12 Types Of Microbiology Jobs (With Duties And Salary)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 25 March 2023

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Microbiologists are in demand in a large number of industries, especially with growing concerns about disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Working in this field, you can pick and choose where you want to work. To know which area best suits you, consider taking a look at the various applications of microbiology. In this article, we outline 12 different types of microbiology jobs, along with their primary duties and average salary and discuss how to become a microbiologist.

Types of microbiology jobs

Microbiology is a broad discipline, with its applications seen across industries. Here are some popular types of jobs for a microbiologist:

1. Biotechnologist

National average salary: ₹17,034 per month

Primary duties: Biotechnologists use technology for practical applications in agriculture, food production, environmental science and clinical work. One of the most popular applications of biotechnology is creating protein-based medical drugs, called pharmacology. A pharmacologist conducts medical research on animal tissue. Animals are chosen for trials to ensure the safety of humans. They may also work in agriculture, working on the genetic makeup of crops to produce healthier plants that can withstand extreme climates and pests. Senior biotechnologists may lead teams and advise businesses on the direction of product development and research topics.

Related: A Guide To Forensic Science Careers (With Salary Information)

2. Professor

National average salary: ₹53,421 per month

Primary duties: Microbiology is an advanced science, and so there are teaching opportunities for people who have the relevant education. Both high schools and colleges offer many teaching roles at high school, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Responsibilities for faculty at these institutions include preparing lesson plans, delivering lectures, supervising undergraduate research and exam assessment, all depending on each staff member's level of study and subject matter expertise.

3. Clinical laboratory scientist

National average salary: ₹29,602 per month

Primary duties: As a clinical laboratory scientist or medical technologist, a person can work for clinical, veterinary, health and research labs. Daily duties may include analysis of blood, tissues and other patient samples to diagnose a patient and suggest a suitable treatment to the respective physician. Working with advanced scientific equipment like microscopes and spectrophotometry devices, clinical laboratory scientists can help doctors treat conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Successful medical technologists need an expert understanding of microbiology, chemistry, biology, haematology, transfusion medicine, toxicology and molecular diagnostics.

Related: What Is A Lab Technician? (Definition, Skills And Education)

4. Biosafety professional

National average salary: ₹21,531 per month

Primary duties: The biosafety officer's primary goal is to ensure the hygiene and safety of hospitals, research facilities and clinical laboratories. With their knowledge and expertise, they protect employees and other visitors from being exposed to harmful microbes. A biosafety professional may also train healthcare professionals, researchers and lab technicians. They are usually in charge of developing safety protocols and consulting on the design of such facilities. Biosafety professionals have many work opportunities in colleges, universities, private businesses, research labs, hospitals and government agencies.

5. Immunologist

National average salary: ₹870,769 per year

Primary duties: Immunologists specialise in the essential biomedical science of immunology. This means that they deal with the disease-resistance ability of humans and other vertebrates, working to improve the way the body fights against diseases. An immunologist may work as a fully laboratory-based research scientist or as a physician-scientist who carries out research and takes care of patients. Common research areas include respiratory pathogens, HIV, vaccine development and biodefense. Immunologists may work in a laboratory setting to experiment with cells and genes and find cures for persistent diseases.

6. Water quality scientist

National average salary: ₹16,798 per month

Primary duties: Water quality experts help institutions meet water quality guidelines. If they work for the government, they may develop solutions to water quality issues and work on regulations and policies. They can specialise in drinking water, groundwater or surface water. In a laboratory setting, a water quality scientist monitors and analyses water quality based on set parameters. Their responsibilities include collecting and analysing water samples, visiting sites susceptible to pollution or contamination, finding the reasons for low water quality, investigating sources of contamination, providing advice on how to avoid water pollution and executing emergency actions in major pollution cases.

7. Business analyst

National average salary: ₹42,296 per month

Primary duties: With expertise in microbiology, business analysts can help businesses investigate a scientific market, and guide them on business strategies and decisions with regard to this market. For instance, someone in this role could be the in-house expert of a firm that is planning to invest in a biopharmaceutical startup. Business analysts can choose to work within a company or with multiple companies as independent contractors.

8. Salesperson

National average salary: ₹16,358 per month

Primary duties: Some microbiology experts work in the field of sales. Similar to the business analyst role, they use microbiology expertise combined with another developed skill. Salespeople with a background in microbiology can help their employer or customers choose the right microbiology product for their business. For instance, they may help clients evaluate microbiology-related transactions such as the procurement of a DNA-modified strain of a virus.

9. Cosmetic scientist

National average salary: ₹18,868 per month

Primary duties: In this field, scientists create cosmetic products for skin care and hair care. Research and development in the field of cosmetics require advanced technical skills. As an expert in microbiology, a cosmetic scientist's responsibilities include checking the physical and chemical stability of a beauty product. Products like lotions, creams and foundations need some form of preservative to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can spoil the product and affect the consumer. During the conception of products, a scientist may work with the formulator to understand the product's microbiological robustness. Research in microbiology helps choose the right preservation system.

10. Pharmaceutical manufacturer

National average salary: ₹16,138 per month

Primary duties: Working in clinical or pharmaceutical industries or within research labs, a mycologist studies fungal pathogens (sources of disease) as well as fungi that produce antibiotics (cures for diseases). Another role for mycologists is in environmental laboratories, analysing indoor air for dangerous mould spores. Virologists study viruses that affect humans, plants, animals and other living creatures. They study disease-causing patterns and work on vaccines and cures.

Related: 10 Pharmacogenomics Careers To Consider (With Job Duties)

11. Technical support specialist

National average salary: ₹24,655 per month

Primary duties: Businesses that manufacture drugs and other biological products need microbiology experts on their customer service team. Someone with this knowledge is essential in such a role, as only they may be able to provide expert assistance to customers. Technical support specialists with a background in microbiology can help consumers select microorganism strains for purchase, guide them on matters of product usage, and conduct training sessions for consumers and distributors.

12. Microbiology lab manager

National average salary: ₹4,81,409 per year

Primary duties: To allow scientists to focus on their research and testing, lab managers take care of logistical concerns like staff scheduling, safety measures and budgeting. This role requires microbiology expertise, as only someone who has studied microbiology can oversee lab operations. Those who have a few years of experience working as a microbiology lab technician can apply for the lab manager position.

How to become a microbiologist

Since most types of microbiology jobs involve research, employers often prefer candidates with a master's degree in microbiology or a related field. Advanced jobs come with expectations of research credentials and experience as well. Here are the steps you can take to become a microbiologist:

  1. Complete your schooling. Unlike some other disciplines, microbiology requires a college degree at least. If you can choose your subjects in high school, make sure your curriculum covers biology as a subject.

  2. Earn a bachelor's degree. You can enrol in a BSc in microbiology or a related course, like biology or biochemistry.

  3. Earn a master's degree. You can choose to pursue MSc in Microbiology or sign up for a specialisation that interests you, like bioinformatics, genetics or medical microbiology.

  4. Further your education. Once you earn your master's degree, either pursue a PhD or explore entry-level jobs in microbiology.

Related: How To Become A Microbiologist: A Complete Guide

How much do microbiologists make?

Microbiology is involved in many industries and offers a range of opportunities according to your skillset and interests. Your salary may vary according to your employer, seniority and role. The average salary of a senior microbiologist is ₹24,165 a month.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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