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Become A Senior Microbiologist

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Working As A Senior Microbiologist

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Microbiologist Do

Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites. They try to understand how these organisms live, grow, and interact with their environments.

Duties

Microbiologists typically do the following:

  • Plan and conduct complex research projects, such as improving sterilization procedures or developing new drugs to combat infectious diseases
  • Perform laboratory services that are used in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses
  • Supervise the work of biological technicians and other workers and evaluate the accuracy of their results
  • Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms for study
  • Identify and classify microorganisms found in specimens collected from humans, plants, animals, or the environment
  • Monitor the effect of microorganisms on plants, animals, other microorganisms, or the environment
  • Keep up with current knowledge by reviewing the findings of other researchers and by attending conferences
  • Prepare technical reports, publish research papers, and make recommendations based on their research findings
  • Present research findings to scientists, nonscientist executives, engineers, other colleagues, and the public

Many microbiologists work in research and development conducting basic research or applied research. The aim of basic research is to increase scientific knowledge. An example is growing strains of bacteria in various conditions to learn how they react to those conditions. Other microbiologists conduct applied research and develop new products to solve particular problems. For example, microbiologists may develop genetically engineered crops, better biofuels, or new vaccines.

Microbiologists use computers and a wide variety of sophisticated laboratory instruments to do their experiments. Electron microscopes are used to study bacteria, and advanced computer software is used to analyze the growth of microorganisms found in samples.

It is increasingly common for microbiologists to work on teams with technicians and scientists in other fields, because many scientific research projects involve multiple disciplines. Microbiologists may work with medical scientists or biochemists while researching new drugs, or they may work in medical diagnostic laboratories alongside physicians and nurses to help prevent, treat, and cure diseases. For more information, see the profiles on biochemists and biophysicists, physicians and surgeons, and registered nurses.

The following are examples of types of microbiologists:

Bacteriologists study the growth, development, and other properties of bacteria, including the positive and negative effects that bacteria have on plants, animals, and humans.

Clinical microbiologists perform a wide range of clinical laboratory tests on specimens collected from plants, humans, and animals to aid in detection of disease. Clinical and medical microbiologists whose work involves directly researching human health may be classified as medical scientists.

Environmental microbiologists study the ways in which microorganisms interact with the environment. They may study the use of microbes to clean up areas contaminated by heavy metals or study how microbes could aid crop growth.

Industrial microbiologists study and solve problems related to industrial production processes. They may examine microbial growth found in the pipes of a chemical factory, monitor the impact industrial waste has on the local ecosystem, or oversee the microbial activities used in cheese production to ensure quality.

Mycologists study the properties of fungi such as yeast and mold, as well as the ways fungi can be used (for example, in food or the environment) to benefit society.

Parasitologists study the life cycle of parasites, the parasite-host relationship, and how parasites adapt to different environments. They may investigate the outbreak and control of parasitic diseases such as malaria.

Public health microbiologists examine specimens in order to track, control, and prevent communicable diseases and other health hazards. They typically provide laboratory services for local health departments and community health programs.

Virologists study the structure, development, and other properties of viruses and any effects viruses have on infected organisms.

Many people with a microbiology background become high school teachers or postsecondary teachers.

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How To Become A Senior Microbiologist

A bachelor’s degree in microbiology or a closely related field is needed for entry-level microbiologist jobs. A Ph.D. is needed to carry out independent research and to work in universities.

Education

Microbiologists need at least a bachelor’s degree in microbiology or a closely related field such as biochemistry or cell biology. Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in biological sciences, including microbiology.

Most microbiology majors take core courses in microbial genetics and microbial physiology and elective classes such as environmental microbiology and virology. Students also must take classes in other sciences, such as biochemistry, chemistry, and physics, because it is important for microbiologists to have a broad understanding of the sciences. Courses in statistics, mathematics, and computer science are important for microbiologists because they must be able to do complex data analysis.

It is important for prospective microbiologists to have laboratory experience before entering the workforce. Most undergraduate microbiology programs include a mandatory laboratory requirement, but additional laboratory coursework is recommended. Students also can gain valuable laboratory experience through internships with prospective employers such as drug manufacturers.

Microbiologists typically need a Ph.D. to carry out independent research and work in colleges and universities. Graduate students studying microbiology commonly specialize in a subfield such as bacteriology or immunology. Ph.D. programs usually include class work, laboratory research, and completing a thesis or dissertation.

Training

Many microbiology Ph.D. holders begin their careers in temporary postdoctoral research positions. During their postdoctoral appointment, they work with experienced scientists as they continue to learn about their specialties and develop a broader understanding of related areas of research.

Postdoctoral positions typically offer the opportunity to publish research findings. A solid record of published research is essential to getting a permanent college or university faculty position.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Microbiologists should be able to effectively communicate their research processes and findings so that knowledge may be applied correctly.

Detail oriented. Microbiologists must be able to conduct scientific experiments and analyses with accuracy and precision.

Interpersonal skills. Microbiologists typically work on research teams and thus must work well with others toward a common goal. Many also lead research teams and must be able to motivate and direct other team members.

Logical-thinking skills. Microbiologists draw conclusions from experimental results through sound reasoning and judgment.

Math skills. Microbiologists regularly use complex mathematical equations and formulas in their work. Therefore, they need a broad understanding of mathematics, including calculus and statistics.

Observation skills. Microbiologists must constantly monitor their experiments. They need to keep a complete, accurate record of their work, noting conditions, procedures, and results.

Perseverance. Microbiological research involves substantial trial and error, and microbiologists must not become discouraged in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Microbiologists use scientific experiments and analysis to find solutions to complex scientific problems.

Time-management skills. Microbiologists usually need to meet deadlines when conducting research and laboratory tests. They must be able to manage time and prioritize tasks efficiently while maintaining their quality of work.

Advancement

Microbiologists typically receive greater responsibility and independence in their work as they gain experience. They also gain greater responsibility through certification and higher education. Ph.D. microbiologists usually lead research teams and control the direction and content of projects.

Some microbiologists move into managerial positions, often as natural sciences managers. Those who pursue management careers spend much of their time on administrative tasks such as preparing budgets and schedules.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certifications are available for clinical microbiologists and for those who specialize in the fields of food safety and quality and pharmaceuticals and medical devices. They may help workers gain employment in the occupation or advance to new positions of responsibility. Certifications are not mandatory for the majority of work done by microbiologists.

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Do you work as a Senior Microbiologist?

Average Yearly Salary
$80,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$39,000
Min 10%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$164,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
The Dow Chemical Company
Highest Paying City
Denver, CO
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.3 years
How much does a Senior Microbiologist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior Microbiologist in the United States is $80,923 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $39,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $164,000.

Real Senior Microbiologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Microbiologist Total Green Technologies, LLC Raleigh, NC Jan 15, 2013 $120,000
Senior Microbiologist Bristol-Myers Squibb Company New Brunswick, NJ Aug 04, 2014 $90,000
Senior Microbiologist Ecological Laboratories, Inc. Cape Coral, FL Aug 28, 2013 $75,000
Microbiologist, SR. Siemens Healthcare Diagnostic Inc. West Sacramento, CA Sep 03, 2014 $74,558 -
$100,653
SR. Microbiologist Polyorganic Technologies Corp. Cranbury, NJ Sep 27, 2016 $61,360
Senior Microbiologist/Biochemist L.F. Lambert Spawn, Co., Inc. Coatesville, PA Sep 29, 2010 $60,060
Senior Microbiologist Hospira, Inc. McPherson, KS Mar 15, 2015 $50,573 -
$92,153
Microbiologist-Senior University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI Feb 04, 2010 $48,231
Senior Microbiologist Hospira, Inc. McPherson, KS Mar 15, 2015 $43,000
SR. Microbiologist Polyorganic Technologies Corp. Cranbury, NJ Sep 19, 2013 $41,600
SR. Microbiologist Polyorganic Technologies Corp. Cranbury, NJ Sep 27, 2013 $41,600
SR. Microbiologist Polyorganic Technologies Corp. Cranbury, NJ Sep 28, 2013 $41,600

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Top Skills for A Senior Microbiologist

  1. Microbiology
  2. Analytical Methods
  3. Laboratory Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Perform daily temperature monitoring of all GMP incubators and refrigerators in the Microbiology Laboratory to support GLP.
  • Improved analytical methods resulting in increase of efficiency, efficacy and economy.
  • Led training programs in food microbiology, food safety/spoilage, contamination investigations, product/package defect analysis, and laboratory procedures.
  • Developed and executed process validation protocols for steam, gamma and ethylene oxide sterilization cycles.
  • Approved/developed all sampling plans, testing protocols, and microbiological release criteria for raw materials/finished products.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Microbiologists

  1. California
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Georgia
  4. Iowa
  5. Virginia
  6. Maryland
  7. New Jersey
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Montana
  10. North Dakota
  • (71 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)

Senior Microbiologist Demographics

Gender

Female

43.9%

Male

42.4%

Unknown

13.7%
Ethnicity

White

56.0%

Asian

14.6%

Hispanic or Latino

14.5%

Black or African American

10.5%

Unknown

4.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.2%

French

15.4%

Russian

7.7%

Chinese

7.7%
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Senior Microbiologist Education

Schools

University of Florida

8.2%

Purdue University

6.8%

University of Georgia

6.8%

Long Island University - C W Post Campus

5.5%

Johns Hopkins University

5.5%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

5.5%

University of Texas at El Paso

5.5%

South Dakota State University

5.5%

Michigan State University

5.5%

University of Maryland - University College

4.1%

Monmouth University

4.1%

Arizona State University

4.1%

University of South Florida

4.1%

University of Puerto Rico - Humacao

4.1%

Ohio State University

4.1%

Auburn University-Montgomery

4.1%

California College of the Arts

4.1%

School of Health

4.1%

University of California - Davis

4.1%

Boise State University

4.1%
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Majors

Microbiology

31.2%

Biology

28.7%

Biotechnology

5.2%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

4.3%

Business

4.0%

Food Science

4.0%

Public Health

2.8%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.5%

Medical Technician

2.2%

Management

1.9%

Food And Nutrition

1.9%

Chemistry

1.9%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

1.5%

Nursing

1.5%

Health Care Administration

1.2%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

1.2%

Criminal Justice

1.2%

Science, Technology, And Society

0.9%

Genetics

0.9%

Psychology

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.1%

Masters

31.3%

Other

12.0%

Doctorate

10.9%

Associate

3.1%

Certificate

1.8%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.3%
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