What Does it Take to Be 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.
- Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture, aeration, temperature, and nutrition.
- Conduct chemical analyses of substances such as acids, alcohols, and enzymes.
- Monitor and perform tests on water, food, and the environment to detect harmful microorganisms or to obtain information about sources of pollution, contamination, or infection.
- Investigate the relationship between organisms and disease, including the control of epidemics and the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
- Observe action of microorganisms upon living tissues of plants, higher animals, and other microorganisms, and on dead organic matter.
- 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.
Below is a list of the skills most Microbiologists say are important on the job.
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.
Related Job Titles for this Occupation:
- Microbiological Laboratory Technician
- Microbiology Director
- Research Microbiologist
- Microbiology Supervisor
- Microbiology Analyst
Job Opportunities for Microbiologists
There were about 23,200 jobs for Microbiologist in 2016 (in the United States). 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.
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.
The average yearly salary of a Microbiologist ranges between $41,820 and $133,550.
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|
|District of Columbia||$94,630|
What Tools & Technology 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
- 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
How to Become a Microbiologist
What kind of Microbiologist requirements are there?
How Long Does it Take to Become a Microbiologist?
The table below shows the approximate number of Microbiologists employed by various industries.
Other Jobs You May be Interested In
Those thinking about becoming a Microbiologist might also be interested in the following careers:
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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