Microbiologists

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Analytical: 97
  • Creative: 62
  • Purpose: 57
  • Supported: 55
  • Social: 36

What Microbiologists Do

Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites. They try to understand how these organisms live, grow, and interact with their environments.

Work Environment

Microbiologists work in laboratories and offices, where they conduct scientific experiments and analyze the results. Most microbiologists work full time and keep regular hours.

How to Become a Microbiologist

A bachelor’s degree in microbiology or a closely related field is needed for entry-level microbiologist jobs. A Ph.D. is typically needed to carry out independent research and to work in colleges and universities.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Biological scientists

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of microbiologists is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. More microbiologists will be needed to contribute to basic research, solve problems encountered in industrial production processes, and monitor environmental conditions to ensure the public’s health and safety. However, employment of microbiologists in the federal government is projected to decline.

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    Growth & Trends

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    This occupation supported 20,100 jobs in 2012 and 22,400 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 11.4%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 7.5% in 2022 to 21,600 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 20,400, compared with an observed value of 22,400, 9.8% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 4.0% in 2024 to 23,200 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 21,900 jobs for 2024, 5.6% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation.