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Oswego Career Ladders - Biochemist, Agricultural Scientist, And Microbiologist

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Biochemist, Agricultural Scientist, And Microbiologist

Industry: Energy
Area: Bioenergy

The conversion of biomass into fuels and products still remains more difficult than the processes used for petroleum or coal. Universities, national laboratories, and industry are working to find solutions to the problems surrounding the production and use of biomass for energy and products. These efforts require biochemists, agricultural specialists and microbiologists. Biological scientists study living organisms and their relationship to their environment. Biochemists combine the study of biology with organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. Agricultural science is closely related to biological science, and agricultural scientists use the principles of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and other sciences to solve problems in agriculture. They often work with biological scientists on basic biological research and on applying to agriculture the advances in knowledge brought about by biotechnology. Microbiologists investigate the growth and characteristics of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Most microbiologists specialize in environmental, food, agricultural, or industrial microbiology.

Work Settings

Biochemists, Agricultural Scientists and Microbiologists work in modern research laboratories that stimulate creative work. Often they interact with scientists and specialists from other fields because their research is tied to another discipline. Colleges and universities employ the majority of these scientists.


Preparing for a career in this field requires earning a bachelors degree. A Ph.D. degree usually is necessary for independent research, industrial research, and college teaching. A master's degree is sufficient for some jobs in basic research, applied research or product development.

Job Outlook

Job opportunities are good for skilled scientists trained in this field.


In 2004, median annual earnings of biochemists were $68,950; for food scientists and technologists, $50,840 and $54,840 for Microbiologists.

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