Microbiology Degree

Microbiologists research and document the growth and character qualities of microscopic organisms. They bring together their expertise in other sciences such as chemistry, physics and biology to develop new vaccines, improve drugs, examine immunity against infection and learn more about viruses. Microbiologists use biotechnology to investigate cell reproduction and diseases.

Most microbiologists work primarily in laboratories with some field time assigned to acquiring samples for experiments and diagnostics. They conduct and document experiments related to the environment, agriculture, viruses, diseases and cell reproduction, depending on their specialty.

Microbiology Degree

Microbiologists generally earn a doctorate degree with post doctorate work required as an assistant or intern. Leading up to the doctorate, candidates could earn the following degrees and work on specific levels:

  • Bachelor’s degree in biology with a job as a laboratory technician or assistant
  • Master’s degree in a science or medical specialty depending on your desired area of microbiology
  • Ph.D. and post doctorate work in area of science or medical specialty, including administration, depending on your desired area of microbiology.

Candidates might also consider teaching science at a high school or technical college while working toward the necessary Ph.D. for this profession.

Microbiologist Job Description

Microbiologists explore the microscopic world to apply scientific investigation to more practical use in a variety of fields, including pharmaceuticals, veterinary services, food sciences and genetics. Their research dramatically affects every day life as they work with agriculture, vaccines and other medications, biofuels and environmental concerns.

Microbiologists spend significant time in research and examination of microscopic organisms. They conduct intense and detailed scientific experiments, and then analyze and document their results. The work requires a patient person with an analytical mind who focuses on details.

Microbiologists may work in a number of professional environments, such as:

  • Private corporate laboratory research and testing
  • Governmental laboratory research
  • Teaching and/or research hospitals, public or private
  • Veterinary hospital or practice
  • Universities and colleges
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Private research foundations

Other specialty areas of microbiology incorporate the following general fields: environment, food and agriculture, industry and biotechnology.

Microbiologist Salary

Microbiologist job opportunities are expected to grow by 12% through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These positions do not take into account teaching at universities and colleges. With the increased need for scientific discovery in virology, immunology and issues related to agriculture and the environment, microbiologists are expected to be in demand.

As of March 2009, microbiologists working for the Federal government earned an average salary of over $97,000. The salary range for microbiologists, as of May 2008, was between $38,000 and $111,000. The average microbiologist’s annual income at that same time was over $64,000.

Microbiologists commonly teach university courses, as well as work in the field or laboratory, and that income would be in addition to the above mentioned salaries.

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