Education Portal is now Study.com! We still offer the same great content and features, with more added every day, just under a new name. Learn more x

Medical Microbiology Careers: Job Options and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a medical microbiologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and training to find out if this is the career for you.

View 8 Popular Schools »

Essential Information

Medical microbiology is a field of scientific study that includes looking at bacteria, viruses and parasites in connection with disease and illness. Degrees can be obtained at the bachelor's, master's, doctoral and post-doctorate levels, leading to a variety of career paths. Medical microbiology is the perfect field for those interested in biology and working to better understand disease and illness.

Required Education Minimum bachelor's degree for field work or teaching high school, up to post-doctoral education for publication and tenured teaching positions.
Projected Job Growth for Medical Microbiologists (2012-2022) 7%
Annual Salary (2013) $67,840*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Options

Medical microbiology includes studies of bacteria, viruses and parasites, all of which can be seen as the cause, and often part of the cure, for various diseases. Those with an undergraduate degree can work as research technicians in the private sector, nonprofit organizations and academia. Advanced degrees can translate to a career as a college educator or contributing member of a scientific team, which eventually could result in a leadership or management position, such as the director of an immunology or clinical microbiology laboratory. Employers include:

  • Government agencies, such as the Center for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health
  • Private health care services and philanthropic organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Heart Association
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Medical schools and university-affiliated teaching hospitals
  • Veterinary hospitals

Upward mobility in this profession requires not only scientific skills, but also good communication, business and management techniques. With advanced education and experience, medical microbiologists can develop and manage their own research projects.

The BLS estimated that employment for microbiologists is expected to rise by seven percent between 2012 and 2022. The median annual wage for the profession, as of May 2013, is $67,840 (www.bls.gov).

Educational Requirements

Earning a bachelor's degree in medical microbiology or medical laboratory sciences gives graduates the opportunity to enter the field as technologists or teachers at the high school level, or to continue to study for an advanced degree. Undergraduate programs provide coursework in theoretical and technical aspects of the field through classroom and laboratory studies. First- and second-year courses include general microbiology, the biology of microorganisms, immunology, biochemistry and anatomy. Upper division courses, such as genetics, microbial physiology, bacteriology and hematology, focus heavily on laboratory applications.

A master's degree program in medical microbiology prepares graduates to teach at the college and university level or to work as laboratory managers, supervisors or research associates. Master's degree programs in microbiology focus on advanced topics and laboratory training, which helps to direct students toward research projects that correspond with their interests. Through the help of a mentor, the project is often the final arbiter toward earning a master's degree.

A Ph.D. degree usually begins with students choosing a particular research topic. The student then develops a hypothesis and a plan to prove it through research. Earning the degree hinges on presenting a final report and dissertation. Graduates can then obtain a postdoctoral position, which provides the opportunity for publication, a necessary step in obtaining a tenured faculty position at a college or university.

Show me popular schools

Related to Medical Microbiology Careers: Job Options and Requirements

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
How to Survive Medical School

Most people have a perception of med school that includes countless hours of lectures, lab work and studying without much sleep...

List of Medical Master's Programs: Overviews by Specialization

Read about graduate-level medical degree programs by specialization. Examine program overviews and discover the required...

Medical Schools Growing to Meet Demand

It may no longer be so difficult to get into medical school in the U.S. - almost two dozen new med schools have just opened or...

Top Schools with Alternative Medical Support Programs

Learn about formal education programs in alternative medical support, which can be found at some top schools in the U.S. Read...

Career Info for a Degree in Alternative Medical Support Services

Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • General Biology
      • Microbiology and Immunology
        • Microbiology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
        • Microbiology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics