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What You Need to Know About Microbiologist

Microbiologist Definition 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

  • Conduct chemical analyses of substances such as acids, alcohols, and enzymes.
  • Examine physiological, morphological, and cultural characteristics, using microscope, to identify and classify microorganisms in human, water, and food specimens.
  • 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.
  • Study growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of bacteria and other microorganisms to understand their relationship to human, plant, and animal health.
  • Provide laboratory services for health departments, for community environmental health programs, and for physicians needing information for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Observe action of microorganisms upon living tissues of plants, higher animals, and other microorganisms, and on dead organic matter.

Microbiologist Skills

When polled, Microbiologists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

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.

  • Bacteriologist
  • Microbiological Analyst
  • Microbiology Director
  • Microbiologist
  • Virologist

Job Opportunities for Microbiologists

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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 2,200 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Microbiologists in U.S.

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.

Salary Ranges for Microbiologists

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
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

Tools & Technologies Used by Microbiologists

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

Becoming a Microbiologist

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

Microbiologist Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Microbiologist?

Microbiologist Work Experience

Where Microbiologists Work

Microbiologist Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Microbiologists employed by various industries.

Microbiologist Industries

You May Also 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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