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What Does A Microbiologist Do?

Microbiologists are responsible for studying the microscopic organisms causing infections and environmental damage, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Their work focuses on the identification and growth of these microbes to better understand their characteristics that may help in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious and bacterial diseases. They use sophisticated technologies and machinery to study microbes and perform their tasks. These scientists are also responsible for developing best practices and techniques for routine sampling and research. Microbiologists may work in various settings, including laboratories, research institutes, and hospitals.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real microbiologist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Establish a DNA fingerprinting lab to aid in bacterial food borne disease investigations and manage it for ten years.
  • Manage external contract labs for GLP testing, prepare documentation for regulatory approval.
  • Receive and log samples in LIMS as well as compiled work batches, QC sheets and data reports.
  • Perform growth promotion, microbial limit testing, antimicrobial effectiveness testing, bioburden and water testing.
  • Participate in client and FDA audits as related to the drug manufacturing facility and specifically microbiology laboratory relate tasks.
  • Implement the LRN informatics initiatives involving the flow and management of laboratory testing data via electronic reporting during emergency response.
  • Cross train to provide support in chemistry lab.
  • Experience in molecular biology to include PCR and RT-PCR.
  • Act as SME for all device packaging changes for integration to Stryker.
  • Experience with IQ, OQ, and PQ of pharmaceutical equipment and systems.
Microbiologist Traits
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.
Technical skills refer to specific ability or knowledge that is needed to carry out every day responsibilities, such as physical or digital tasks.
Detail oriented involves being extremely mindful and observant of all details.

Microbiologist Overview

Between the years 2018 and 2028, microbiologist jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a microbiologist?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of microbiologist opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 1,100.

Microbiologists average about $28.28 an hour, which makes the microbiologist annual salary $58,817. Additionally, microbiologists are known to earn anywhere from $43,000 to $79,000 a year. This means that the top-earning microbiologists make $36,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a microbiologist. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a laboratory internship, research associate, research laboratory technician, and chemistry laboratory assistant.

Microbiologist Jobs You Might Like

Microbiologist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 9% of Microbiologists are proficient in Lab Equipment, Microbiology, and Environmental Monitoring. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Technical skills, and Detail oriented.

We break down the percentage of Microbiologists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Lab Equipment, 9%

    Operated lab equipment to include dissection microscope, dissolved oxygen and conductivity meters.

  • Microbiology, 8%

    Work duties included quality inspection of final product and training employees in fundamentals of microbiology and microscopy for food quality inspection.

  • Environmental Monitoring, 6%

    Conduct environmental monitoring on manufacturing facility.

  • Raw Materials, 6%

    Performed Microbiological Testing on raw materials and finished products (Microbial Limits testing, Suitability testing, Preservative Effectiveness testing).

  • Test Methods, 6%

    Read and interpret Standard Operational Procedures and test methods for biotechnology.

  • GMP, 4%

    Performed sterility testing on materials used in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical grade radioisotopes and therapeutic products under GMP Guidelines.

Most microbiologists list "lab equipment," "microbiology," and "environmental monitoring" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important microbiologist responsibilities here:

  • Detail oriented is also an important skill for microbiologists to have. This example of how microbiologists use this skill comes from a microbiologist resume, "microbiologists must be able to conduct scientific experiments and analyses with accuracy and precision." Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "perform, test and results evaluation of microbiology standards in an fda regulated industry, gmp's and usp oriented. "
  • A microbiologist responsibilities sometimes require "problem-solving skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "microbiologists use scientific experiments and analysis to find solutions to complex scientific problems." This resume example shows how this skill is used by microbiologists: "experienced in weighing and dissolution techniques performed environmental monitoring, sampling and water microbiology tests for hpc, total coliform/e. "
  • As part of the microbiologist description, you might find that one of the skills that might be helpful to the job is "time-management skills." A microbiologist resume included this snippet: "microbiologists usually need to meet deadlines when conducting research and laboratory tests" This skill could be useful in this scenario: "reduced microorganism identification times and additional biological test, with vitek instrumentation. "
  • Lastly, this career requires you to be skillful in "communication skills." According to microbiologist resumes, "microbiologists should be able to effectively communicate their research processes and findings so that knowledge may be applied correctly." This resume example highlights how microbiologist responsibilities rely on this skill: "attended all laboratory meetings, microbiology meetings, and department meetings to ensure communication was excellent between colleagues. "
  • See the full list of microbiologist skills.

    We've found that 75.5% of microbiologists have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 12.0% earned their master's degrees before becoming a microbiologist. While it's true that most microbiologists have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every nine microbiologists did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    The microbiologists who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied biology and microbiology, while a small population of microbiologists studied biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology and medical technician.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a microbiologist. We've found that most microbiologist resumes include experience from Aerotek, Medtronic, and Kelly Services. Of recent, Aerotek had 14 positions open for microbiologists. Meanwhile, there are 6 job openings at Medtronic and 5 at Kelly Services.

    Since salary is important to some microbiologists, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Integrated Resources Group, LanceSoft, and Henry M. Jackson Foundation for The Advancement of Military Medicine. If you were to take a closer look at Integrated Resources Group, you'd find that the average microbiologist salary is $80,030. Then at LanceSoft, microbiologists receive an average salary of $79,668, while the salary at Henry M. Jackson Foundation for The Advancement of Military Medicine is $79,430.

    View more details on microbiologist salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Merieux NutriSciences, Bausch + Lomb, and Merck & Co. These three companies have hired a significant number of microbiologists from these institutions.

    For the most part, microbiologists make their living in the pharmaceutical and health care industries. Microbiologists tend to make the most in the retail industry with an average salary of $74,325. The microbiologist annual salary in the health care and pharmaceutical industries generally make $71,713 and $64,538 respectively. Additionally, microbiologists who work in the retail industry make 19.6% more than microbiologists in the manufacturing Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious microbiologists are:

      What Laboratory Internships Do

      A laboratory intern is responsible for assisting laboratory operations and perform examinations and experiments under the supervision of tenured laboratory staff. Laboratory interns shadow all the laboratory processes, document their observations, and conduct an in-depth analysis of the results. They must have excellent knowledge of scientific procedures, demonstrating their class learnings to practical applications. A laboratory intern must be detail-oriented, especially on conducting and verifying the accuracy of research materials. It is also required for a laboratory intern to be a fast-learner, understanding the scientific complexities to master various approaches.

      In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take laboratory internship for example. On average, the laboratory interns annual salary is $27,865 lower than what microbiologists make on average every year.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between microbiologists and laboratory interns are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like lab equipment, raw materials, and gmp.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A microbiologist responsibility is more likely to require skills like "microbiology," "environmental monitoring," "test methods," and "usp." Whereas a laboratory internship requires skills like "chemistry," "python," "phd," and "c++." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      Laboratory interns receive the highest salaries in the health care industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $31,092. But microbiologists are paid more in the retail industry with an average salary of $74,325.

      Laboratory interns tend to reach lower levels of education than microbiologists. In fact, laboratory interns are 18.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 4.2% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Research Associate?

      A research associate is responsible for assisting the research team, organizing and interpreting findings, and verifying information before presenting the study to the board. Research associates duties also include gathering and comparing data from multiple sources, analyzing the current industry trends, creating draft outlines for reports, collecting individual contacts for interview purposes, and helping with the development of research procedures. A research associate must have excellent time-management skills and ability to multi-task, especially on meeting strict deadlines and conducting studies.

      Next up, we have the research associate profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a microbiologist annual salary. In fact, research associates salary difference is $2,915 lower than the salary of microbiologists per year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both microbiologists and research associates are known to have skills such as "lab equipment," "raw materials," and "gmp. "

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that microbiologist responsibilities requires skills like "microbiology," "environmental monitoring," "test methods," and "diagnostic tests." But a research associate might use skills, such as, "procedures," "research projects," "data collection," and "phd."

      In general, research associates study at higher levels of education than microbiologists. They're 5.8% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 4.2% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent in the field in the next 3-5 years?

      Patrick Schlievert Ph.D.

      Chair, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa

      Know the primary techniques that you are currently using: CRISPRcas9 is undeniably critical. Knowing how to use it and related methods are essential. Knowing how to knock out genes for use in animals is vital. Immunology today, and for the next many years, will be critical. Learn how to do the significant assays used in the field. The search for new antimicrobials will continue; know how they do their assays and discovery. Knowing molecular techniques for the pathogenesis of microbes is critical. I do not mean the physiology of pathogens, but instead how pathogens cause disease. Bacterial physiology is becoming de-emphasized. They know how immunology and pathogens of any sort interact are critical. Animal models that mimic the human condition are crucial. I would learn as many modern molecular and cellular techniques as you can that are currently being used. These will set you in good stead for the immediate future.Show more

      How a Research Laboratory Technician Compares

      Research laboratory technicians play a vital role in scientific laboratories. They perform varied duties and responsibilities, which include setting up, operating, and maintaining the laboratory equipment, assisting in laboratory-based research activities such as sampling, testing, and analyzing results, and providing technical support to the laboratory team members. In addition, they are expected to support the development and advancement of science and modern medicine. Other typical duties of research laboratory technicians include preparing samples and specimens, keeping abreast with current technical developments, and ensuring strict compliance with safety procedures.

      The research laboratory technician profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of microbiologists. The difference in salaries is research laboratory technicians making $21,328 lower than microbiologists.

      While looking through the resumes of several microbiologists and research laboratory technicians we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "lab equipment," "raw materials," and "gmp," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a microbiologist is likely to be skilled in "microbiology," "environmental monitoring," "test methods," and "usp," while a typical research laboratory technician is skilled in "laboratory equipment," "research projects," "chemistry," and "laboratory experiments."

      Interestingly enough, research laboratory technicians earn the most pay in the manufacturing industry, where they command an average salary of $53,591. As mentioned previously, microbiologists highest annual salary comes from the retail industry with an average salary of $74,325.

      When it comes to education, research laboratory technicians tend to earn lower education levels than microbiologists. In fact, they're 7.9% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 2.5% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Chemistry Laboratory Assistant

      Chemical Laboratory Assistants are professionals who help researchers and scientists in performing lab experiments and tests. Their tasks involve the maintenance, cleanliness, or sterilization of laboratory equipment or instruments. They perform physical or chemical laboratory tests assisting scientists in the quantitative or qualitative analyses of liquids, gaseous materials, and solids. The necessary skills and knowledge for this job include chemistry, lab reporting, chemical solutions, and safety procedures.

      Chemistry laboratory assistants tend to earn a lower pay than microbiologists by about $3,352 per year.

      According to resumes from both microbiologists and chemistry laboratory assistants, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "lab equipment," "ph meter," and "dna. "

      Each job requires different skills like "microbiology," "environmental monitoring," "raw materials," and "test methods," which might show up on a microbiologist resume. Whereas chemistry laboratory assistant might include skills like "chemistry," "laboratory experiments," "lab reports," and "hazardous materials."

      Chemistry laboratory assistants reach lower levels of education when compared to microbiologists. The difference is that they're 22.2% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 4.4% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.