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Educational Pathway- Bachelor of Science (BSc) or Bachelor of Medical Science (BMSc) – 4 years- Master’s Degree in Biochemistry (MSc) – 2 years- PhD (optional) – 4 years


By Emily de la Rua

What is a Biochemist?Biochemists, or biological chemists, study chemical processes and chemical transformations in living organisms, and study DNA, proteins and cell parts

Can the earnings support my future lifestyle? The wages earned as a biochemist can support the lifestyle I am hoping to enjoy one day. I hope to one day have a husband and children, and our combined salaries will be able to support us and our children comfortably.

Grade 12 Courses Required for a Bachelor of Medical Science (BMSc) at Western University:- Grade 12U Biology- Grade 12U Calculus and Vectors- Grade 12U Chemistry- Grade 12U English- Grade 12U Physics (highly recommended)- 1 other U or M course (highest mark remaining)

Job Duties:- Prepare samples for testing- Observe and collect data from tests and experiments- Analyze tissue samples for signs of disease- Help develop and test new products, such as drugs or cosmetics- Professors teach university students and write research papers

EDUCATIONAL & LIVING COSTSEach Year = Approx. $20,000Total 10 Years = Approx. $200,000*Additional $4,000/year if living on campus- No Certifying/Licensing Fees

3 Specialized Skills Needed1. Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to find strengths and weaknesses of solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems- I have this skill, I use critical thinking in class as well as at home when solving problems2. Using Technology- I am good at using computers both for recreational use and academic use. I used this skill in Introduction to Information Technology in Business and Communications Technology class at school3. Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems- I have acquired this skill in school and use it to solve problems in math and science class

Salary- About $35,000 - $130,000+ per year depending on level of education- Average salary starting point = $55,000/year- Most biochemists earn $50,000 - $80,000/year; if you have a PhD you can earn over $100,000/year

Personal ReflectionAfter doing this research I am no longer interested in becoming a biochemist. Although there is good pay involved and great job satisfaction, there are not a lot of jobs available in the industry and the subject does not interest me as much. If I was interested, I think I would be suitable for the job because I am really interested in science, especially biology, I am good at science and math. I am also good at time-management, and solving problems. I am a fast learner, and I am able to sit still and indoors for long periods of time.

Working Conditions &Job Benefits/Bonuses- Biochemists work weekdays, 8 hours/day (40 hours/week)- Dental coverage, paid vacation time and sick leave, and pension fund contributions- Annual performance-related bonuses

Transferrable Skills- Practical skills – being able to use the equipment properly can be useful in other jobs- Numeracy – math and numeracyare important for making calculations in your work- IT skills – many jobs require the use of electronics such as computers to do your work- Self-management – it is important in all jobs to be able to work well independently

Work Environment- Most biochemists work in research labs of large companies- Some biochemists work for government agencies at the provincial and federal levels- Some work in universities as professors- Clinical biochemists work for hospitals and other medical organizations- Biochemists work indoors, in well-lit, well-ventilated, and comfortable labs or offices- Rarely, some biochemists do field research for short periods of time

3 Essential Skills Needed to be a Biochemist1. Problem-solving skills2. Mathematical skills3. Learning skills

Pros and Cons of the JobPros/Satisfactions:1. Helping others by testing diseases and chemicals2. Learning & making new discoveries everydayCons/Stresses:1. Lots of deadlines to meet2. You may be exposed to dangerous chemical or environmental hazards

Some Related Occupations . . . - clinical chemist- medicinal chemist- research chemist- theoretical chemist

Self-Employment & Career Advancement- Biochemists can become self-employed consultants who advise government or industry- Advancement in the private sector depends on successful publications in journals and becoming known as an expert in a sub-specialty

What I've Learned . . .I have learned through my research that there is some field work involved in biochemistry. I have also learned that there are not many jobs available in the industry. I learned that much of the job is centered around getting work done for strict deadlines

Future Trends in Biochemistry- Employment of biochemists and biophysicists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022 in Canada- This will result in about 5,400 new jobs over the 10 year period- Budgetary concerns may limit the ability for researchers to fund basic research


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