Summary Report for:
19-1022.00 - Microbiologists
Investigate the growth, structure, development, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
Sample of reported job titles: Bacteriologist, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Clinical Microbiologist, Microbiological Analyst, Microbiological Laboratory Technician, Microbiologist, Microbiology Laboratory Manager, Professor of Microbiology, Quality Control Microbiologist (QC Microbiologist), Study Director
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Investigate the relationship between organisms and disease including the control of epidemics and the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
- Prepare technical reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes.
- Supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.
- Provide laboratory services for health departments, for community environmental health programs and for physicians needing information for diagnosis and treatment.
- Use a variety of specialized equipment such as electron microscopes, gas chromatographs and high pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence activated cell sorters and phosphoimagers.
- Examine physiological, morphological, and cultural characteristics, using microscope, to identify and classify microorganisms in human, water, and food specimens.
- Study growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of bacteria and other microorganisms to understand their relationship to human, plant, and animal health.
- Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture, aeration, temperature, and nutrition.
- Observe action of microorganisms upon living tissues of plants, higher animals, and other microorganisms, and on dead organic matter.
- Study the structure and function of human, animal and plant tissues, cells, pathogens and toxins.
- Conduct chemical analyses of substances such as acids, alcohols, and enzymes.
- Monitor and perform tests on water, food, and the environment to detect harmful microorganisms or to obtain information about sources of pollution, contamination, or infection.
- Develop new products and procedures for sterilization, food and pharmaceutical supply preservation, or microbial contamination detection.
- Research use of bacteria and microorganisms to develop vitamins, antibiotics, amino acids, grain alcohol, sugars, and polymers.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Air samplers or collectors — Bioaerosol impactors; Dichotomous particulate matter samplers; Liquid impingers; Multistage agar impactors
- Anaerobic chamber — Anaerobic growth chambers
- Analytical balances
- Automated cover slipping equipment — Automatic coverslipper
- Automated microscope stages — Micromanipulators
- Benchtop centrifuges — Desktop centrifuges; High-speed centrifuges
- Binocular light compound microscopes — Bright field light microscopes; Compound binocular light microscopes
- Blotting or transfer apparatus — Gel transfer apparatus; Semidry blotting apparatus
- Calorimeters — Microcalorimeters
- Circulating baths — Fecal coliform water baths
- Conductivity meters
- Counters — Bubble counters
- Cryogenic or liquid nitrogen freezers — Liquid nitrogen storage equipment
- Culture tubes
- Darkfield microscopes — Phase contrast microscopes
- Decontamination shower — Chemical safety showers
- Deoxyribonucleic sequence analyzers — Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA sequencers
- Desktop computers
- Developing tanks — Darkroom developing tanks
- Digital cameras — Charge coupled device CCD color digital cameras
- Dissolved oxygen meters
- Dropping pipettes — Micropipettes
- Dry baths or heating blocks — Dry bath incubators; Heat blocks
- Dry heat or hot air sterilizers — Bacticinerators
- Dry wall single chamber carbon dioxide incubators — Direct heat dry wall carbon dioxide CO2 incubators
- Drying cabinets or ovens — Drying ovens
- Electronic counters — Colony counters
- Electronic encyclopedias — Hardy Diagnostics HUGO
- Electronic multichannel pipetters — 8-channel electronic pipettes
- Electronic toploading balances
- Electroporation cuvettes — Electroporators
- Eyewashers or eye wash stations — Eyewash fountains
- Fire extinguishers
- Fluorescent microscopes
- Forced air or mechanical convection general purpose incubators — Bacteriological incubators
- Freeze dryers or lyopholizers — Freeze dryers
- French pressure cells — French presses
- Gas burners — Laboratory gas burners
- Gas chromatographs — Gas chromatographs GC
- Gas generators — Gas-powered generators
- Gel boxes — Gel electrophoresis boxes; Gel support frames
- Gel documentation systems
- General purpose refrigerators or refrigerator freezers — Laboratory refrigerators
- General purpose trays — Multiwell trays
- HEPA filtered enclosures — HEPA filtered biosafety cabinets
- High pressure liquid chromatograph chromatography — High pressure liquid chromatographs HPLC
- Homogenizers — Tissue homogenizers
- Hybridization ovens or incubators — Hybridization ovens
- Impedance meters
- Infra red or ultra violet absorption analyzers — Infrared gas analyzers
- Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers; Infrared IR spectrometers; Mid-infrared spectrometers
- Inverted microscopes
- Laboratory adapters or connectors or fittings — Erlenmeyer flask clamps
- Laboratory balances — Micro balances; Precision pan balances
- Laboratory beakers
- Laboratory flasks — Erlenmeyer flasks
- Laboratory funnels
- Laboratory graduated cylinders — Graduated glass laboratory cylinders
- Laboratory heat exchange condensers — Laboratory heat exchange condensing devices
- Laboratory hotplates — Heating stirplates
- Laboratory incubator thermometers — Recording thermometers
- Laboratory membrane filters — Laboratory membrane filtering devices; Membrane filtration systems
- Laboratory mixers — Rotator mixers; Serology rotators
- Laboratory staining dishes or jars — Coplin jars; Staining dishes
- Laboratory vacuum pumps
- Laboratory washing machines — Laboratory glassware washers
- Laminar flow cabinets or stations — Laminar flow cabinets
- Laser printers
- Lasers — Argon lasers; Helium-neon lasers
- Liquid chromatographs — Liquid chromatograph devices
- Magnetic stirrers — Magnetic laboratory stirrers
- Manual or electronic hematology differential cell counters — Automatic cell sorters
- Mass spectrometers
- Microbiology analyzers — Automated microbial identification systems; Flow cytometers; Fluorescence activated cell sorters
- Microbiology fermentation equipment — Bioreactors
- Microbiology inoculation loops or needles — Inoculating loops
- Microbiology slide stainers — Automated gram stainers
- Microplate readers — Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay ELISA plate readers; Multiplate readers
- Microscope objectives — Oil-immersion microscope lenses
- Microscope slides
- Multipurpose or general test tubes — Laboratory test tubes
- Notebook computers
- Orbital shaking water baths
- Peristaltic pumps
- Personal computers
- Petri plates or dishes — Petri dishes; Sectioned petri plates
- pH meters
- Photo attachments for microscopes — Photomicroscopes
- Pipette pumps
- Pipetter inserts or accessories — Rechargeable electronic pipette fillers
- Protective coats — Protective laboratory coats
- Protective gloves
- Refrigerated baths — Refrigerated recirculating water baths
- Refrigerated benchtop centrifuges
- Robotic or automated liquid handling systems — Automatic pipetters
- Rotating shakers — Floor shakers
- Safety glasses
- Safety hoods — Biological safety hoods
- Safety shoes
- Scanning electron microscopes — Scanning electron microscopes SEM
- Shaking incubators — Orbital shaking incubators
- Specialty plates for bacteria — Prepared agar plates
- Specimen collection container — Water sample collection containers
- Spectrometers — Raman spectrometers; Visible spectrometers
- Spectrophotometers — Visible/UV light scanning spectrophotometers
- Spirit burners — Alcohol lamps
- Steam autoclaves or sterilizers — Autoclaves; Electronic sterilizers; Steroclaves
- Stereo or dissecting light microscopes — Dissecting microscopes
- Temperature cycling chambers or thermal cyclers — Thermocyclers
- Test tube racks
- Tissue culture flasks — Culture bottles
- Transmission electron microscopes — Transmission electron microscopes TEM
- Ultra cold or ultralow upright cabinets or freezers — Ultra cold biological freezers
- Ultra pure water systems — Deionized DI water systems; Water purification systems
- Ultrasonic disintegrators — Sonicators
- Ultraviolet UV lamps
- Vortex mixers
- X ray diffraction equipment — X ray diffractometers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — BD Biosciences CellQuest; Protein Explorer *; TreeView *; Verity Software House ModFit LT (see all 29 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Database management software; WHONET *
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Information retrieval or search software — ComBase *
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Medical software — Computer Service & Support CLS-2000 Laboratory System; Orchard Software Orchard Harvest LIS
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Staffing Organizational Units — Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Detailed Work Activities
- Research microbiological or chemical processes or structures.
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Cultivate micro-organisms for study, testing, or medical preparations.
- Analyze chemical compounds or substances.
- Research diseases or parasites.
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Inspect condition of natural environments.
- Monitor environmental impacts of production or development activities.
- Analyze biological samples.
- Prepare biological samples for testing or analysis.
- Operate laboratory or field equipment.
- Classify organisms based on their characteristics or behavior.
- Examine characteristics or behavior of living organisms.
- Develop new or advanced products or production methods.
- Electronic Mail — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 76% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 77% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 90% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 50% responded “Some freedom.”
- Contact With Others — 45% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 59% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 50% responded “Some freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 48% responded “Very important.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 43% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 48% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Letters and Memos — 52% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Time Pressure — 41% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Very important.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 32% responded “Every day.”
- Level of Competition — 48% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 45% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 48% responded “Moderate results.”
- Consequence of Error — 32% responded “Very serious.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 27% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 55% responded “About half the time.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 43% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Public Speaking — 36% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Physical Proximity — 36% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, sports medicine physicians, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and controllers.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: IR
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$32.59 hourly, $67,790 annual|
|Employment (2012)||20,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Slower than average (3% to 7%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||7,100|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Microbiologists . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.