Microbiology Technologist Job Facts

Research what it takes to become a microbiology technologist. Learn about the education requirements, job duties and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Microbiology Technologist?

Microbiology technologists test and analyze microscopic bacteria, fungi and viruses, working for hospitals and medical labs. To do this, they operate complex laboratory equipment that can perform multiple tests at once. They must keep detailed notes and records of their work, as well as update medical records if they are working with a patient's samples. Microbiology technologists may be responsible for training and supervising other lab technicians as they work in the lab. These professionals may report their findings to other medical scientists or physicians. The chart below summarizes key job facts about microbiology technologists.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree with clinical practicum
Education Field of Study Medical technology or related field
Key Responsibilities Perform lab tests examining micro-organisms, document test results, setting up and troubleshooting laboratory equipment
Certification States may require certification through the American Society of Clinical Pathology or the American Medical Technologists Association
Job Growth (2014-2024) 14% (all medical and clinical laboratory technologists)*
Median Salary (2016) $46,601**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Education is Required For Microbiology Technologists

Typically, to become a microbiology technologist, you need at least a bachelor's degree in medical technology or a relevant field. In addition, many states may require you to become certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathology or the American Medical Technologists Association before you can apply for a laboratory research position.

The bachelor's degree program in medical technology takes four years to complete and may be required to apply for a state certification exam. While enrolled in this program, you take courses in clinical microbiology, body fluids, molecular diagnostics, instrumentation and automation, immunology, clinical chemistry and infectious diseases.

In addition to academic coursework, you are also required to complete a clinical practicum in a professional setting. This is an opportunity to work and learn under the supervision of a current microbiology technologist.

What Duties Will I Have?

Microbiology technologists perform complex laboratory tests that examine microorganisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye, such as cells, viruses, fungi and bacteria. As a microbiology technologist, you divide your time between lab work, and administrative and technical duties. In the laboratory, you obtain specimen samples to test, analyze, interpret and categorize. Once you gather all the lab results, you evaluate the validity of data in relation to the test system, record and document the data results, verify the data, and recognize abnormal results to clarify or confirm. As a technologist, you are also responsible for setting up, operating and providing troubleshooting assistance on laboratory instruments.

How Much Will I Make?

In 2016, PayScale.com reported that microbiology technologists in the 10th-90th percentile earned $27,833-$63,756 a year, with a median annual salary of $46,601. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for medical and clinical laboratory technologists are projected to increase by 14% between 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are a few related lab careers that require a bachelor's degree, including biological technicians and chemists and materials scientists. Biological technicians may work with medical or biological scientists to perform a variety of experiments and lab tests. Chemists and materials scientists test, improve and develop products by studying substances at the molecular level.

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