Biochemical engineer


Biochemical engineers research on the field of life science striving for new discoveries. They convert those findings into chemical solutions that can improve the wellbeing of society such as vaccines, tissue repair, crops improvement and green technologies advances such as cleaner fuels from natural resources.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to biochemical engineer:

biochemical engineering specialist
biochemical engineering researcher
biochemical technology engineering expert
biochemical technology engineering specialist
tissue engineer
biochemical process engineer
metabolic engineer
biochemical engineering consultant
biochemical researcher
process development engineer
enzyme engineer
biochemical technology engineering consultant
biochemical engineering expert
biochemical technology engineer
bio-fuel engineer
biochemical engineering adviser
biochemical research engineer
biochemical technology engineering adviser
bio-chemical engineer

Minimum qualifications

Bachelor’s degree is generally required to work as biochemical engineer. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Biochemical engineer is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Biochemical engineer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to biochemical engineer.

pharmaceutical engineer
environmental mining engineer
biomedical engineer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of biochemical engineer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of biochemical engineer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of biochemical engineer.

Statistical process control: Method of quality control that uses statistics to monitor processes.
Good manufacturing practices: Regulatory requirements and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) applied in the relevant manufacturing sector.
Analytical chemistry: Instruments and methods used to separate, identify and quanitfy matter – the chemical components of natural and artificial materials and solutions.
Biological chemistry: Biological chemistry is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
Engineering principles: The engineering elements like functionality, replicability, and costs in relation to the design and how they are applied in the completion of engineering projects.
Genetics: The study of heredity, genes and variations in living organisms. Genetic science seeks to understand the process of trait inheritance from parents to offspring and the structure and behaviour of genes in living beings.
High-performance liquid chromatography: Analytic chemistry technique used to identify and quantify the components of a mixture.
Gas chromatography: The principles of gas chromatography used to analyse and separate specific compounds which go to vaporisation without decomposition.
Engineering processes: The systematic approach to the development and maintenance of engineering systems.
Biology: Tissues, cells, and functions of plant and animal organisms and their interdependencies and interactions with each other and the environment.
Toxicology: The negative effects of chemicals on living organisms, their dose and exposure.
Gel permeation chromatography: Polymer analysis technique which separates the analytes on the basis of their weight.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of biochemical engineer.

Ensure compliance with environmental legislation: Monitor activities and perform tasks ensuring compliance with standards involving environmental protection and sustainability, and amend activities in the case of changes in environmental legislation. Ensure that the processes are compliant with environment regulations and best practices.
Use chromatography software: Use the chromatography data system software which collects and analyses the chromatography detectors results.
Ensure compliance with safety legislation: Implement safety programmes to comply with national laws and legislation. Ensure that equipment and processes are compliant with safety regulations.
Apply statistical analysis techniques: Use models (descriptive or inferential statistics) and techniques (data mining or machine learning) for statistical analysis and ICT tools to analyse data, uncover correlations and forecast trends.
Adjust engineering designs: Adjust designs of products or parts of products so that they meet requirements.
Develop biochemical manufacturing training materials: Develop, in collaboration with the relevant persons, training materials in the field of biochemical manufacturing.
Perform scientific research: Gain, correct or improve knowledge about phenomena by using scientific methods and techniques, based on empirical or measurable observations.
Use technical drawing software: Create technical designs and technical drawings using specialised software.
Advise on manufacturing problems: Advise the visited industrial plants on how to better oversee production to ensure that the manufacturing problems are correctly diagnosed and solved.
Run laboratory simulations: Run simulations on prototypes, systems or newly developed chemical products using laboratory equipment.
Document analysis results: Document on paper or on electronic devices the process and the results of the samples analysis performed.
Test samples for pollutants: Measure concentrations of pollutants within samples. Calculate air pollution or gas flow in industrial processes. Identify potential safety or health risks such as radiation.
Examine engineering principles: Analyse the principles that need to be considered for engineering designs and projects such as functionality, replicability, costs and other principles.
Interpret 3d plans: Interpret and understand plans and drawings in manufacturing processes which include representations in three dimensions.
Manage chemical testing procedures: Manage the procedures to be used in chemical testing by designing them and conducting tests accordingly.
Apply liquid chromatography: Apply the knowledge of polymer characterization and liquid chromatography in the development of new products.
Interpret 2d plans: Interpret and understand plans and drawings in manufacturing processes which include representations in two dimensions.
Advise on nitrate pollution: Nitrous oxide emission contributes to depletion of the ozone layer, which protects the earth from ultraviolet radiation. It is also the mineral fertiliser most applied to agricultural lands. Fertilisation has introduced high amounts of nitrogen into the viticultural ecosystem.
Approve engineering design: Give consent to the finished engineering design to go over to the actual manufacturing and assembly of the product.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of biochemical engineer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Pharmaceutical drug development: Drug manufacturing phases: pre-clinical phase (research and tests on animals), clinical phase (clinical trials on humans) and the sub-phases required to obtain as an end product a pharmaceutical drug.
Food materials: Quality and range of raw materials, half finished products and end products of a specific food sector.
Food science: The study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food and the scientific concepts underlying food processing and nutrition.
Fermentation processes of food: Conversion of carbohydrates into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process happens using bacteria or yeasts, or a combination of the two under anaerobic conditions. Food fermentation is also involved in the process of leavening bread and the process of producing lactic acid in foods such as dry sausages, sauerkraut, yogurt, pickles, and kimchi.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing quality systems: The quality systems model that apply in pharmaceutical manufacturies. The most common system ensures quality in facilities and equipment system, laboratory controls system, materials system, production system and packaging and labelling system.
Pharmaceutical industry: The main stakeholders, companies and procedures in the pharmaceutical industry and the laws and regulations that govern the patenting, testing, safety and marketing of drugs.
Pharmaceutical chemistry: The chemical aspects of identification and synthetic alteration of chemical entities as they relate to therapeutic use. The way various chemicals affect biological systems and how they can be integrated in drug development.
Food storage: The proper conditions and methods to store food to keep it from spoiling, taking into account humidity, light, temperature and other environmental factors.
Packaging engineering: The processes of packaging or protecting products for distribution, storage and sale.
Processes of foods and beverages manufacturing: Raw materials and production processes for getting finished food products. Importance of quality control and other techniques for the food and beverage industry.
Packaging processes: Packaging design and development. Decorating and printing processes executed in packaging. Packaging machinery and line operations.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of biochemical engineer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Perform toxicological studies: Perform tests to detect poisons or drug misuse and help to monitor therapy by using chemical reagents, enzymes, radioisotopes and antibodies to detect abnormal chemical concentrations in the body.
Design pharmaceutical manufacturing systems: Design production control systems which involve all processes from pharmaceutical production process to pharmaceutical stocks with the purpose of providing the correct input for the development of pharmaceutica manufacturing plant software packages.
Develop food production processes: Develop processes and techniques for food production or food preservation. Engage in the design, development, construction and operation of industrial processes and techniques for food manufacturing.
Evaluate pharmaceutical manufacturing process: Evaluate the ongoing pharmaceutical production process against the latest developments on the market regarding the mixing, compounding and packaging, ensuring the necessary updates are implemented.
Develop pharmaceutical drugs: Develop new therapeutic products according to the potential formulas, studies and indications recorded during the research process which involved also collaboration with physicians, biochemists and pharmacologists.
Develop biocatalytic processes: Develop fuels or fine chemicals from biomass by using microorganisms such as enzymes or yeast.

ISCO group and title

2145 – Chemical engineers





  1. Biochemical engineer – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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