Office of Science Education skip navigation
Office of Science Education Office of Science Education LifeWorks Icons
LifeWorks
Search
Home > LifeWorks > Alphabetical List > Biologist, Microbiologist
LifeWorks Icons
Biologist, Microbiologist
 
 
Summary Job Description Education Skills, Abilities and Interests More Information
Education

Education RequiredMicrobiologists need at least a bachelor’s degree in microbiology or a closely related field such as biochemistry or cell biology. Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in biological sciences, including microbiology.
 
Most microbiology majors take introductory courses in microbial genetics and microbial physiology before taking classes in more advanced topics such as environmental microbiology and virology. Students also must take classes in other sciences, such as biochemistry, chemistry, and physics, because it is important for microbiologists to have a broad understanding of the sciences. Courses in statistics, mathematics, and computer science are important for microbiologists because they must be able to do complex data analysis.

It is important for prospective microbiologists to have laboratory experience before entering the workforce. Most undergraduate microbiology programs include a mandatory laboratory requirement, but additional laboratory coursework is recommended. Students also can gain valuable laboratory experience through internships with prospective employers such as drug manufacturers.
Microbiologists typically need a Ph.D. to carry out independent research and work in colleges and universities. Graduate students studying microbiology commonly specialize in a subfield such as bacteriology or virology. Ph.D. programs usually include class work, laboratory research, and completing a thesis or dissertation. It typically takes 4 to 6 years to complete a doctoral degree program in microbiology.

Recommended High School CoursesComputers and Electronics, Biology, Mathematics, English, Chemistry, Physics

Postsecondary Instructional ProgramsEducation and Training, English Language, Mathematics, Biology, Customer and Personal Service

Certification and LicensingNone