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Microbiology Careers

Like medicine, microbiology isn’t a single subject, but rather an umbrella, which offers a range of specializations. Microbiology has spawned a plethora of jobs in wide spectrum of industries from pharma to cosmetics.

Microbiologists have a very important role to play in the scheme of things in the future, with research being the main field of expertise. Applying the research findings can greatly improve the quality of our lives. In this way microbiology makes an important contribution to biotechnology, an area of science that applies industrial techniques to biological processes.

The range of job opportunities for microbiologists is as varied as the organisms they examine under their microscopes. Some of the career opportunities are as follows:

Laboratory Technician

Laboratory technician is the person behind the scores of tests and experiments performed within the laboratory. These people assist scientists engage in research, development, analysis, or scientific investigations, by carrying out a variety of technical and experimental tasks using established or prescribed procedures and techniques.

To be a Laboratory Technician one usually requires a Diploma in Applied Science.

Research Assistant (in Genetics, and Biochemistry)

Research Assistant provides the necessary support to researchers. They provide technical assistance, as assigned, in the collection, processing, and coordination of data, samples, and/or specimens for a specified research study or group of studies. They work within established research protocol and under specific instructions as to method, process, and technique to perform or assist with routine tests, experiments, and/or procedures relevant to the field of study.

To be a Research Assistant one requires at least a Bachelor of Science with Honours. Job experience is usually required.


A researcher is a driving force behind any kind of major innovations in microbiological field, not only does he throw up new facts but also delves deep into the past to decipher a pattern. They make authoritative decisions and recommendations that have a major impact on extensive scientific research activities. They exercise a high degree of creativity, foresight, and mature judgment in planning, organising, and guiding extensive scientific research programs and activities of outstanding novelty and/or importance.

To be a Researcher one requires at least a Master of Science or a Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology. Experience is a must.

But these are not the only jobs that are available, microbiologists are involved in a plethora of activities, namely:

  • Research into the structure, function, ecology, biotechnology and genetics of micro-organisms.

  • Research into the structure and functioning of human, animal and plant tissues and cells.

  • Studies into the identification, effects and control of human, plant and animal pathogens and toxins.

  • Clinical or laboratory studies to test, evaluate and screen drugs and pharmaceuticals.

  • Molecular or biochemical studies and experiments into genetic expression, gene manipulation and recombinant DNA technology.