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All You Need To Know About Microbiology

Are viruses and bacteria two different organisms? Or are they of the same kind?

Before the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, people often misconstrued that all microorganisms are of the same kind and that they are termed Bacteria. But in reality, microorganisms are a diverse group of organisms that are not visible to the naked eye. Bacteria, Virus, Fungi, Archaea, Protozoa are all different kinds of microorganisms.

What is Microbiology?

Microbiology is a branch of science that deals with the study of minute organisms that are capable of causing a range of communicable diseases. Microbiologists work in a manner to improve the medicinal and industrial outcomes by harnessing the natural pursuits of microorganisms by studying their growth pattern, limitations and interactions. Microbiology encompasses a wide variety of types including medical microbiology, environmental microbiology, pharmaceutical microbiology, food microbiology etc.

What are the opportunities for Microbiologists?

Microbiologists engage in the fields of academia (college and universities) , medicine (hospitals and clinics), industrial pursuits and scientific research and development. In hospitals, Clinical microbiologists are imperative in analyzing samples and identifying the type of microorganism causing a disease. While in the academic arena, they function in performing research activities in academic laboratories along with teaching and designing novel course material. Many microbiologists also work as research scientists, where they study the activity of microorganisms under controlled environments and identify key elements essential in the development of medications and enhance the scope of disease treatment. Microbiologists can also work in booming industries like the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, agriculture etc.

Career pathways?

  • Biotechnologists
  • Clinical Laboratory Scientists
  • Personal Care Product and Cosmetic Scientists/Technologists
  • Water Quality Laboratory Technicians
  • Teachers and Professors

Best places to work for?

  • Healthcare organizations such as the National Health Service and private hospitals
  • Research Organizations
  • Sensient Technologies
  • Certified Laboratories Inc.
  • bioMérieux

How much do they earn?

Due to the diversity of the fields in microbiology and varying degree specializations, the salary scale varies. Beginning microbiologists in the United States can earn from about $20,000.

The average salary for a microbiologist is around $54,602 per year (source – payscale)

The salaries for microbiologists usually increase quickly with time, but those with higher degrees have a better chance of earning a higher salary.

To reap maximum benefits off this major it requires extensive skill, knowledge and experience. This job profile also requires long hours of work around and sometimes more than 40 hours per week.

Countries with highest scope for Microbiology?

  • USA
  • UK
  • Germany
  • France
  • Australia

How to map your career pathway?

If you want to pursue a career pathway in the field of microbiology, following Biology as a subject in High school helps in laying the foundation required to understand the major. 

A bachelor’s degree in microbiology or closely related field that offer substantial coursework in microbiology, such as biochemistry or cell biology is required for an entry level microbiologist job. These degree programs also include subjects like chemistry, biochemistry and physics in order to expand the knowledge basis. Some subjects with mathematical background facilitate Microbiologists in complex data analysis.

For prospective microbiologists, it is important to have sufficient laboratory experience before entering the workforce. Most microbiology undergraduate degree programs contain a compulsory laboratory-oriented course work, but additional laboratory coursework is endorsed.

Higher level jobs as clinical microbiologists require a Master’s in Microbiology and in some cases a PhD in the fields of life-sciences.

In order to carry out independent research and work in college and universities a PhD is of significance.

Is it your pathway?

If you are interested in working with microorganisms and the identifying novel and potential threats similar to the Covid-19 pandemic is something that stirs your curiosity, then this field is definitely up your ally.

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