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Microbiologist

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What is a Microbiologist?

Career 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.

Microbiologist Responsibilities

  • Investigate the relationship between organisms and disease, including the control of epidemics and the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Develop new products and procedures for sterilization, food and pharmaceutical supply preservation, or microbial contamination detection.
  • 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.
  • Prepare technical reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes.
  • Provide laboratory services for health departments, for community environmental health programs, and for physicians needing information for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.

Qualities of a Microbiologist

Microbiologists state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

  • Microbiology Supervisor
  • Medical Microbiologist
  • Microbiology Laboratory Manager
  • Quality Control Microbiologist (QC Microbiologist)
  • Electron Microscopist

Is There Job Demand for Microbiologists?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 23,200 jobs in the United States for Microbiologist. 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. The BLS estimates 2,200 yearly job openings in this field.

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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.

Salary for a Microbiologist

The salary for Microbiologists ranges between about $41,820 and $133,550 a year.

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Microbiologists who work in California, Maryland, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

How much do Microbiologists make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $59,660
Arizona $75,970
Arkansas $70,210
California $102,340
Colorado $71,860
Connecticut $75,410
Delaware $62,470
District of Columbia $94,630
Florida $67,650
Georgia $94,050
Hawaii $73,870
Idaho $64,880
Illinois $62,830
Indiana $55,370
Iowa $82,410
Kansas $53,100
Kentucky $55,940
Louisiana $70,000
Maine $69,890
Maryland $107,070
Massachusetts $82,500
Michigan $61,360
Minnesota $66,990
Mississippi $71,720
Missouri $77,300
Montana $85,900
Nebraska $64,380
Nevada $83,060
New Hampshire $74,080
New Jersey $81,720
New Mexico $50,580
New York $80,500
North Carolina $67,050
Ohio $68,970
Oklahoma $53,530
Oregon $66,370
Pennsylvania $74,780
South Carolina $59,750
Tennessee $76,730
Texas $54,530
Utah $62,750
Vermont $58,830
Virginia $91,940
Washington $74,660
West Virginia $51,330
Wisconsin $62,440

What Tools do Microbiologists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Microbiologists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Statistical software
  • Laboratory information management system LIMS
  • Database management software
  • Basic Local Alignment Search Tool BLAST
  • PHYLIP
  • STARLIMS
  • Orchard Software Orchard Harvest LIS
  • Protein Explorer
  • BD Biosciences CellQuest
  • DM2 Bills of Lading

How do I Become a Microbiologist?

What education or degrees do I need to become a Microbiologist?

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Microbiologist?

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Where Microbiologists Are Employed

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Microbiologists work in the following industries:

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Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being a Microbiologist may also be interested in:

Career changers with experience as a Microbiologist sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

References:

Image Credit: via CC0 Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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