Career Opportunities After Bsc Microbiology

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Career Opportunities After Bsc Microbiology

What Is a Microbiologist?

microbiologist
 ˌmī-​krō-​bī-​ˈä-​lə-​jist  noun
a scientist who studies living organisms and infectious particles, such as bacteria and viruses, that can only be seen with a microscope.

In decades past, microbiologists worked mainly in laboratory research settings. With our new appreciation of the role of microbes in our world, microbiologists now work in a variety of contexts, including food production, environmental science, medicine and basic research. They work in hospitals, universities, private companies, non-profit organizations and government, and have many different job titles, from Biosafety Officer to Professor. You can work as a microbiologist with as little training as an Associate Degree (A.S.) or as much training as a medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.). Wages depend on education, job sector and experience, and range from $40,000/year to well over $100,000/year.

What Do Microbiologists Do?

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Diagnostics
  • Biosafety
  • Hybrid Career Paths

​How Do I Prepare for a Career in Microbiology?

What Level of Education Do I Need?

  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Master’s Degree
  • Doctoral or Medical Degree

What Do Microbiologists Do?

Research

Microbiology researchers try to answer scientific questions that no one else has answered before by doing experiments – they are explorers, making discoveries, developing new knowledge and applying it to real-world problems. Here are examples of questions a microbiology researcher might ask:

  • Which microbes help keep the human body healthy?
  • Can this microbe be used to clean up pollution?
  • What microbe made these animals sick?
  • How can we keep this food product from spoiling?

In microbiology, “research” includes the following tasks:

  • writing proposals to get grant funding or approval for experiments
  • designing and conducting experiments
  • analyzing data
  • publishing results in scientific journals and presenting at scientific conferences

Microbiologists whose jobs involve research work in many different places, from colleges and universities, to government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to private companies and non-profit organizations. At higher levels, microbiology researchers have the added responsibilities of managing a lab or research group and mentoring graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and others working in their labs.

Microbiology research job titles include laboratory technician, research associate, laboratory manager, research scientist, professor (colleges and universities), lead scientist (private company) and principal investigator (government lab, non-profit organizations). 

Teaching

Teaching at a college or university involves several tasks:

  • designing classes
  • teaching classes and leading laboratory activities
  • writing and grading exams
  • advising students 

Educators at colleges and universities are typically professors, lecturers or laboratory instructors. Professors do a mix of research (see previous section) and teaching, while lecturers and laboratory instructors only teach. Professors and lecturers teach the classroom portions of large undergraduate courses, such as Biology 101, and small, graduate-level electives, such as Environmental Microbiology. Laboratory instructors teach the laboratory sections of a variety of courses, guiding students through experiments and keeping the teaching laboratory in good working order.

At schools that offer professional degrees in nursing, dentistry, pharmacy or medicine, microbiology educators may also guest teach certain parts of courses for professional students.

Diagnostics

Microbiologists focused on diagnostics are clinical laboratory professionals in hospitals, public health laboratories, private medical or veterinary diagnostic laboratories and private companies. In hospitals and laboratories, they run tests on patient or animal samples sent in by doctors or vets. These tests help identify the microbe making a patient/animal sick and can help the doctor/vet with treatment decisions by determining if the microbe is sensitive or resistant to antimicrobial medicines like antibiotics.

In public health laboratories, clinical microbiologists also track and determine the source of disease outbreaks. At private companies, clinical microbiologists perform research (see first career section) to develop new diagnostic tests and procedures. At higher career levels, these professionals may manage an entire clinical laboratory and its staff.

Biosafety

Biosafety professionals make sure that the work in clinical and research laboratories is done safely using the appropriate equipment and procedures and that all Federal, State and Local regulations and guidelines are being followed. Their job is to prevent employees from being injured or infected and to prevent microbes and other biological agents from getting outside of the lab. They do this by training researchers and clinical laboratory professionals, putting safety policies and procedures in place and consulting on laboratory design. Biosafety professionals work in many different job sectors, including colleges and universities, private companies, hospitals and government agencies.

Hybrid Career Paths

Some microbiologists combine their scientific expertise with skills and interests in other fields. These careers typically require a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, plus a degree or additional training in a second field.

Business analysts help companies and investment firms evaluate a particular scientific or medical market to guide their strategies and decisions. For example, a business analyst with a background in microbiology may help an investment firm decide whether or not to financially support a biotechnology startup. Some business analysts work directly for a particular company, while others work at consulting firms or as freelance consultants. They frequently have Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degrees.

Infectious disease physicians or veterinarians train first as doctors (M.D. or D.O.) or vets (D.V.M.) and then specialize in patient care for people/animals suffering from infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or Q-fever. Some infectious disease specialists not only see patients, but also do microbiology research.

Patent lawyers work at law firms or private companies. They protect intellectual property by writing and filing patents on new scientific devices, processes or products. They also pursue or defend lawsuits related to patent infringement. Patent lawyers have a law degree (J.D.) as well as scientific expertise. 

Public policy and regulatory affairs professionals work at government agencies, non-profit organizations and private companies. In government, these professionals develop policies, legislation, and regulations related to biomedical products, healthcare and laboratory research. At non-profits and private companies, these professionals help their organizations understand and advocate for specific policies and regulations.

Science education or outreach professionals work at colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, museums and government agencies. Some also work for the corporate responsibility arms of private companies. These professionals design and organize programs and events that engage public or K-12 audiences with science.

Science writers work for newspapers, magazines and other media companies, as well as for government institutions. They also frequently work as freelancers. They research stories and write articles on technical subjects and must keep up on current events and new research being published.

How Do I Prepare for a Career in Microbiology?

In high school, take these classes:In college, take these classes:
4 years of mathBiology or Life Science
BiologyCalculus
ChemistryChemistry
PhysicsGeneral Microbiology
Other science or math electives, such as AP Biology or MicrobiologyOrganic Chemistry
 Biochemistry
 Physics
 Statistics
 Other science or math electives, such as Computer Science or Immunology

Additional activities that can help you prepare for a career in microbiology include participating in school science fairs and extracurricular science clubs, joining local and national scientific societies (like ASM), pursuing internships and student research experiences and participating in activities that develop technical, communication and leadership skills.

What Level of Education Do I Need?

This infographic shows microbiology jobs by minimum education level (from High School Diploma up to Postdoctoral Fellowship). Icons indicate the focus of a particular job, from Research to Biosafety, as explained in the "What Do Microbiologists Do?" section.
This infographic shows microbiology jobs by minimum education level (from High School Diploma up to Postdoctoral Fellowship). Icons indicate the focus of a particular job, from Research to Biosafety, as explained in the “What Do Microbiologists Do?” section.

Associate Degree (or other 2-year technical training degree)

After high school, one option is to earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree from a community or 2-year technical college. With this level of education, you can work in a variety of clinical and research laboratories as a laboratory technician. Graduates of accredited associate degree programs may be eligible for certifications, such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Medical Laboratory Technician (ASCP MLT) certification. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the 2015 median salary for laboratory technician positions was around $40,000/year. In addition, ASCP’s 2013 Wage Survey of U.S. Clinical Laboratories found that certified laboratory professionals earn more than their non-certified counterparts.  

Bachelor’s Degree

You can enter a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor’s of the Arts (B.A.) degree program straight out of high school or after completing an Associate Degree (many Bachelor’s programs will accept transfer students and course credits from an Associate degree program at an affiliated 2-year college). Bachelor’s degree programs typically take 4 years of full-time study. With a Bachelor’s Degree, you can work as a microbiologist in many different contexts. 

Food, agricultural or environmental laboratory scientist/technologistPerform established, well-validated tests on water, food, agricultural and environmental samples to detect different types of microbes. Must be precise and pay attention to detail so that test results are accurate. May also participate in reporting test results to others outside of the lab.
Public health, clinical or veterinary laboratory scientist/technologistPerform established, well-validated tests on human and animal samples to detect disease-causing microbes. Certification, such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Medical Laboratory Scientist (ASCP MLS) certification, may be required or preferred.
Research associateKey player on research teams, who provides technical support to ongoing research projects and carries out experiments designed by more senior researchers. May be assigned to a single research project or to a set of related techniques across projects, such as maintaining all of the lab’s cell cultures.
Quality assurance/control scientist 
Perform tests on products, such as measuring microbe contaminants, to ensure the products meet safety and quality standards.
Biosafety specialist
Inspect laboratories and related facilities to ensure the space and the practices of those using the space adhere to state and federal regulations for safety, occupational and environmental health. Act as a resource for colleagues seeking guidance on occupational or environmental health concerns. Provide safety training to laboratory personnel.

These positions can be found across many different sectors, including at colleges and universities, hospitals, government agencies and commercial companies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the 2015 median salary for these positions was around $65,000/year.

Master’s Degree

A Master’s of the Arts (M.A.) or a Master’s of Science (M.S.) degree can be earned after successfully earning a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s degree programs typically take 1-2 years to complete, and some are designed to allow students to work full-time while enrolled in the program.

Clinical or research laboratory managerManage day-to-day activities in a clinical or research laboratory. Train laboratory personnel in experimental techniques, maintain lab inventories and equipment, supervise junior staff (technicians, technologists and assistants/associates). Clinical laboratory manager positions typically require certification.
Biosafety officerPlan, develop and manage biosafety programs, including training for laboratory personnel, assessing biosafety risks of particular projects, inspecting laboratories for compliance with biosafety standards, responding to biosafety emergencies and making recommendations to improve safety and environmental and occupational health.
Instructor/laboratory coordinatorTeach classroom and/or laboratory courses at community colleges or 4-year colleges and universities. Participate in course development, faculty meetings, accreditation processes and advise students.

Doctoral or Medical Degree

Note that at U.S. institutions, you do NOT need to complete a Master’s Degree before pursuing a Doctoral Degree or a Medical Degree. However, you do need to complete a Bachelor’s Degree.

Microbiologists typically pursue Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or combined M.D.-Ph.D. degrees. An M.D. requires completion of 4 years of medical school (full time), as well as passing licensing exams. Practicing doctors must complete at least 1 additional year of internship training (also known as the 1st year of residency) and pass a final licensing exam. At this point in training, a medical doctor is considered a general practitioner (GP). Many medical doctors go on to complete additional years of residency in a specialty (for example, pediatrics) and sit for board exams to become licensed in that specialty.

A Ph.D. typically requires 1-2 years of coursework, followed by the completion of a thesis project based on original scientific research. Total time to completion can range from 3-8 years (full time). Unlike medical students, Ph.D. students typically do not pay tuition and in fact, most earn a stipend based on research or teaching responsibilities. After completing a Ph.D., some people, especially those who want to pursue a research career, work as a Postdoctoral Fellow (aka Postdoctoral Research Associate) for 2-5 years for additional training. Postdocs develop original scientific research under the mentorship of a Principal Investigator or Professor.

A Doctoral or Medical Degree is almost always required for higher-level positions in microbiology. With these degrees, you will be able to perform independent research, teach undergraduate and graduate students and assume executive-level responsibilities.

Research scientistSenior member of a research laboratory. Write grant/project proposals, design and carry out experiments, analyze data and publish the results. Train students and laboratory personnel.
University/college professorHead of a research laboratory, responsible for guiding and securing funding for lab projects and personnel (including themselves). Teach undergraduate and/or graduate classes, train and mentor students and postdocs who are doing research, serve on faculty committees.
Principal investigator

Equivalent of a professor, but at a government agency, non-profit research institution or for-profit company. Typically does not teach classes, but may mentor graduate students and postdocs. 
Consultant
Works either freelance or as part of a consulting firm. Prepare reports on the state of scientific fields, companies in a particular market or emerging issues in science and advise client organizations, such as businesses or foundations.
Clinical laboratory director
Head of a clinical laboratory. Consult with healthcare providers, evaluate and implement new diagnostic tests or testing procedures, maintain laboratory accreditation, oversee overall laboratory operation.
Research director
Lead a research program either at a company or at a government agency. Determine direction and priorities of the program and direct efforts of research personnel and laboratories.
University/college administrator
Responsibility for a particular set of academic departments (dean) or an aspect of the administration, such as admissions (vice president). Reduced or no teaching and research responsibilities
Corporate executive
Oversee part or all of a company. Guide overall company strategy and determine what products are brought to market. No direct research responsibilities
Government science advisor/administrator
Lead regulatory and disease surveillance programs concerned with product safety and public health. Make recommendations that influence laws, regulations and public policy.

Top Courses After BSc Microbiology

Bachelor of Science is not a simple option which people take. It has a various scope, and that is the reason why the course is very popular among students. Most of them complete their higher education and select BSc. And Microbiology in Bachelor of Science is a very interesting subject and field of study. If you are a student who has completed their Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and just don’t know what to pick up after that, then you don’t have to worry because the following content will help and provide the overall aspects, including the job and pay related details for each course which you are picking up.

PG Diploma – Bioinformatics

Data has no depletion, and there are thousands of data that is available on the internet, especially with biological data. There is still a lot going on and a lot to be figured out. So, in this course, you can get your hands dirty by analysing biological data and performing various tasks and processes. The entire course duration is around one year.

Benefits of this course:

 There are various methodologies that are available with which you can classify and analyse biological data. This course can be of great help in kickstarting your career in any research or industrial field where biological data plays a major role.

Job Opportunity:

 There are numerous job opportunities that are available after this course completion which includes:

  • Senior Bioinformatics Analyst
  • Bioinformatics Trainer Technical executives
  • Bioinformatics Programmer in C language
  • Bioinformatics Research Analyst. 
  • Not just these profiles, but you can also get an extended opportunities in various industries and business firms which work on biological data.

Payscale:

 The pay scale can vary depending upon the profile in which you are being present or going to work. 

  • The pay scale is usually six lakhs per annum for top roles
  • Five lakhs per annum for top roles but with minimum experience
  • 4.2 lakhs per annum for medium job profiles
  • If you have only minimum experience, then 3.5 lakhs per annum might be your pay scale, depending upon your profile. 
  • If you are a fresher, depending upon the profile, the pay scale can be 3.2 lakhs per annum.

Required Eligibility for opting for this course: The required Eligibility for the course would be a Bachelor’s Degree and if you are a BSc. Microbiology graduate, this course can be your higher study option. 

PGDM – Biotechnology

Finance, IPR, marketing are various other departments need people with Biotechnology knowledge in order to help them with the services that are needed for the betterment of the institution. The entire course duration is around two years, after which there are various opportunities available in the industry.

Benefits of this course: There are various methodologies that have been developed with which you can classify and analyse data that is related to the marketing and do financial management. This course can provide you with the best work experience. 

Job Opportunity:

 There are numerous job opportunities that are available after this course completion which includes:

  • Biotech production manager
  • Biotech project manager
  • Biotech inventory manager
  • Biotech sales manager
  • Biotech logistics manager

Payscale:

 The pay scale can vary depending upon the profile in which you are being present or going to work. It may also depend on the department and institution in which you are working in. But on an average, the salary can be from 4,50,000 to 9,00,000 INR.

Required Eligibility for opting for this course: 

You can be a bachelor degree holder in any science discipline, but having marks above 50% is an important category.

PG – Forensic Science Diploma

This can be one of the best and interesting courses you can ever pick up. There is a lot of opportunities flooded after completing this course. The course duration is around one year.

Benefits of this course: 

You can be of great help in investigations, especially criminal. You will have to analyse the toxicology and computers. When you are choosing this course, you can have a play around with various technologies.

Job Opportunity:

 There are numerous job opportunities that are available after this course completion which includes:

  • Forensic scientists
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Professor
  • Forensic expert
  • Forensic physiologist

Payscale:

 The pay scale can vary depending upon the profile in which you are being present or going to work. The pay scale can vary from 9 lakhs per annum, 4.8 lakhs per annum and 4.2 lakhs per annum, depending upon knowledge and experience.

Required Eligibility for opting for this course: 

You can be a bachelor degree holder in any science discipline, but having marks above 50% is an important category.

PG – Microbiology

Now that since you already have practised by doing the Bachelors of Science in Microbiology. Doing a Diploma in PG – Microbiology can be easier. This course is also around one year of time span and after which you will be exposed to various works.

Benefits of this course:

 This course will make your base which you have studied in microbiology, stronger. And hence you will be able to perform good research with the biological data.

Job Opportunity:

 There are numerous job opportunities that are available after this course completion which includes:

  • Microbiology research officer
  • Assistant professor
  • Demonstrator
  • Microbiologist
  • Chief Hygienist 

Payscale: 

The pay scale will entirely depend upon the job opportunity and industries. The annual package might vary from 6 to 3 lakhs per annum.

Required Eligibility

for opting for this course:

 Any graduation will be a minimum and mandatory requirement for opting for this course.

MSc – Biotechnology

Finance, IPR, marketing are various other departments need people with Biotechnology knowledge in order to help them with the services that are needed for the betterment of the institution. The entire course duration is around two years, after which there are various opportunities available in the industry.

Benefits of this course:

 This course will make your base which you have studied in biotechnology, stronger. And hence you will be able to perform good research with the biological data.

Job Opportunity:

 There are numerous job opportunities that are available after this course completion which includes:

  • Biotechnologist
  • Biochemist
  • Demonstrator
  • Microbiologist
  • Chief Hygienist 

Payscale:

 The pay scale will entirely depend upon the job opportunity and industries. The annual package might vary from 8 to 4 lakhs per annum.

Required Eligibility for opting for this course: A required BSc degree along with 55% as a mark.

MSc – Applied Microbiology

Now that since you already have practised by doing the Bachelors of Science in Microbiology. Doing Applied Microbiology can be easier. This course is also around one year of time span and after which you will be exposed to various works.

Benefits of this course:

 This course will make your base which you have studied in microbiology, stronger. And hence you will be able to perform good research with the biological data.

Job Opportunity:

 There are numerous job opportunities that are available after this course completion which includes:

  • Associate professor
  • Assistant professor
  • Assistant scientist
  • Lecturer
  • Lab technician

Payscale:

 The pay scale will entirely depend upon the job opportunity and industries. The annual package might vary from 6 to 3 lakhs per annum.

Required Eligibility for opting for this course: 

The requirement is a bachelors degree along with 50% of the marks scored.

MSc – Medical Microbiology

Now that since you already have practised by doing the Bachelors of Science in Microbiology. Doing Applied Microbiology can be easier. This course is also around one year of time span and after which you will be exposed to various works.

Benefits of this course:

 This course will make your base which you have studied in microbiology, stronger. And hence you will be able to perform good research with the biological data.

Job Opportunity:

 There are numerous job opportunities that are available after this course completion which includes:

  • Biomedical Scientist
  • Analyst
  • Professor
  • Lecturer
  • Medical Lab technician 
  • Medical representative

Payscale:

 The pay scale will entirely depend upon the job opportunity and industries. The annual package might vary from 1 to 10 lakhs per annum.

Required Eligibility for opting for this course:

 The requirement is a bachelor’s degree along with 50% of the marks scored in science background.

MSc – Life Science 

This course will help you in studying about the organisms and will help you in understanding the nuances. The organisms like animals, plants etc., can be thoroughly understood with the help of this study. The study time period is around two years.

Benefits of this course: 

This course will make your base, which you have studied in biological organisms, stronger. And hence you will be able to perform good research with the analysis of the living organisms.

Job Opportunity:

 There are numerous job opportunities that are available after this course completion which includes:

  • Project manager
  • Food manager
  • Biology content developer
  • Nutritionist
  • Senior Lab technician 

Payscale: 

The pay scale will entirely depend upon the job opportunity and and industries. The annual package might vary from 7.5 to 1.6 lakhs per annum.

Required Eligibility for opting for this course:

 The requirement is a BSc degree along with or honours in a science field.

MSc – Biochemistry

This course will help you in studying about the organisms and will help you in understanding the nuances along with chemical names. The course duration is two years.

Benefits of this course: 

This course will make your base which you have studied in biological organisms, stronger along with chemical formulations. 

Job Opportunity:

 There are numerous job opportunities that are available after this course completion which includes:

  • Professor
  • Researcher
  • Lab technician 

Payscale:

 The pay scale will entirely depend upon the job opportunity and industries. The annual package might vary from 10 to 2 lakhs per annum.

Required Eligibility for opting for this course:

 The requirement is a BSc degree with a 50% percentage along with or honours in a science field.

MSc – Genetics 

This course will help you in studying about the organisms and the gene patterns, which can provide an efficient workspace. The study time period is around two years.

Benefits of this course:

 This course will make your base which you have studied in biological organisms, stronger and DNA patterns.  

Job Opportunity:

 There are numerous job opportunities that are available after this course completion which includes:

  • Senior scientific officer
  • National sales manager
  • Professor

Payscale:

 The pay scale will entirely depend upon the job opportunity and industries. The annual package might vary from 5 to 12 lakhs per annum.

Required Eligibility for opting for this course: 

The requirement is a BSc degree, and you can also get through entrance examinations for certain institutions.

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