Microbiologists use a wide range of analytical and scientific techniques to monitor and study microbes such as algae, bacteria, fungi and viruses.

    Your work is relevant in a variety of settings, including:

    • hospitals
    • agriculture
    • pharmaceuticals
    • biotechnology
    • education
    • the environment.


    Types of microbiologist

    Microbiology is a vast subject which overlaps with other areas of life sciences, such as molecular biology, immunology and biochemistry.

    Specialist areas include:

    • medicine
    • healthcare
    • research
    • agriculture and food safety
    • environment and climate change.


    Employers of microbiologists

    • Water and waste management companies
    • Public and private sector organisations
    • Government agencies
    • Research institutions
    • Hospitals
    • Public health and private laboratories
    • Pharmaceutical, biochemical and biotechnology companies
    • Universities
    • Food and drink manufacturers



    • planning and carrying out trials
    • tracking environmental microorganism development
    • growing microbe cultures
    • developing new pharmaceutical products, vaccines, medicines and compounds such as antiseptics
    • collecting samples from a variety of locations
    • recording, analyzing and interpreting data
    • writing research papers, reports and reviews
    • keeping up to date with scientific and research developments
    • ensuring that data is recorded accurately in accordance to guidelines
    • observing high health and safety standards
    • inspecting food and drink manufacturing processes to check for possible contamination
    • managing laboratories



    You’ll need a good degree in a relevant subject to become a microbiologist. Relevant degrees include:

    • microbiology
    • microbial sciences
    • biomedical sciences
    • molecular biology
    • applied biology
    • biological sciences
    • biology (specialising in microbiology).



    • the ability to design and plan research investigations and experiments
    • interpersonal skills, as you may have contact with patients in some roles
    • communication skills, to liaise with colleagues and the wider community
    • the capacity to manage a laboratory project and liaise with a wide variety of technical colleagues
    • the ability to work well in a team and to manage your own workload
    • problem-solving skills
    • accuracy and a methodical approach to work
    • leadership qualities
    • a good level of numeracy and IT skills.