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What You Need to Know About Microbiologists

Job Description & Duties 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.

Daily Life Of a Microbiologist

  • Provide laboratory services for health departments, for community environmental health programs, and for physicians needing information for diagnosis and treatment.
  • 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.
  • Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture, aeration, temperature, and nutrition.
  • Prepare technical reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes.
  • Conduct chemical analyses of substances such as acids, alcohols, and enzymes.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as 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.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Types of Microbiologists

  • Bacteriologist
  • Study Director
  • Microscopist
  • Microbiology Director
  • Microbiology Supervisor

Job Demand for Microbiologists

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 23,200 jobs in the United States for Microbiologists.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.2% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,900 new jobs for Microbiologists 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 Microbiologists are California, New York, and Texas.

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.

Microbiologist Average Salary

Microbiologists Make between $41,820 and $133,550 a year. The median salary is $71,650.

Salary Ranges for Microbiologists

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

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Maryland

$107,070

California

$102,340

District of Columbia

$94,630

Georgia

$94,050

Virginia

$91,940

Montana

$85,900

Nevada

$83,060

Massachusetts

$82,500

Iowa

$82,410

New Jersey

$81,720

New York

$80,500

Missouri

$77,300

Tennessee

$76,730

Arizona

$75,970

Connecticut

$75,410

Pennsylvania

$74,780

Washington

$74,660

New Hampshire

$74,080

Hawaii

$73,870

Colorado

$71,860

Mississippi

$71,720

Arkansas

$70,210

Louisiana

$70,000

Maine

$69,890

Ohio

$68,970

Florida

$67,650

North Carolina

$67,050

Minnesota

$66,990

Oregon

$66,370

Idaho

$64,880

Nebraska

$64,380

Illinois

$62,830

Utah

$62,750

Delaware

$62,470

Wisconsin

$62,440

Michigan

$61,360

South Carolina

$59,750

Alabama

$59,660

Vermont

$58,830

Kentucky

$55,940

Indiana

$55,370

Texas

$54,530

Oklahoma

$53,530

Kansas

$53,100

West Virginia

$51,330

New Mexico

$50,580

Tools & Technologies Used by Microbiologists

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

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Office

Where do Microbiologists Work?

Microbiologist Sectors

Those thinking about becoming Microbiologists might also be interested in the following careers:

  • Chemical Engineers
  • Biochemical Engineers

Those who work as Microbiologists sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

  • Biological Science Professors
  • Anesthesiologists

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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