Careers in Microbiology

Studying microbiology can help you prepare to go to medical, dental, physician’s assistant or graduate school following graduation. If you don’t pursue professional schools, you are still highly employable as a microbiologist in private industries or governmental agencies.

Science Graduates are in Demand

Every year, the demand for science graduates continues to grow. Dozens of industries are experiencing rapid growth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related jobs. These jobs are being created much faster than they can be filled. From the president’s State of the Union address to the latest article from industry blogs, everyone is trying to figure out how to fill the need for these highly skilled jobs.

Microbiology Jobs are in Many Industries

Microbiologists investigate the fascinating world of organisms too small to be seen with the naked eye. Although known by many different titles, a microbiologist is a scientist who studies living organisms and infectious agents many of which can only be seen with a microscope. They also study the interaction of microorganisms with people. Everyday microbiologists around the world explore, investigate and discover how these organisms, called microbes exist and affect our lives.Microbiologists can specialize in a variety of areas. From the food to the space industries, and everywhere in between, there are many opportunities for microbiologists! The following is a partial list of descriptions of some of the many career options available to microbiologists.

Bacteriologist: Seek to answer basic questions about bacterial growth, metabolism, diversity and evolution.

Biochemist: Discover and teach us how organisms obtain energy, consume nutrients and reproduce.

Biotechnologist: Manipulate genes in order to modify microorganisms. Their work produced novel organisms that make new products for human use. (i.e. insulin, medicine, grocery store items).

Cell Biologists: Explore the actions of molecules on and in the cell. Their investigations determine how microorganisms and cell function.

Clinical Microbiologist: Determine the cause of infections in humans and animals and what antimicrobials may be effective for treatment. They play a central role in the detection of new infectious agents.

Dentistry: Dentistry also requires specialized training leading to a D.D.S. degree following college. Click here for information on pre-dental training and application to dental schools. 

Environmental Scientists: Investigate the effects of biological, chemical, and geophysical activity on the environment. Their studies provide information necessary for helping humanity cope with the consequences of life.

Geneticists: The language of life is written with four letters, A, C, G, and T. Each letter taken by itself is meaningless. But together the letter create a code of life. Geneticists study the process by which organisms inherit and transmit genetic information.

Immunologists: Investigate the body’s defense against disease. to answer basic questions about bacterial growth, metabolism, diversity and evolution.

Medicine: The practice of medicine requires an M.D. degree following a four-year undergraduate training program. Click here for details of premedical training at Weber State and information on applying to medical schools. 

Mycologist: Explore the various uses of molds and yeasts for the production of antibiotics as well as food.

Parasitologists: Investigate the complex life cycles of and adaptations made by organisms which depend on other organisms for survival.

Science Writer: Write articles for the general public as well as for microbiology professionals. They must have a thorough understanding of language, grammar and science.

Teaching: Biology is taught at all secondary schools, colleges and universities. Thus, there is a continual demand for qualified teachers.

  • Secondary School Teaching: Many people interested in biology find their greatest rewards in introducing other people to the subject. Teaching at the secondary school level may be a very satisfying career for such people. Teaching in secondary schools requires a bachelor's degree and state certification. Secondary school teachers must be generalists capable of giving students a broad spectrum of knowledge about living organisms.

  • College and University Teaching: Teaching at the college and university level requires more specialized training. Generally, a Ph.D. degree is required. College teaching positions are highly competitive. Success as a college or university professor is increasingly dependent upon maintenance of active research as well as excellence in teaching.  For information about preparation for graduate study in zoology click here.

Virologists: Study viruses and bacteriophages. Virologists are interested in how viruses change and are always on the alert for new types.


 Microbiologist Salary



The median annual wage of microbiologists was $65,920 in 2010. That works out to be $31.69 per hour. Check out the occupational handbook for more information on the job outlook for microbiologists.


Over 90% job placement

The job market remains consistent and strong for our B.S. graduates. About 95% of the first jobs secured by our alumni are in fields which require microbiology experience. Microbiologists work in a variety of industries, including:

  • Health departments
  • Water districts
  • Various governmental agencies
  • Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals or hospital supplies
  • Biological testing laboratories
  • Clinical laboratories
  • University research assistants
  • Graduate schools

Learn more about Microbiology jobs
American Society for Microbiology