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Occupational Profile

Biochemist

Biochemists study the chemical makeup and products of living matter, and the processes that occur in and between cells at the molecular level. They develop medical, agricultural, food science, pharmacological, industrial, environmental and other practical applications of biochemistry.

Also Known As

Biological Scientist, Research Scientist

Employment and Advancement

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Biochemists are employed by the following types of employers:

  • universities and medical schools
  • provincial and federal governments
  • biotechnology companies
  • pharmaceutical companies
  • other companies in the oil, cosmetics, food and beverage, and environmental industries.

PhD biochemists usually must have 2 years of post-doctoral training to qualify for positions in academic schools, industrial research laboratories or governmental agencies. Those who have B.Sc. or master's degrees usually work as technicians or laboratory assistants under the supervision of senior biochemists. Some biochemistry graduates work in sales for biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms (for more information, see the Technical Sales Representative occupational profile).

Biochemists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2112: Chemists. In Alberta, 77% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 1,900 Albertans are employed in the Chemists occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.1% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 21 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As biochemists form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for biochemists.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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