Introduction to Environmental Microbiology Careers: Education, Careers and Specialties

Introduction to Environmental Microbiology Careers: Education, Careers and Specialties
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Microbiology is a career path in environmental science that offers those interested their choice of a range of specializations. Those who choose this field can work in research, medicine, most fields of environmental science or for a pharmaceutical company. Regardless of an aspiring microbiologists chosen career path, they will need to complete high school and obtain a college education, however the required level varies.

Roles of a Microbiologist

Those working in the field of microbiology will most often deal exclusively with microscopic organisms such as fungi, viruses, bacteria and algae. They will study the microscopic organisms growth and record any statistics and characteristics. The majority of all microbiologists work in one of the following specialties: bioinformatics, industrial microbiology, agricultural microbiology, environmental microbiology, virology, immunology, or food microbiology. Those who choose this career path can be hired by a number of different institutions. These include pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, laboratories, or state, federal and local governments.


Aspiring microbiologists who with to be employed in research and development will almost always need a doctorate degree. However, some institutions will hire microbiologists with a Master’s degree. Those who hold Bachelor’s degrees can obtain employment as microbiology laboratory technicians or as assistants to biology teachers or biological scientists. Those seeking to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology will spend the majority of their four years of college taking science classes once their required courses are complete. They are also encouraged to take as many science or mathematics-related elective courses as they possibly can. Typical courses taken while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in microbiology include microbial genetics, bioinformatics, cell biology, biostatistics, cell physiology, immunology, virology, environmental microbiology and pathogenic microbiology. Students will also take classes in which they will learn laboratory methods in techniques such as microscopy.

Career Options

Regardless of their chosen specialty, the majority of microbiologists will work in research. Researchers will be responsible for helping to develop new ideas as well as deciphering patterns of the past. Their decisions have the ability to make significant impacts on past and current scientific research. Other careers paths include research assistants and laboratory technicians. Those who choose one of these careers will assist researchers in all aspects of their research.

Specializations include:

  • Bioinformatics
  • Virology
  • Immunology
  • Industrial Microbiology
  • Agricultural Microbiology
  • Food Microbiology
  • Environmental Microbiology


Education Portal. (2010). Microbiologist: Educational Requirements for a Career in Microbiology. Retrieved on August 20, 2009 from Education Portal:

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