Life As a Microbiologist
Position Description Investigate the growth, structure, development, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
What Do Microbiologists Do On a Daily Basis?
- Observe action of microorganisms upon living tissues of plants, higher animals, and other microorganisms, and on dead organic matter.
- Study growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of bacteria and other microorganisms to understand their relationship to human, plant, and animal health.
- Study the structure and function of human, animal, and plant tissues, cells, pathogens and toxins.
- Investigate the relationship between organisms and disease, including the control of epidemics and the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
- Use a variety of specialized equipment such as electron microscopes, gas chromatographs and high pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence activated cell sorters and phosphorimagers.
- Supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.
Skills Needed to be a Microbiologist
These are the skills Microbiologists say are the most useful in their careers:
Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Types of Microbiologist
- Clinical Microbiologist
- Medical Microbiologist
- Microbiology Analyst
- Microbiology Supervisor
Microbiologist Job Outlook
In the United States, there were 23,200 jobs for Microbiologist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,900 new jobs for Microbiologist by 2026. There will be an estimated 2,200 positions for Microbiologist per year.
The states with the most job growth for Microbiologist are Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, Oklahoma, or North Dakota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
How Much Does a Microbiologist Make?
Microbiologists make between $41,820 and $133,550 a year.
Microbiologists who work in California, Maryland, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Microbiologists in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$94,630|
Tools & Technologies Used by Microbiologists
Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Microbiologists may use on a daily basis:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Web browser software
- Microsoft Access
- Email software
- Word processing software
- Microsoft Windows
- Statistical software
- Laboratory information management system LIMS
- Database management software
- Basic Local Alignment Search Tool BLAST
- Orchard Software Orchard Harvest LIS
- Protein Explorer
- BD Biosciences CellQuest
- DM2 Bills of Lading
Becoming a Microbiologist
Education needed to be a Microbiologist:
How Long Does it Take to Become a Microbiologist?
Who Employs Microbiologists?
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
Those interested in being a Microbiologist may also be interested in:
Are you already one of the many Microbiologist in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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