How Do I Become a Mycologist?

Patti Kate

To become a mycologist you will need to gain extensive knowledge in microbiology and other branches of science. If you're still in school, take biology courses, so you may learn more about fungal mold and its effects. Botany courses are also helpful for pursuing mycologist careers. In addition, read all you can regarding the subject, and learn about microscopy. Look for part-time work in a science laboratory or a food processing plant, areas where mycologists often work.

A compound microscope, one of the tools used by a mycologist.
A compound microscope, one of the tools used by a mycologist.

Working in a lab where mold is being cultivated can be risky for those who are inexperienced. If you want to become a mycologist, it is essential to know how various species of fungi can affect humans. Being exposed to some forms of fungi can pose serious health risks, therefore you must know how to protect yourself from harm. This may include the use of protective clothing, gloves and masks.

A mycologist must have an extensive knowledge of microbiology.
A mycologist must have an extensive knowledge of microbiology.

If you are a student, seek out science projects that pertain to the study of fungal mold. This can give you insight regarding what is required to become a mycologist. It's also a good idea to purchase a microscope and several prepared slides. Although it may be expensive, buy a lab quality compound microscope with good magnification. Alternately, you can use a laboratory microscope at your school or university.

A medical mycologist molecular biologist may work in a hospital or other medical facility. If you want to become a mycologist who works in the medical field, gain experience at hospitals. Look for an internship job in the biology lab of a medical center. This can give you a first-hand look at what type of work a mycologist actually does. Hands-on training is often the best experience, so don't hesitate to ask for that opportunity.

In your pursuit to become a mycologist, determine which specialty interests you most. Perhaps medical mycology is not your interest. You may wish to become a food safety inspector or someone who works in environmental safety. If so, learn the proper measures for preventing mold growth.

After you've gained some experience, contact a mycologist at your local medical center or hospital. Mention your interest to become a mycologist and apply for a job as an assistant. While you're employed as an intern or assistant, pursue your education further by earning a degree in microbiology. A degree can help you attain your goals to become a mycologist.

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