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Jobs with a Master's in Microbiology

Individuals with master's degrees in microbiology have many career fields from which to choose, including teaching, management, biophysics, biochemistry, environmental science, and public health. Learn more details about these careers, such as expected salaries and job growth.

What Jobs Can Someone with a Master's Degree in Microbiology Pursue?


Microbiologists study bacteria, viruses, and other types of small cellular organisms. While a bachelor's degree is required for most entry-level jobs, a master's degree can be helpful for those positions that require more research and laboratory experience. Other duties performed by microbiologists may include making presentations to other scientists or planning, overseeing, or conducting research projects.

Microbiology Postsecondary Teacher

A master's degree often meets the requirements to teach at a community college, although a PhD is usually required for most universities. A microbiology professor may teach a variety of courses in the discipline to undergraduate students while fulfilling committee and other faculty requirements as expected by the school.

Environmental Scientist and Specialist

While entry-level jobs as environmental scientists and specialists usually require a bachelor's degree, having a master's degree may be necessary for advancement into other positions. These scientists address both environmental and human health needs. Developing methodologies for collecting data, conducting sample analyses, writing reports, and making presentations about their research are some of the duties of environmental scientists and specialists.

Clinical Laboratory Technologist

Clinical laboratory technologists need a minimum of a bachelor's degree for an entry-level position, but a master's degree may lead to additional opportunities for advancement. These technologists collect and perform tests on samples of tissue, body fluids, or other substances. They often specialize in a certain area, such as microbiology.

Natural Sciences Manager

Natural sciences managers have many of the same duties as other managers, including hiring staff, developing administrative policies and procedures, and overseeing projects. These managers will usually have a degree in a scientific discipline and years of experience as a scientist. They may hold degrees at various levels, including master's.

Biochemist and Biophysicist

The additional research conducted while earning a master's degree in microbiology may be helpful to biochemists and biophysicists. These scientists study living entities and their chemical and physical processes, including the study of such processes as heredity and disease. Although a PhD is required for many positions, a master's is often sufficient for entry-level spots.

Agricultural and Food Scientist

Individuals with a master's degree in microbiology can use their knowledge of chemistry, biology, and physics as an agricultural or food scientist. While a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for entry-level positions in this field, a master's degree is common. In addition to conducting research and experiments related to farm productivity, agricultural or food scientists also assist in the creation of more efficient ways to process, package, and deliver new foods.


Epidemiologists study diseases in humans, typically in the public health arena. A master's degree is needed to enter this field, and the degree can be in a variety of subjects, including microbiology. Epidemiologists typically collect and analyze data, plan and manage programs, and oversee personnel. They communicate with the public as well as with policy makers and public health professionals.

Career TitleMedian Salary (2018)*Job Growth Outlook (2018-2028)*
Microbiology Postsecondary Teacher$82,550 (biological science teachers, postsecondary) 12% (biological science teachers, postsecondary)
Environmental Scientist and Specialist$71,1308%
Clinical Laboratory Technologist $52,330 (clinical laboratory technologist and technician) 11% (clinical laboratory technologist and technician)
Natural Sciences Manager$123,8606%
Biochemist and Biophysicist$93,2806%
Agricultural and Food Scientist$64,0207%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Graduate Program in Microbiology Look Like?

Microbiologists are scientists who have studied cellular biology, biochemistry, physics, microbial genetics, and other science- and math-related subjects as graduate students. Most graduate-level microbiology programs take 2 to 3 years to complete, which includes research requirements. Some common courses in a master's degree program in microbiology include molecular biology, virology, and microbial genetics.

Molecular Biology

Molecules are the basic units of life, and biology is the study of life. Therefore, molecular biology courses usually study cells, cell activity, and cell interaction between RNA, DNA, and proteins. These courses typically study genetic processes at the molecular level.


A virus is a tiny cell that infects and grows within other cells. A course in virology often explores all aspects of this process. Beginning with healthy cells, courses in virology might track the progression of diseases through those cells.

Microbial Genetics

Microbes are small organisms, such as fungi or bacteria. Microbial genetics courses often study the heredity of these small organisms. They could look at how the genes are transferred to each new generation and note any changes that may have occurred during that transfer.

A master's degree in microbiology is useful in a large number of career areas, including research, academics, public health, and management. Programs may span 2-3 years and include a variety of subjects, such as virology, molecular biology, and microbial genetics.