Biochemists study the chemical processes that occur in living things like bacteria, plants and animals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for biochemists and biophysicists will increase by 37 percent from 2008 through 2018, creating 8,700 new jobs. How much a biochemist earns depends largely upon the industry in which she works, and where she lives in the United States.
The overall average hourly wage for biochemists in the United States was $41.63, with annual salaries averaging $86,580 as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Biochemists were the highest-paid of all biological scientists, earning 20 percent more than the second-highest paid, microbiologists. At the 10th percentile, salaries for biochemists were $20.70 per hour and $43,050 per year. The 90th percentile wages for biochemists was $68.47 per hour and $142,420 per year.
Around 11,260 of the nation's biochemists and biophysicists work for companies that provide scientific research and development services, making this the largest field for biochemists as of May 2010, explains the BLS. Those working for scientific research and development services made an average of $43.66 per hour and $90,810 per year. Wages in the industry were 4 percent above the national average rate of pay for biochemists.
Physicians' offices were the highest-paying employer of biochemists with wages of $95.68 per hour and $199,020 per year as of May 2010, reports the BLS. The second-largest industry for biochemistry jobs, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing companies, paid biochemists an average of $42.59 per hour and $88,590 per year. Biochemists employed at colleges and universities earned an average of $30.04 per hour and $62,480 per year, while those working for medical laboratories averaged $37.18 per hour and $77,340 per year.
Biochemists working in Georgia enjoyed the highest salaries of all those in the United States, at an average of $50.88 per hour and $105,830 per year as of May 2010, according to the BLS. Louisiana ranked as the lowest-paying state for biochemists, with wages that averaged $24.78 per hour and $51,550 per year. Atlanta, Sandy Springs and Marietta, Georgia, served as the highest-paying city for biochemists, at an average of $57.72 per hour and $120,060 per year. Kansas City in Missouri and Kansas was the lowest-paying city for biochemists, with wages of $24.07 per hour and $50,060 per year.