A clinical career bolstering human safety … on the molecular level Biochemistry

The Navy operates in countless environments across the globe. In the waters of the North Arabian Sea. Alongside the coast of Indonesia. Or even on the grounds of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Every location that Sailors and Marines find themselves in presents unique biological, chemical and toxicological challenges for their well-being.

Navy Research Biochemists and Forensic Toxicologists work behind the scenes to promote the safety of military personnel. It's a wide, varied field of specialties where scientists have control over their careers. They also have the best coworkers, equipment and research laboratories, in some of the most amazing places in the world.

Job Description

When you specialize in biochemistry, there are two distinct ways of making a difference as an Officer in the Medical Service Corps:

Research Biochemists conduct and manage basic and applied research on biochemical problems of interest to the Navy. That could involve harnessing solar and sea power to fuel the Navy for years to come, or developing a vaccine to battle a new disease.

Forensic Toxicologists work in military forensic laboratories, Navy Research Laboratories or Environmental Preventive Medicine Units. They also teach at the Naval Academy and elsewhere.

You could work with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), or serve as a member of a deployable Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Environmental (CBRE) Training Team, defending our nation against biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

Specific Responsibilities

Research Biochemists:

  • Design studies
  • Develop methodologies
  • Carry out research and analyze results

Forensic Toxicologists:

  • Manage and direct operations
  • Use state-of-the-art equipment to identify drug abuse in body fluids
  • Evaluate crucial evidence for military court proceedings
  • Study the effects of toxic substances on normal life processes
  • Test and develop protective equipment for military operations
  • Evaluate exposure limits to chemical compounds

Work Environment

You could serve in any of a variety of global locations, including:

  • Research and development (both medical and nonmedical) overseas in Cairo, Egypt; Lima, Peru; Jakarta, Indonesia; and within the continental U.S. (Washington, D.C., metro area and San Diego, California)
  • Clinical biochemistry at our three large teaching medical centers in Bethesda, Maryland; Portsmouth, Virginia; and San Diego, California.

Education Opportunities

Wherever you are in your professional career, the Navy can help ease your financial burdens and advance your career with generous financial assistance and continuing education programs.

There's an alternative to spending years paying down the cost of your graduate education. If you're currently a practicing professional, you could potentially be eligible to receive financial assistance through the Navy Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP). Talk to a Navy Officer Recruiter for more information.

Offers have many variables. To get information and find out which offer would benefit you most, request that a Navy Officer Recruiter contact you.


To qualify for Active Duty employment consideration as a Biochemist in the Navy Medical Service Corps, you must meet these basic requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen currently practicing in the U.S. (contact a
    Navy Medical Recruiter for details)
  • Ph.D. or master's degree from a program of at least two years' duration with a completed research thesis in one of the following:
    • Chemistry (with a strong life sciences background)
    • Toxicology
    • Pharmacology
    • Molecular biology
  • Be willing to serve a minimum of three years of Active Duty
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 41
  • Be in good physical condition and pass a full medical examination

You may also be expected to meet certain preferred requirements:

  • Experience in biochemical and analytical chemistry laboratory techniques from graduate training or work experience
  • Authorship or co-authorship of publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals
  • GPA of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate studies, and 3.5 or higher for graduate work
  • Ph.D. candidates have an advantage over master's-level candidates, since most of the Navy job openings require doctorate-level training


After the Navy

As a Navy Research Biochemist or Forensic Toxicologist, you’ll find unrivaled responsibilities and on-the-job training. Incomparable opportunities for continuing education and benefits. Deeper pride and purpose. And superior career advancement opportunities that will pay off when you return to the civilian world.

Consider Your Service Options.

There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America's Navy. Besides full-time opportunities in Active Duty, part-time Reserve positions are also available in this career area.