Job Description for Microbiologist
Microbiologists study the biology of microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and algae; examples of microbiologists include bacteriologists, virologists, immunologists and clinical microbiologists. They often work in research and development, although they may also instruct students in microbiology if they hold a position at colleges and universities. Their duties include conducting research projects to examine microorganisms, preparing samples for testing (such as through plating, swabbing and/or incubation), recording their findings accurately, and writing reports and research papers on their findings. Microbiologists also supervise biological technicians and other laboratory workers, as well as stay up to date on research and developments within their field.Read More...
A bachelor’s degree in microbiology, cell biology or a related field is typically the minimum educational requirement for entry-level microbiologist positions. Additional education may be required or preferred as well; for example, a doctoral degree is often required for positions involving independent research and/or work in a university. Previous experience in a related position is generally required or preferred.
These scientists must be able to use laboratory equipment such as electron microscopes, relevant computer software, stains and weighing equipment, among others. Microbiologists must work well in a team environment, such as in a laboratory with other microbiologists, laboratory technicians and others; they also need to be able to work well on their own with minimal supervision. A strong understanding of proper laboratory techniques - including those related to safety - is needed as well.
- Study and document growth, physiology, morphology, and general characteristics of microorganisms.
- Write technical reports to communicate findings and procedures.
- Supervise laboratory staff, including schedules and tasks.
- Perform assays and determinations of organisms and substrates for identification and to determine interactions.
Common Career Paths for Microbiologist
Advancing into a Quality Assurance Manager role seems to be a popular career move for Microbiologists, and folks who currently work in the latter position report a notably larger median income of $69K per year. The most common career progression for Microbiologists leads to becoming a Medical Technologist, where average pay is $52K annually. However, many Microbiologists also opt to become Biologists. Typically, a Biologist brings home $47K.
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Popular Skills for Microbiologist
Survey results suggest that Microbiologists put a wide range of professional skills to use. Most notably, skills in Microbiology, GMP Compliance, Molecular Biology, and Research Analysis are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include environmental monitoring and Data Analysis. Those proficient in Data Analysis are, more often than not, also skilled in Molecular Biology.
Pay by Experience Level for Microbiologist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Microbiologists generally obtain higher compensation for more plentiful past experience. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $44K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $55K. Microbiologists claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $64K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $66K.
Pay Difference by Location
Home to some of the best pay for Microbiologists, Los Angeles offers exceptional salaries, 44 percent above the national average. Microbiologists will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+30 percent), New York (+20 percent), Cincinnati (+13 percent), and Denver (+12 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Microbiologists is geography, with workers in Columbus earning a whopping 30 percent below the national average. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Madison (22 percent less) and St. Louis (10 percent less).
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Key Stats for Microbiologist
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