Every microbiologist has a unique set of skills. Fortunately the career opportunities in the microbiology field are as diverse and the people who work in the industry. Depending on your experience and education, positions in a laboratory can range from Laboratory Assistant to Director of Research.
Whether you’re a college student who enjoys microbiology but isn’t sure what path to take, or a microbiology veteran looking for a new challenge, our list of microbiology careers has something for everyone.
Biotechnologists work in the agriculture, environment, food, and clinical industries. They manipulate the genes of a microorganism. An environmental biotechnologist might develop microorganisms that clean polluted water. A medical biotechnologist could produce medicines using techniques such as cell culture.
2. Clinical Laboratory Scientists
Clinical Laboratory Scientists (also called Medical Technologists) work in many areas including clinical, veterinary, and state and national health laboratories. They analyze blood, urine, tissue and other body specimens in order to determine the cause of an infection in a patient and what antibiotics are effective in treating the infection. This field is evolving as genetic and mass spectrophotometry techniques become common. Several employees at Microbiologics have backgrounds in clinical science.
3. Food Scientists and Technologists
Food microbiologists test food and beverage products for pathogens such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes and for spoilage microorganisms such as lactic acid bacteria. Food microbiologists help their company meet standards for product safety and food quality. Some Technical Support Specialists at Microbiologics have previously worked in the food industry including one of our blog writers, Jane Johnson.
Immunologists investigate how a body defends itself against disease. Research areas include biodefense, biofilms, genetics, HIV/AIDS, immunologic mechanisms, respiratory pathogens (including influenza) and vaccine development.
Mycologists study disease-causing fungus and fungus that produce antibiotics. Mycologists often work in clinical, pharmaceutical, and research laboratories. Mycologists also work in environmental laboratories that analyze indoor air for mold spores.
Parasitologists investigate how parasitic microorganisms infect living hosts, reproduce and cause disease.
7. Personal Care Product and Cosmetic Scientists and Technologists
Personal Care Product and Cosmetic Scientists and Technologists are responsible for ensuring the safety of products like shampoo, eye shadow, and baby wipes. They test products for disease-causing microorganisms such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
8. Pharmaceutical Scientists and Technologists
Pharmaceutical scientists and technologists are responsible for ensuring the safety of pharmaceutical products. Technologists test raw materials and finished products for disease-causing microorganisms such as Staphylococcus aureus and Burkholderia cepacia. Scientists research and develop new drugs and therapies.
Some microbiologists find sales to be a rewarding career. Because of their strong background in science, they are able to help customers choose the best microbiology product for their situation. Several of Microbiologics salespeople have a degree in microbiology or a related field including another one of our blog writers, Kelly Hedlund. Many members of our sales team are fluent in more than one language. They also have the opportunity to travel throughout the world visiting customer and distributors.
10. Science Writers
Readers appreciate well-written articles on current developments in microbiology. Recently, for example, there have been several excellent articles and broadcast reports about Zika virus including an update shared on our blog. Strong communication skills combined with a background in microbiology can be the foundation of a successful career as a science journalist or blogger.
11. Teachers and Professors
Teachers and professors share their passion for microbiology by educating high school, university, and post graduate students. They are responsible for creating and executing lesson plans that teach students the characteristics of microorganisms and the latest developments in the field of microbiology.
12. Technical Support Specialists
Technical Support Specialists provide technical assistance to customers using a manufacturer’s products. The Technical Support Department at Microbiologics helps customers choose microorganism strains, instructs customers on the use of products, and helps with hands-on customer and distributor trainings. Learn more about one of our Technical Support Specialists and blog writers, Kali Sorum, in this blog post.
Virologists study viruses that affect humans, animals, insects, bacteria, fungi, and plants in community, clinical, agricultural, and natural environments. They develop vaccines for influenza and other diseases.
14. Water Quality Laboratory Technicians
Municipalities, water treatment plants, and state and local agencies need technicians to test drinking water, treated water, and recreational water. Often the laboratories are testing for E. coli, an indicator of fecal contamination and a warning sign that water-borne pathogens such as Salmonella and Shigella may be present.
An excellent way to learn about microorganisms is to use them in the laboratory. Follow this link to view a list microorganisms used in universities then visit our website to find the right strain and format for your lab.
Searching for your dream job? Check out these microbiology job sites: