What Do Microbiologists Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life.

Job Description

Microbiologists investigate the growth, structure, development, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms. They also isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture, aeration, temperature, and nutrition.

Other tasks include:

  • Study growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of bacteria and other microorganisms to understand their relationship to human, plant, and animal health.
  • Examine physiological, morphological, and cultural characteristics, using microscope, to identify and classify microorganisms in human, water, and food specimens.
  • Provide laboratory services for health departments, for community environmental health programs, and for physicians needing information for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Investigate the relationship between organisms and disease, including the control of epidemics and the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Prepare technical reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes.
  • Supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.

We asked Microbiologists how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

64%

How meaningful is this job

69%


64% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 69% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Microbiologists supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists. They investigate the relationship between organisms and disease, including the control of epidemics and the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.

A typical day for a Microbiologist will also include:

  • Study growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of bacteria and other microorganisms to understand their relationship to human, plant, and animal health.
  • Use a variety of specialized equipment such as electron microscopes, gas chromatographs and high pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence activated cell sorters and phosphorimagers.
  • Study the structure and function of human, animal, and plant tissues, cells, pathogens and toxins.
  • Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture, aeration, temperature, and nutrition.
  • Provide laboratory services for health departments, for community environmental health programs, and for physicians needing information for diagnosis and treatment.

We asked some Microbiologists a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?57% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?33% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?76% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?9% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?0% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?24% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Microbiologists also prepare technical reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes. They may also research use of bacteria and microorganisms to develop vitamins, antibiotics, amino acids, grain alcohol, sugars, and polymers.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Microbiologists Use a variety of specialized equipment such as electron microscopes, gas chromatographs and high pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence activated cell sorters and phosphorimagers. They might also Study the structure and function of human, animal, and plant tissues, cells, pathogens and toxins.

In addition, they Examine physiological, morphological, and cultural characteristics, using microscope, to identify and classify microorganisms in human, water, and food specimens.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture, aeration, temperature, and nutrition.

To some Microbiologists, it is also their responsibility to Monitor and perform tests on water, food, and the environment to detect harmful microorganisms or to obtain information about sources of pollution, contamination, or infection.


Working life

Working hours

Standard 40 hour work week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Microbiologist, you can expect to work 40 hour work week.

Do Microbiologists work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
100%


Never
0%


Do Microbiologists work outdoors?

Never
65%


Once a year
30%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Thinkers and The Builders

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

You can read more about these career personality types here.




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Related to Microbiologists Job Description

Microbiologists job description, what do Microbiologists do, typical day for Microbiologists, what is it like to work as a Microbiologist, how many hours do Microbiologists work, day to day work of a Microbiologist

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/life-physical-and-social-science/microbiologists.htm
http://www.asm.org/


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