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How to Begin a Professional Career as a Microbiologist

How to Begin a Professional Career as a Microbiologist

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How to Begin a Professional Career as a Microbiologist

Microbiologist: A Quick Look
Median Salary $66,260 per year
$31.86 per hour
Entry-level Education Post-secondary education (bachelor’s degree)
On-the-job training No
Primary employers Research laboratories and offices
Number of positions (U.S.) 20,100
Job Growth (2012-2022) 7 percent (slower than the national average)
New positions (2012-2022) 1400

What Does A Microbiologist Do?

Microbiologists in the US work long hours in research labs or offices. They often work full time although some Microbiologists work part time. They create and manage extremely complex research programs.Read more.

Salary

According to research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Microbiologists earned a median yearly pay of $66,260 in May 2012Read more.

Becoming A Microbiologist

Nowadays, all microbiologists possess a bachelor’s degree at the very least from a higher learning institution in a relevant field (such as microbiology).Read more.

CLICK HERE TO FIND LOCAL & ONLINE MICROBIOLOGY SCHOOLS

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor predicts that the Microbiology Research industry will experience a slight growth of 7 percent between the years 2012 through 2022. Read more.

Fashion Designer Salary According to data for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Microbiologists earned a median yearly pay of $66,260 back in May 2012. The median salary serves as a midpoint of all the earnings. That means that the earnings can be equated to a value directly in the middle. In other words, half the professionals in the field of Microbiology Research earn more and the other half earns less. The lowest paid 10 percent of microbiologists earned less than $39,720 in 2012. The top-earning 10 percent of this demographic earned over $117,690. You will find a huge gap between the highest and the lowest paid salaries in this field. However, that range of diversity is to be expected due to how different research funding can differ. A researcher’s professional experience, level of education (like having a PhD), his or her place of employment, and his or her reputation can also factor into this pay scale. While starter salary packages in microbiology tend to start off quite low for simple research assistants, salaries greatly expand to moderately high levels the further one gets in his or her career. This increase in pay is especially prevalent in the position of a leading researcher or university professor. The top five ranking industries which employ Microbiologists reported the following salaries: $96,520 for Microbiologists working in the federal government (which is also the top paying field), $67,070 for Microbiologist working in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing businesses, $62,920 for Microbiologists working in research and development (in a research lab per se), $54,640 for Microbiologists working in state and local government (but excluding education and hospitals) and $52,790 for Microbiologists working in college, universities and professional schools at a state level.

How To Become A Microbiologist Microbiologist must at least have a bachelor's degree from a higher learning institution in a relevant field (such as Microbiology). Most of these scientists are employed based on their level of academic achievement and the skills they can demonstrate. At least some level of laboratory experience is also required.

Educational Requirements

As previously stated, all Microbiologists must possess a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology or some other life sciences field. To earn such a degree, you’ll need to learn about microbial genetics and microbial physiology. Students then move on to the more advanced classes such as environmental microbiology and virology. A Microbiology degree will require some coursework in statistics, mathematics, and computer science. Aspiring Microbiologists must also possess laboratory experience before they may enter the formal workforce. This experience is generally earned through internships with various pharmaceutical companies. Students may also enroll as a research assistant for the school's professors. Besides these rather formal requirements, you will also need to possess a genuine interest for this kind of research. Candidates typically display interest through a so-called memorandum of scientific activity. You can think of this memorandum as the equivalent of a designer’s portfolio. Ideally, you will have at least a one or two items to mention in your portfolio by the time you graduate the bachelor's degree program. Typically, many candidates will take part in a memorandum of scientific activity in a related research project during through educational career. Students may volunteer to help one of their university professors organize samples within his or her ongoing research studies. If you come across such an opportunity, make sure you take advantage of it to the fullest. It will definitely add to your resume later on.

Professional Experience

Candidates typically gain the required experience for an entry-level Microbiologist position by involving themselves in as many projects as possible before graduating. Internships are a great source of experience to acquire basic experience before the first full time position. If a candidate aspires to reach a mid-level Microbiologist position in management, he or she must attain at least three years of prior experience in a research facility along with further education beyond the typical bachelor degree (such as a master’s program or a PhD). Since every field of science is a bit esoteric, the only way a candidate may acquire real knowledge is to observe things firsthand in a laboratory. The formal education one acquires during college prepares the candidate with basic information. Real experience as a Microbiologist can only be ascertained from observing actual research in a laboratory. Internships are vital for a candidate's resume.

Microbiologist Job Description Microbiologists almost always work full time. Like many science based careers, working hours in the lab can be strenuous and intellectually demanding. Microbiologist must create and manage (or work within) extremely complex research programs where any number of details may be vital to the research's success. The scientist may also deal with some degree of bureaucracy. They may be required to fill very detailed reports of activity every step of the way.

Duties

A Microbiologist's job usually consists of the following responsibilities:
  • Plan and conduct complex research projects
  • Supervise the work of other staff (such as biological technicians); evaluate the accuracy of their findings
  • Efficiently isolate and maintain bacterial cultures for research purposes, professionally handling biohazard materials
  • Collecting, identifying and classifying microorganisms found in samples coming from humans, animals or the environment
Most of the Microbiologists work in laboratories which may not necessarily be part of an industry or a corporation. That means that the research they do does not have an immediate commercial purpose and may lead to more valuable and meaningful results. However, the nature of this research means that this type of Microbiologist is generally paid less than the microbiologists work for more profitable industries (such as the pharmaceutical or medical industry). This kind of research that is strictly intended to increase scientific knowledge is called basic research. After some initial experience with basic research, Microbiologists conduct applied research to try to find specific solutions to specific problems (such as developing a drug to handle a disease). They may work with medical scientists or biochemists during such applied research. In other cases, they may work in medical diagnostic laboratories with physicians and nurses, if they are researching how the symptoms arise or how the potential new drug works when administered.

Job Outlook The U.S. BLS predicts that the Microbiology field will experience a 7 percent rise from 2012 to 2022. This rate stands slightly below the growth of the national average. However, it still represents a growth in employment. The industry will require many of these new microbiologists for the subfields of basic research, for solving some problems pertaining to industrial processes, or for monitoring the environment in order to protect public safety. All in all, the field of microbiology is a promising field that the Feds expect will offer good career opportunities to skilled workers. The candidates who possess a solid understanding of microbiology and are also familiar with related disciplines (like biophysics, chemistry and medicine) will probably hold the competing advantage over others.

 

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