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Microbiology Technician Certification and Degree Programs

There are several education options to become a microbiology technician including certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs. Read on to learn more about the programs, certification, and courses you may study.

What Degree Programs Are Available in Microbiology?

Microbiology involves the study of microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria or fungi. Degree programs in microbiology are typically campus based, and they are offered at the bachelor's through doctoral degree levels. Undergraduate degree programs typically require a high school diploma or equivalent for admission. Most graduate programs in microbiology require each applicant to hold a bachelor's degree with a background in biology, physics and chemistry.

Available Programs Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral
Potential Coursework Core sciences plus specialties like ocean microbiology, cell biology, or immunology
Certificate Programs Most common at graduate level
Career Options Researcher, laboratory assistant, clinical or environmental work
Median Salary (2018)* $71,650 (for microbiologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 8% (for microbiologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn?

Bachelor's degree programs in microbiology examine microorganisms and explore the ways in which larger organisms are affected by foreign bodies. Undergraduate degree programs include general education courses, in addition to core science courses, including physics, biology and organic chemistry. Some of the microbiology courses you can expect to take include:

  • Immunology
  • Pathogenic microbiology
  • Microbial genetics
  • Virology

Graduate degree programs in this field include coursework in microbiology, in addition to offering research opportunities. Master's degree programs commonly involve taking courses of your choice, specifically tailored to your research interests, whether such interests pertain to immunology, ocean microbiology or one of a host of other specialized areas. Your studies will likely culminate in a thesis. Doctoral degree programs commonly award Ph.D.s, and they also offer specialized coursework which you'll tailor to your area of research. Ph.D. programs may require students to begin with core doctoral courses on such subjects as cell physiology, cell biology and genetics. Some of the course subjects you can expect to explore at the graduate level include these:

  • Bioinformatics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular genetics
  • Biosynthesis
  • Parasitology

Are Certificate Programs Available?

While not as common as degree programs, certificate programs in microbiology are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for those who have an interest in clinical microbiology. Some schools offer the option of completing a certificate or minor in microbiology as part of an undergraduate degree program, while graduate-level certificates are also available for those who have undergraduate degrees in biology or microbiology.

Certificate programs often focus on human diseases and identifying characteristics of pathogens. They generally involve laboratory coursework and practicum-based experiences. Specialized certificates may also be found at the graduate level for those who are interested in different aspects of microbiology, such as public health and medical research.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

With an undergraduate degree in microbiology, you may pursue a career in research assistance or laboratory assistance, or you may choose to pursue an advanced degree in microbiology or a related field. With a graduate degree in microbiology, you may find work in both the public and private sectors. Possible positions include environmental microbiologist, laboratory coordinator or grant specialist, among others.