A career in microbiology can be highly rewarding financially. Of course, your location, experience and education play an important role in how much you earn. But it is interesting to note that the average annual salary of a microbiologist ranges around US $72,000. Here’s a detailed look into how much a microbiologist can earn.
Microbiology is a branch of biology that deals with the study and research of all living organisms that can be viewed only through a microscope. The basic job of any microbiologist entails studying the effects of microbes like bacteria, viruses and fungi, on human life. Here, we focus on how much a microbiologist is capable of earning, followed by a short description of what this job entails.
Salary Range of a Microbiologist
The following data has been compiled from various sources, and may be subject to change based on industry, location, experience, and education.
*All figures mentioned are in US Dollars.
- According to the website PayScale, an individual with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology can earn in the range of $30,000 to $70,000.
- According to the website Indeed, the average annual salary of a microbiologist is $52,000.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in its data of May 2011, states that the mean annual wage of microbiologists was $71,720.
- The largest employer of microbiologists is the Federal Executive Branch. It is also the highest payer with the annual mean wage of those employed by it being $100,280. Private companies are the second highest, where the annual mean wage is $80,860.
- The pay in the field is the highest in Maryland, according to the BLS, where the annual mean wage is $102,230. Georgia follows with an annual mean wage of $86,920.
- Statistics suggest that metropolitan areas can offer an annual mean wage as high as $109,320.
- To summarize, according to the BLS, the average salary of a microbiologist may range from $39,000 to $116,000.
What a Microbiologist Does
As mentioned earlier, a microbiologist is a science professional who deals with the study of small organisms that can be viewed through a microscope. A microbiologist has to isolate a microorganism and identify its characteristics. He also has to study the effect of the microorganism on various chemicals and other stimuli like human health, food, environment and the like. Then, reports are required to be prepared and results published.
Most microbiologists are known to work in research and development. They may also work for colleges and universities, where they teach the students of microbiology while conducting their own research. Some microbiologists work for private industries that can include clinical laboratories, the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, and the health care industry. Microbiologists who work for clinical laboratories study the relationship between a microorganism and a disease. They study microorganisms that are responsible for developing particular diseases. Microbiologists working in pharmaceutical industries analyze the effect of a medicine on a particular virus or bacteria.
To become a microbiologist, one has to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in microbiology may restrict career opportunities; hence, many students go for higher studies and obtain a master’s degree in microbiology. Both degrees together take almost 5 to 6 years to complete. A doctoral degree, which provides greater opportunities in the field, requires 4 more years after the completion of a master’s degree.
Research suggests that microbiologists who are capable of understanding the intricacies of other sciences such as chemistry and biology are likely to have greater prospects and opportunities in the field. The employment of these professionals is likely to increase by 13% up to 2020. It may be a career worth pursuing as the number of professionals required in this field is definitely going to see an upward trend.