$90,000$100,000$110,000$120,000$130,000Median salary with this major
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for biological scientists

What jobs will most biological scientists hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of biological scientists reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Biological ScientistsSpecialized Physical ScientistsSpecialized Life ScientistsPostsecondary teachers and assistantsMedical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and TechniciansSpecialized Life, Physical, and Social Science TechniciansPhysicians and surgeonsEnvironmental scientists, geoscientists, and HydrologistsManagement AnalystsHealth Technologists and TechniciansSpecialized Teachers and InstructorsSpecialized ManagersRegistered nurses
Lateral job transitions for biological scientists

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 7 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as biological scientists as well as 1% of respondents after working as biological scientists. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

How many people have this job?
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
No degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Prior and next careers for biological scientists: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as biological scientists? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of biological scientists surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most biochemists and biophysicists? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as biochemists and biophysicists. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all biological scientists, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Biochemists and Biophysicists per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where biochemists and biophysicists earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for biological scientists compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for biological scientists.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all biological scientists, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Location-adjusted median salary for Biochemists and Biophysicists (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which biochemists and biophysicists earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?