6 Career Tracks for Microbiology Graduates

Microbiology is one of the more popular majors nowadays, mainly because it’s associated with the prospects of a career in industry or the medical field. However, the great thing about this up and coming field is that it’s far more versatile than most people believe. First off, if you want to get an inkling about what it entails, you can always sign up for a microbiology online course, which will teach you the basics and also reward you with a form of certification at the end. Secondly, microbiology majors have far more employment options than the two above mentioned fields. We’ve scoured the World Wide Web, checked out employment websites, classifieds, forums, and listings and have come up with a prospective list of employment opportunities – so that you don’t have to waste your time doing all that research. Of course, the list is by no means exhaustive, so feel free to comment and message us with your suggestions. Now read on to find out what you can end up working as, if you choose to specialize in microbiology.

scientific laboratory

In the Lab


Many technical and vocational schools have microbiology departments, while colleges with undergrad programs often offer microbiology as part of their biology studies curriculum. A background in microbiology can earn you a teaching or a research position at veterinary, dental, or medical schools, in colleges and universities around the U.S., but also in research facilities, not-for-profits, and other similar institutions. Look for job openings in academic journals and publications, as well as on bulletin boards and at networking events.


Ever thought you could end up working for the army, or for another law enforcement agency, as a microbiologist? The rise of biological warfare concerns has determined the apparition of such job opportunities, in all branches of the U.S. military – but you can also work for various other local and state government agencies. Microbiologists are needed in public health institutions, in grant-awarding organizations, as well as in organizations that manage waste and wastewater. NASA, the FDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the National Institute of Health all employ microbiologists. You can find government jobs advertised on the respective website of each agency or organization listed above.


The legal field has tremendously benefited from advances in microbiology research, over the course of the past decades. In fact, these advances in research have translated into brand new products and technologies, employed in various industries, the academic world, and government institutions. The discovery of new microbial species, as well as the development of new microbial products, has determined the drafting of new patents and agreements for technology transfers. As such, in turn, new positions that have to do with patent law and technology transfers have appeared in the legal field. A microbiology major can score you a job in a law firm, but also in any tech transfer and intellectual property office with an academic or governmental institution.


If you choose to study both microbiology and education, you might find yourself with a rewarding teaching position. Microbiology is interdisciplinary by nature, so it will give you plenty of skills for teaching science at all levels. You can choose to teach at a technical or a professional school, but primary and secondary schools are also an option.


Of course, industrial production and research remain the main career tracks for individuals who have been trained in microbiology. You can, however, select from a very wide range of positions and segments. Microbiologists are employed as researchers, quality control professionals, product developers, and even management-level staff. Of course, as you may well know, a background in microbiology can secure you a position in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as in the up and coming field of biotechnology. However, there are plenty of other fields to choose from: the oil industry, the beauty and cosmetics industry, industrial microbiology (which most notably produces antibiotics), the vaccine production industry, the food and drink industry, and lots more.

cells and dna helix

The world of microbiology


The above average growth prospects of the healthcare field over the coming decade have determined many college graduates to consider this career track. If you’re passionate about microbiology, you’ll be happy to learn there are plenty of opportunities for you as a professional in this field. Both quality control and diagnostics can provide you with employment opportunities, and you can also choose to work in the medical technology field.


The renewed focus on scientific research that we’ve witnessed over the past decades has also given rise to the apparition of numerous new publications, media outlets, and columns dedicated to science. You can opt for a position on the editorial staff of one of the many scientific journals out there – though this will typically require an academic background, too. Alternatively, you can choose to work as a journalist with a focus on science for any one of the mainstream press venues that publish pieces on groundbreaking research.

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