Employment Prospects


There are approximately 28,500 biophysicists and biochemists employed in the United States. About 59 percent work for scientific research and development services. Many work for government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. Major governmental employers of biophysicists include the National Institutes of Health, the Departments of Agriculture and Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and national laboratories. Biophysicists also work for biotech and pharmaceutical companies, university medical schools, nonprofit organizations, and colleges and universities

Starting Out

Biophysicists with bachelor’s degrees usually begin work in industry or government as research assistants doing testing and analysis. In the drug industry, for example, they might analyze the ingredients of a product to verify and maintain its quality. Biophysicists with master’s degrees may enter the field in management, marketing, or sales positions, whereas those with doctorates usually go into basic or applied research. Many Ph.D. graduates work at colleges and universities where the emphasis is on teaching.

Advancement Prospects

Biophysicists with advanced education and experience have the best chances of landing managerial positions or opportunities on prestigious research projects. Biophysicists who work as college teachers typically advance from instructor, to assistant professor, to associate professor, to professor.

Tips for Entry

Read publications such as the Biophysical Journal (https://www.cell.com/biophysj/home) to learn more about the field.

Visit the following Web sites for job listings: https://www.biophysics.org and https://www.sciencemag.org/careers. Visit https://www.bio-link.org/resources/where for a list of biotechnology employers by state.

Attend industry conventions to network and to interview for jobs.

Join professional associations such as the Biophysical Society to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.

Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office.