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Occupation Details

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Biochemist

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, you may need to complete three - four years of college and work for several years in the career area to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€28k > 60
Biochemist
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€28 - 60
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
CPL / Morgan Mc Kinley

Last Updated: February, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

While the supply of graduates appears to be sufficient to meet the annual recruitment requirement (5,500 graduates in 2017), the demand is arising for roles for those with a high level of experience and/or in niche areas. The demand is for a small number of people given the relatively small size of this occupation (approx. 1% of total employment) and in the areas associated with pharmaceuticals, biopharma and food development.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

5%
Occupational Category

Scientists

Also included in this category:

Analytical chemists; industrial chemists; biomedical scientists; forensic scientists; microbiologists; geologists; medical physicists; meteorologists.

Number Employed:

17,900

Part time workers: 6%
Male / Female: 60 / 40%
Non-Nationals: 21%
With Third Level: 95%
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At a Glance... header image

Studies the chemistry of animals and plants and analyses their cells and tissues.


Videos & Interviews header image

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Go..Biochemist & Biophysicist - from: YouTube Video


The Work header image

Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes in organisms. Biochemists may look into changes that occur in the body due to disease, examine how hormones work, or how plants convert sunlight into chemical energy. They carry out research and development of products to solve problems in industry, agriculture and medicine.  
 
At the start of pharmaceutical research projects, biochemists usually investigate how a disease develops and spreads. The results help to decide what biological properties and chemical structure a drug should have, and what form it should take, for example, as a tablet or lotion.  
 
They analyse and interpret data related to patient samples, this assists with the investigation diagnosis and treatment of diseases. They are responsible for the evaluation and quality assessment of diagnostic tests.  
 
Work on a new drug involves routine testing, often using laboratory animals. The biochemist must test the drug's strength and look for possible side effects. In their research, biochemists may work with chemists, biologists, pharmacists and medical doctors.  
 
Clinical biochemists in the health service analyse body tissues and fluids to help with routine diagnosis, and help to monitor treatment. Biochemists test body fluids like blood to detect changes in the body caused by disease.  
 
Biochemists use computers for data handling and routine analysis. Sophisticated equipment can carry out thousands of tests per hour. Other tests, for example to find a drug taken in an overdose, may be intricate and take several days of manual testing.  
 
Biochemists in the agrochemical industry help develop products like insecticides and fertilisers.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Study physical principles of living cells or organisms and their electrical or mechanical energy, applying methods and knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, or biology.

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Share research findings by writing scientific articles or by making presentations at scientific conferences.

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Prepare reports or recommendations, based upon research outcomes.

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Teach or advise undergraduate or graduate students or supervise their research.

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Manage laboratory teams or monitor the quality of a team's work.

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Isolate, analyze, or synthesize vitamins, hormones, allergens, minerals, or enzymes and determine their effects on body functions.

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Determine the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules.

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Develop new methods to study the mechanisms of biological processes.

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Study the mutations in organisms that lead to cancer or other diseases.

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Study the chemistry of living processes, such as cell development, breathing and digestion, or living energy changes, such as growth, aging, or death.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

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Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others: Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

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Training and Teaching Others: Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

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Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information: Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Chemistry: Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

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Biology: Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

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Physics: Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

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English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

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Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

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Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

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Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

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Instructing: Teaching others how to do something.

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Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a biochemist, you must be able to think logically. You will need a thorough and methodical approach to your work, a very high degree of accuracy and an enquiring mind. You must be able to plan and use practical experiments. You need good communication skills for working in a team and must also be able to work independently.


Entry Routesheader image

Biochemists typically have a degree in Biochemistry, or a related science subject with a substantial biochemical content.

Almost all of the Universities and Institutes of Technology offer certificate, diploma or degree courses leading to qualification as a biochemist. Universities offer biochemistry as an option in a B.Sc. degree. 

Note: From 2018, Health & Social Care Profressionals who provide services to the public are required to be registered CORU. A degree in which biochemistry was taken as a subject in the final examination is required in order to be eligible for registration as a Clinical Biochemist.

Postgraduate route:
 
A postgraduate qualification like a MSc or PhD is an advantage, especially when applying for research posts, because entry is very competitive.  
 
Some employers give graduates the opportunity to work towards a postgraduate qualification while they are in employment. It may be possible to work your way up from the position of laboratory technician. You would need to study part-time to do this.

Last Updated: October, 2017


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Biochemist - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Biochemist - from: GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Science Recruitment Ireland
Address: 40 Grand Canal Street Upper, Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 667 5008
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Organisation: Life Science Recruitment
Address: 12 Fitzwilliam Square Dublin 2.
Tel: (01) 685 4848
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Articles

Sarah Hudson - Chemistry Lecturer

Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Biological, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science
Earth & Environment
Biomedical Technologies & Medtech
Physics, Mathematics & Space Science

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