A microbiologist is a scientist who studies and examines microscopic life such as bacteria and fungi. Most jobs in microbiology require at least one science-based university degree, although higher-level jobs may require graduate or even doctoral studies in the field. As microscope technology continues to advance, the job field of a microbiologist continues to exapand, giving qualified scientists a wealth of career opportunities.
Most microbiologist jobs involve work in a larger lab, either doing government, educational, or private research or processing samples for a for-profit company such as an environmental testing laboratory. Some microbiologist jobs require a scientist to specialize in a particular area, such as the food industry. The type of work a student finds interesting can contribute greatly to his or her choice of microbiologist jobs.
In the wake of global panic over possible epidemics, the field of microbial epidemiology can be an exciting area of work. Epidemiologists study the history, makeup and potential danger of infectious diseases. By conducting research and tests on possibly harmful microbes, scientists can help determine the path of a possible epidemic as well as work to discover vaccines and other ways to protect the public from possible outbreaks of disease. Microbiologist jobs that include epidemiology work are often connected to public health organizations, and may be an excellent choice for a scientist with an interest in public, rather than private, research.
Microbiologist jobs in the food industry can also be vital to the safety of food sources. Jobs in this area may include frequent sample-testing to ensure that food samples are free of illness-causing bacteria such as e.coli. By maintaining the safety of human food supply, microbiologists can quite literally contribute to saving lives.
Some doctors also have training in microbiology, or may even focus their careers around microbial diseases. Microbiologist jobs in the medical field may require a medical degree and practicing license, but can be wonderful for a scientist who also loves working as a doctor. For microbiologists without a medical degree, important research and testing is conducted in medical labs to help diagnose microbial illnesses and discover possible treatments.
Working in microbiology can be personally and intellectually rewarding for many science-minded people. With new discoveries constantly on the horizon, many consider the field to be ever-expanding in terms of potential jobs and new fields of research. Many universities with good science departments will include classes or majors in microbiology. Additionally, because of the public health services provided by microbiology, grants and scholarships may be available to students entering this field of study.