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Microbiologists
SOC Code: 19-1022.00

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.

Sample of reported job titles: Bacteriologist, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Clinical Microbiologist, Microbiological Analyst, Microbiological Laboratory Technician, Microbiologist, Microbiology Director, Microbiology Laboratory Manager, Quality Control Microbiologist (QC Microbiologist), Study Director

Tasks

  • Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture, aeration, temperature, and nutrition.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Observe action of microorganisms upon living tissues of plants, higher animals, and other microorganisms, and on dead organic matter.
  • Study the structure and function of human, animal, and plant tissues, cells, pathogens and toxins.
  • Research use of bacteria and microorganisms to develop vitamins, antibiotics, amino acids, grain alcohol, sugars, and polymers.
  • Develop new products and procedures for sterilization, food and pharmaceutical supply preservation, or microbial contamination detection.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - BD Biosciences CellQuest; Protein Explorer; TreeView; Verity Software House ModFit LT (see all 29 examples)
  • Data base user interface and query software - Database management software; Microsoft Access ; WHONET
  • Electronic mail software - Email software
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software - SAP
  • Information retrieval or search software - ComBase
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Medical software - Computer Service & Support CLS-2000 Laboratory System; Orchard Software Orchard Harvest LIS
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Operating system software - Microsoft Windows
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Air samplers or collectors - Bioaerosol impactors; Dichotomous particulate matter samplers; Liquid impingers; Multistage agar impactors
  • Anaerobic chamber - Anaerobic growth chambers
  • Analytical balances
  • Automated cover slipping equipment - Automatic coverslipper
  • Automated microscope stages - Micromanipulators
  • Benchtop centrifuges - Desktop centrifuges; High-speed centrifuges
  • Binocular light compound microscopes - Bright field light microscopes; Compound binocular light microscopes
  • Blotting or transfer apparatus - Gel transfer apparatus; Semidry blotting apparatus
  • Calorimeters - Microcalorimeters
  • Circulating baths - Fecal coliform water baths
  • Conductivity meters
  • Counters - Bubble counters
  • Cryogenic or liquid nitrogen freezers - Liquid nitrogen storage equipment
  • Culture tubes
  • Darkfield microscopes - Phase contrast microscopes
  • Decontamination shower - Chemical safety showers
  • Deoxyribonucleic sequence analyzers - Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA sequencers
  • Desktop computers
  • Developing tanks - Darkroom developing tanks
  • Digital cameras - Charge coupled device CCD color digital cameras
  • Dissolved oxygen meters
  • Dropping pipettes - Micropipettes
  • Dry baths or heating blocks - Dry bath incubators; Heat blocks
  • Dry heat or hot air sterilizers - Bacticinerators
  • Dry wall single chamber carbon dioxide incubators - Direct heat dry wall carbon dioxide CO2 incubators
  • Drying cabinets or ovens - Drying ovens
  • Electronic counters - Colony counters
  • Electronic encyclopedias - Hardy Diagnostics HUGO
  • Electronic multichannel pipetters - 8-channel electronic pipettes
  • Electronic toploading balances
  • Electroporation cuvettes - Electroporators
  • Eyewashers or eye wash stations - Eyewash fountains
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fluorescent microscopes
  • Forced air or mechanical convection general purpose incubators - Bacteriological incubators
  • Freeze dryers or lyopholizers - Freeze dryers
  • French pressure cells - French presses
  • Gas burners - Laboratory gas burners
  • Gas chromatographs - Gas chromatographs GC
  • Gas generators - Gas-powered generators
  • Gel boxes - Gel electrophoresis boxes; Gel support frames
  • Gel documentation systems
  • General purpose refrigerators or refrigerator freezers - Laboratory refrigerators
  • General purpose trays - Multiwell trays
  • HEPA filtered enclosures - HEPA filtered biosafety cabinets
  • High pressure liquid chromatograph chromatography - High pressure liquid chromatographs HPLC
  • Homogenizers - Tissue homogenizers
  • Hybridization ovens or incubators - Hybridization ovens
  • Impedance meters
  • Infra red or ultra violet absorption analyzers - Infrared gas analyzers
  • Infrared spectrometers - Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers; Infrared IR spectrometers; Mid-infrared spectrometers
  • Inverted microscopes
  • Laboratory adapters or connectors or fittings - Erlenmeyer flask clamps
  • Laboratory balances - Micro balances; Precision pan balances
  • Laboratory beakers
  • Laboratory flasks - Erlenmeyer flasks
  • Laboratory funnels
  • Laboratory graduated cylinders - Graduated glass laboratory cylinders
  • Laboratory heat exchange condensers - Laboratory heat exchange condensing devices
  • Laboratory hotplates - Heating stirplates
  • Laboratory incubator thermometers - Recording thermometers
  • Laboratory membrane filters - Laboratory membrane filtering devices; Membrane filtration systems
  • Laboratory mixers - Rotator mixers; Serology rotators
  • Laboratory staining dishes or jars - Coplin jars; Staining dishes
  • Laboratory vacuum pumps
  • Laboratory washing machines - Laboratory glassware washers
  • Laminar flow cabinets or stations - Laminar flow cabinets
  • Laser printers
  • Lasers - Argon lasers; Helium-neon lasers
  • Liquid chromatographs - Liquid chromatograph devices
  • Magnetic stirrers - Magnetic laboratory stirrers
  • Manual or electronic hematology differential cell counters - Automatic cell sorters
  • Mass spectrometers
  • Microbiology analyzers - Automated microbial identification systems; Flow cytometers; Fluorescence activated cell sorters
  • Microbiology fermentation equipment - Bioreactors
  • Microbiology inoculation loops or needles - Inoculating loops
  • Microbiology slide stainers - Automated gram stainers
  • Microcentrifuges
  • Microplate readers - Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay ELISA plate readers; Multiplate readers
  • Microscope objectives - Oil-immersion microscope lenses
  • Microscope slides
  • Multipurpose or general test tubes - Laboratory test tubes
  • Notebook computers
  • Orbital shaking water baths
  • Osmometers
  • Peristaltic pumps
  • Personal computers
  • Petri plates or dishes - Petri dishes; Sectioned petri plates
  • pH meters
  • Photo attachments for microscopes - Photomicroscopes
  • Pipette pumps
  • Pipetter inserts or accessories - Rechargeable electronic pipette fillers
  • Protective coats - Protective laboratory coats
  • Protective gloves
  • Refrigerated baths - Refrigerated recirculating water baths
  • Refrigerated benchtop centrifuges
  • Respirators
  • Robotic or automated liquid handling systems - Automatic pipetters
  • Rotating shakers - Floor shakers
  • Safety glasses
  • Safety hoods - Biological safety hoods
  • Safety shoes
  • Scanning electron microscopes - Scanning electron microscopes SEM
  • Shaking incubators - Orbital shaking incubators
  • Specialty plates for bacteria - Prepared agar plates
  • Specimen collection container - Water sample collection containers
  • Spectrometers - Raman spectrometers; Visible spectrometers
  • Spectrophotometers - Visible/UV light scanning spectrophotometers
  • Spirit burners - Alcohol lamps
  • Steam autoclaves or sterilizers - Autoclaves; Electronic sterilizers; Steroclaves
  • Stereo or dissecting light microscopes - Dissecting microscopes
  • Temperature cycling chambers or thermal cyclers - Thermocyclers
  • Test tube racks
  • Tissue culture flasks - Culture bottles
  • Transilluminators
  • Transmission electron microscopes - Transmission electron microscopes TEM
  • Ultra cold or ultralow upright cabinets or freezers - Ultra cold biological freezers
  • Ultra pure water systems - Deionized DI water systems; Water purification systems
  • Ultracentrifuges
  • Ultrasonic disintegrators - Sonicators
  • Ultraviolet UV lamps
  • Vortex mixers
  • X ray diffraction equipment - X ray diffractometers

Knowledge

  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills

  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Management of Personnel Resources - Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
  • Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Operations Analysis - Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Abilities

  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Number Facility - The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

Interests

  • Interest code: IR
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Work Context

  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail - 96% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 87% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 78% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 77% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 59% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections - 70% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 48% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 48% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 43% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Consequence of Error - 48% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Contact With Others - 35% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 57% responded “40 hours.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 35% responded “Important results.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 48% responded “Very important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 39% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 55% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 35% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 48% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 35% responded “Every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 39% responded “Very important.”
  • Physical Proximity - 43% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 35% responded “Every day.”
  • Letters and Memos - 43% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Level of Competition - 43% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 26% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 32% responded “High responsibility.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
48%Bachelor's degree
17%Post-baccalaureate certificate
13%Master's degree

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Work Values

  • Recognition - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $33.64 hourly, $69,960 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 23,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 2,200

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