Biochemistists work in a broad range of areas, including medicine, agriculture, manufacturing and environmental services. While some positions in this field require only a Bachelor's degree, employees with a PhD earn substantially more over time, according to Brigham Young University. In addition to increased earning potential, an advanced degree in this field can also open doors to teaching and research positions.
A 2009 survey by the American Chemical Society found that the median salary for biochemists with a PhD was $100,000. Those with a Master's earned a median salary of $80,619, while biochemists with a Bachelor's degree earned a median wage of $66,252. Respondents with a PhD also reported a median bonus of $12,000 in 2009, while those with a Master's or Bachelor's degree reported median bonuses of $7,500 and $5,000, respectively.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that biochemists in research and development positions earned a mean salary of $43.66 per hour, or $90,810 per year as of May 2010. A PhD is required for this type of research work in biochemistry.
The University of Iowa estimates that graduates with a Bachelor's degree in biochemistry earn an average starting salary of $30,000. Those with a PhD in this field receive an average starting salary of $60,000.
According to Ohio State University, graduates with a Bachelor's degree in biochemistry earn starting salaries between $30,000 and $40,000, while those with an advanced degree average starting salaries from $45,000 to $65,000.
Salaries for all Biochemists
Biochemists of all levels of education earned a mean wage of $41.63 per hour, or $86,580 per year as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median wage for this field is $38.17 per hour, or $79,390. The lowest ten percent of earners receive $43,050 per year, while the top ten percent receive $142,420.
Salaries by State
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia offers the highest average wages for biochemists, with a mean salary of $105,830. In North Carolina, biochemists earn an average of $105,040, followed by $102,900 in Pennsylvania. Tennessee and Delaware round out the five states that pay the highest wages in this field.
- The University of Iowa: Undergraduate Admissions
- Ohio State University: What Is Biochemistry?
- Brigham Young University: Chemistry and Biochemistry
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages
- American Chemical Society; Salaries 2009; Michelle L. Peters; December 7, 2009