Boost your career with a master’s in microbiology
What is a microbiologist?
A microbiologist is a scientist who studies infectious, disease-causing particles like viruses or bacteria, and other living organisms that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. These microorganisms can only be seen with the help of a microscope.
In earlier days, microbiologists could only work in laboratory settings doing research. But with the advancement in medicine and biotechnology, the increasing importance of understanding the role of microbes. Microbiologists today work in a variety of contexts - environmental science, medicine, food industry, basic research, and more. They also work in universities, private organisations, hospitals, government bodies, or NGOs. Today there are several high-demand and respectable job profiles for microbiologists to work under - starting from a Quality control analyst, a professor, to a biosafety officer. You can work as a microbiologist professionally with a bachelor’s or master’s degree or even with little training as an associate degree.
MSc microbiology can be pursued by graduates after finishing their bachelor’s degree. It typically takes 1-2 years to complete a master's degree, and some courses today are also designed to allow professionals to take up courses as they do their full-time jobs while being enrolled in this program.
What are your career prospects after a Master's in Microbiology?
Clinical or research laboratory manager
They are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities in a research lab or a clinical laboratory. They also train laboratory personnel in newer experimental techniques, besides the maintenance of lab equipment, supervising junior technicians, assistants, or technologists. For a clinical lab manager role, candidates need to possess credible certification.
Responsible for managing, planning, and developing programs including the likes of training for other laboratory personnel, assessing biosafety measures of particular projects, an inspection of laboratories to check compliance with biosafety protocols, and making recommendations as and when required to improve the safety standards and occupational health.
These professionals usually teach in classrooms or laboratory courses in community colleges or sometimes even for 4-year degree programs in colleges and universities. They participate in faculty meetings, advising students, accreditation processes, and course development.
How Do I Prepare for a Career in Microbiology?
To prepare for a career in microbiology, it is best to start early, right from your high school days. Take classes like biology, chemistry, physics, maths. You could also opt for other science or math electives-- the likes of Microbiology or AP Biology. While you are in college you can opt for classes in Chemistry, Biology or life sciences, calculus, general microbiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, statistics, other science or math electives that will also work well for you, such as immunology and computer science.
Other activities that can help you prepare for a career in this field include participation in extracurricular science clubs, science fairs, joining national or local scientific societies like ASM, pursuing internships to develop communication and leadership skills.