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Research Biochemist & Forensic Toxicologist

Two Navy biochemists work together in a laboratory

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As an Officer in the Navy Medical Service Corps in the field of biochemistry, 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.

Research Biochemist

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

Forensic Toxicologist

  • 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

Navy biochemistry and toxicology professionals may 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 one of the highly acclaimed National Naval Medical Centers in Bethesda, MD; Portsmouth, VA; and San Diego, CA.

Training & Advancement

Upon graduation from graduate school, those pursuing a biochemistry position are required to attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI. ODS is a 5-week program that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of Navy Staff Corps Officers. Here they learn about the military structure of the U.S. Navy, its rich history of traditions and customs, leadership development and military etiquette.

Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance.

Post Service Opportunities

It’s important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields in the civilian world.

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. Opportunities for further education within this platform include:

Through the Navy Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP), you may be eligible to receive financial assistance to pay down the cost of your graduate education.

Qualifications & Requirements

To qualify for employment consideration as an Officer in the biochemistry field in the Navy Medical Service Corps, you must meet these basic requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen currently practicing in the United States
  • Hold a Ph.D. in biochemistry, toxicology or related life or physical sciences with a strong background in research.
  • 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.

General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.

Part-Time Opportunities

Serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Biochemist or Forensic Toxicologist, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Sailors in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes.

With flexible training options, Medical Service Corps Officers in the Navy Reserve can comfortably balance civilian and military schedules. You can maintain your own life and your own career – enriching both with the rewarding work you do for others. In some cases, you may even work in the same civilian location you work at now.

For Annual Training, you may serve anywhere in the world, whether at sea, in facilities stateside, or on bases in countries around the world.

Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Navy Reserve Sailors.

Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent of that.

Biochemistry professionals in the Navy Reserve serve in an Officer role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with this job, initial training requirements must first be met.

For current or former Navy Officers (NAVET): Prior experience satisfies the initial leadership training requirement – so you will not need to go through Officer Training again.

Officers who previously held a commission in another United States Military Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Public Health Service, or United States Coast Guard are exempt from attending ODS or LDO/CWO Academy.