QC (Quality Control) microbiology supervisors oversee the lab technicians and inspectors involved in testing consumer products to ensure they are not contaminated with microbes. It is their duty to maintain a processing environment free of microbial contamination, and they are accountable for the safe quality of goods during every stage of production. In addition to a few years of relevant work experience in the industry, these QC professionals require at least a bachelor's degree in an area related to biological science.
Quality Control (QC) microbiology supervisors ensure that products are free of microbial contamination and safe for consumption. QC microbiologists may also train and update technicians on industry standards and regulations. A minimum of a bachelor's degree in a biological science subject and several years of related experience are required for this position.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree at minimum|
|Other Requirements||Laboratory QC work experience|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||4% for all microbiologists|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)*||$67,550 for all microbiologists|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Job Description of a QC Microbiology Supervisor
QC microbiology supervisors oversee laboratory workers, inspectors and sometimes third parties engaged in quality testing. These professionals create and implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) for production processes. For example, QC microbiology supervisors may monitor lab technicians who complete quality control testing on raw materials, inputs and products for quality.
QC microbiology supervisors are accountable for aspects of quality throughout the production cycle. In case of the food industry, the responsibilities may include testing the integrity of raw materials and maintaining contamination free environments throughout processing and manufacturing of the final product. QC microbiology supervisors working for food manufacturing industries may also be required to adhere with rules and regulations set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These regulatory agencies safeguard public health by ensuring that food and drugs are safe and effective. As such, QC supervisors may also need to confirm correct packaging and optimum delivery conditions because food is a rich source for microbial growth and hence a cause of various food-borne diseases.
Most supervisors have a bachelor's or master's degree in biological sciences or a related field. Coursework may range from mathematics to biochemistry. Students may also be required to complete lab courses that explore topics ranging from cell walls to pathogens. Advanced classes may focus on research projects and experiments related to human biology, food science and microbiology.
Aspiring QC microbiology supervisors typically need several or more years of QC laboratory experience. They may also be required to have knowledgeable on industry guidelines and other common regulatory standards such as ISO 9000, Total Quality Management (TQM) or Six Sigma, to emphasize continuous quality improvement.
Job Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide employment information specifically for QC microbiology supervisors; however, it does offer information for microbiologists in general. The BLS's website says that the employment of microbiologists should increase by 4% from 2014 to 2024, which is slower than the average for all occupations within the nation. As of May 2015, the median annual salary of microbiologists is listed as $67,550.
The requirements for becoming a QC microbiology supervisor consist not only of several years of work experience and a degree, but also a thorough knowledge of various regulations and standards within the industry. These guidelines can include Six Sigma, ISO 9000, and guidelines established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Many QC microbiology supervisors have a master's degree.