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Microbiologists study microorganisms that are found in various environments. They examine bacteria, fungi viruses and other parasites to see how they grow and interact with the environment in which they are located.



What responsibilities will I have?

  • Isolate and make cultures of bacteria and other microorganisms in order to look at growth of samples
  • Conduct tests on food and water samples in order to detect harmful microorganism and work to identify the source of pollution
  • Provide laboratory services for human and animal health providers in order to help determine illness and treatment options
  • Research trends in disease outbreaks in order to determine the best method to control spread
  • Prepare reports and recommendations based on research results
  • Observe microorganisms reaction to chemicals and other stimuli
  • Monitor and identify microorganisms
  • Develop new technologies and processes
  • Assist in planning to prevent the spread of disease
  • Plan and implement new clinical trials
  • Oversee the work of laboratory staff
  • Provide scientific advice and consultation
  • Review product release data


What education and training is required?

Typically a doctorate degree is required to become a microbiologist. Laboratory experience and field work is very helpful. Some laboratory positions are obtainable with bachelors degree in microbiology. 


To pursue a career as an microbiologist

The following high school courses are recommended:  agricultural education, a focus on sciences such as animal science, chemistry and biology, physics and mathematics. Writing classes would also be helpful as microbiologist often have to write reports based on their research findings.    


Where can I work?

Microbiologist may work at a university, research firms, government agencies, pharmaceutical or animal health companies. You may work independently or as part of a team.


Future Job Market/Outlook

The job outlook for microbiologists will be great over the next five years.  


Suggested Professional Organizations and Associations

  • American Society for Microbiology
  • US Animal Agriculture Alliance
  • American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
  • Laboratory Safety Institute
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