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how to become a Microbiologist

How to Become a Microbiologist

When you become a microbiologist, you will research the behaviors and characteristics of microscopic organisms such as bacteria or algae. Microbiology is a branch of biological science. Medical microbiologists study the relationship between these organisms and diseases, and work to develop antibiotics.

Microbiologists for the most part work in research with many working in pharmaceutical development. Some work in environmental research, and study the role of tiny organisms in eco-systems. Many are employed in colleges where they both teach and research.

Education Requirements of a Microbiologist

The education you need to become a microbiologist will depend on the kind of work you would like to be doing. While you're at high school it's important to take science subjects, such as biology, as well as math.

The minimum requirement to work in this field is a four year biological science degree, with a focus on microbiology. This qualification would be enough to qualify you for a position as a research assistant, or for a role with a pharmaceutical company.

If you are interested in completing independent research then you will need to complete doctoral level qualifications. After your undergraduate degree, you will need to go on to graduate school. You may be able to start work on a PhD immediately, or in some instances start a master program first and then a PhD afterwards.

This qualification would give you the background to work independently as a microbiologist. You could gain a position teaching and researching in a college and work towards tenure. You would spend a good amount of time teaching, and the remainder conducting research. Another path is to apply for grants to fund your own research.

Microbiologist Job Description

Microbiologists work in varied settings. Depending on the kind of industry that they work in, the job they do could vary greatly. Here are some of the roles you could work in when you become a microbiologist:

  • Environmental microbiology

  • Food microbiology

  • Agricultural microbiology

  • Industrial microbiology

  • Immunology

  • Bioinformatics

  • Pharmaceutical development

Many microbiologists will work within a lab setting, where they will complete tests. Some work in offices, writing reports and analyzing data. Some could work in development, for instance creating new antibiotics and anti-viral drugs.

Many microbiologists work in colleges, where they both work with students teaching, and conduct their own research.

Those that work in research could spend their time studying in the field, conducting lab work, and writing up their findings. Those that publish their work would need to adhere to strict deadlines.

Most microbiologists will work a forty hour week. Some may work overtime, particularly if working towards a deadlines.

Microbiologist Salary and Career Path

Working in research, it's likely that your first job when you become a microbiologist would be as a research assistant. Once you had completed your postgraduate studies you could go on to an assistant instructor's position at a college. You could then work towards achieving your tenure, which generally takes about seven years.

Those who work within research would be employed with a bachelors degree and would work on a wide range of projects, most likely in a lab setting. Some may go on to become head researchers or project managers. Others may move into managerial or supervisory positions.

Some microbiologists go on to work within education. They may take up a position as a high school science teacher, for instance. Those that work in the pharmaceutical industry often go on to other positions with health.

The median salary of a microbiologist is $64,000 year. The highest 10% of earners made over $111,000, while the lowest 10% made less than $38,000 a year.

You can find out more about a career in microbiology from the American Society for Microbiology.

Some similar jobs to that of a microbiologist include

  • Biologist

  • Botanist

  • Atmospheric scientist

  • Medical researcher

  • Medical doctor

  • Epidemiologist

Working as a microbiologist givers you a wide range of career prospects. When you become a microbiologist you open up many opportunities within science, health, and education. A qualification in this area means that if you become tired of one area, there are more pathways that you might choose to follow. There is growth is some parts of this field, good salary, and secure employment for successful people.

*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics
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