California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Biochemists and Biophysicists in Los Angeles County

May also be called: Research Scientists; Clinical Laboratory Scientists; Clinical Researchers; Enzymologists; Pharmaceutical Scientists; Research Chemists; Structural Biologists; Molecular Biologists; and Toxicologists

What Would I Do?

Biochemists and Biophysicists are scientists who seek to understand the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and how they relate to their environment. Some research the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth, and heredity. Others determine the effects of foods, drugs, serums, hormones, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.

Biochemists and Biophysicists work in laboratories, offices, or research and development facilities. They typically work alongside other scientists and technicians as part of a team. Most Biochemists and Biophysicists work a standard 40-hour week. Longer or irregular hours may be required due to research projects.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Biochemist or Biophysicist may appeal to those who enjoy analytical thinking, are eager to develop and promote new ideas and products, and who can attend to detail throughout a long project. This occupation may also interest those who have good oral and written communication skills, as well as the ability to work effectively either alone or as part of a team.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2021 for Biochemists and Biophysicists in California is $107,763 annually, or $51.81 hourly. The median wage for Biochemists and Biophysicists in Los Angeles County is $84,769 annually, or $40.75 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2021Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Los Angeles County$60,099$84,769$111,795
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2021 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Biochemists and Biophysicists typically receive benefit packages, including health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. Those who own their own biotechnology firm will need to pay for their own insurance and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

With the increased focus on biotechnology research and development in areas such as genetics, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals, continued new opportunities are expected for Biochemists and Biophysicists. However, during economic downturns, the number of job openings for this occupation may decline for periods of time.

How Do I Qualify?

A Ph.D. is usually necessary for independent and industrial research and development, as well as for advancement to administrative or teaching positions. In some cases, a master's degree with extensive laboratory research experience is sufficient to meet the needs of the employer.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. University placement offices, company recruiting events, professional society career fairs, and online job boards are also good places to look. Career associations sometimes offer job openings on their websites. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

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