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Let Us Guide You on The Path to Becoming a Pro in Microbiology

Career as a Microbiology

Do you see yourself working and researching on plants or animals? Do you want to solve the mystery of life? When you see any living thing, do you get intrigued how does life function? Isn’t life interesting? Even more interesting is studying the life of microorganisms? If you are loved using a microscope in your science lap to identify bacteria, remember there is an exciting career for you in the form of microbiologist.

A microbiologist is a biologist specialist who studies and research about microorganisms like bacteria, virus, fungus, archaea, etc. You will research about their evolution, growth, biochemistry, genetic material, relation with humans etc. While some of the microorganisms can be harmful to humans, plants and animals (like AIDS Virus), thus you will study to develop medicines, vaccines, etc. to fight against these microorganisms. Some of the microorganisms are useful for humans for the production of different products (like cheese), thus, you will work on their management and development. You will also work on micro-organisms that may foul food.

Why Become a Microbiology?

Microbiologists are the scientist whostudy microorganisms. A microorganismisamicroscopic living being described in three categories: unicellular having one cell, multicellular living in cell colonies and acellular with no cells. Some of the microorganism that microbiologist studies are bacteria, algae, viruses, archaea, fungi, etc. As a microbiologist, you will study their evolution, relationship with humans, animals and plants, taxonomy, etc. You will also study how they cause diseases, environmental changes, etc. Some of these microorganisms are beneficial for industry and agriculture so you will also study them for these interests. You will carry research on microorganism through collecting samples of them studying them under a microscope.

The bacteriologist is the specialist microbiologist who studies the growth, ecology, genetics and biochemistry of bacteria. A microbiologist understands the relation between bacteria and other living beings like plants, animals and humans. As a bacteriologist, you will understand, identify, classify and categorise bacteria. As a bacteriologist, you will also study the effect of bacteria on the environment including health, diseases, etc. Also, you will stud their benefit and usage in industry.

What Does a Microbiology do?

As a Microbiologist, depending on your field of specialisation, you would havethe following roles and responsibilities:

  • You will study the growth, structure, development, and other characteristics of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, fungus, etc. to understand their relationship with other animals and humans or even plants.
  • Using a microscope and other instruments, you will examine physiological, morphological, and cultural characteristics. You will use this information to classify and identify microorganisms present in the human body, water bodies, food and other living beings.
  • You will be available with laboratory services for health departments, health programs by communities and for a physician who will be needing information for diagnosis and treatment caused by microorganisms. You will perform lab experiments to diagnose and treatment of illnesses caused by microorganisms.
  • You will research and investigate the relationship between microorganisms and diseases. You will also research on controlling epidemics and the effects of medicines of microorganisms.
  • You will keep samples of bacteria, viruses, fungus and other microorganisms in a controlled environment for studies.
  • You will work on different complex research to find the effectiveness of drugs on microorganism and their growth.
  • You will supervise the work of other scientists and evaluate their work.
  • You will monitor the effect of microorganisms on host animals, plants and humans.
  • You will present your research and findings to the world through a research paper, journals, reports, media, news, etc.

How to Become a Microbiology – Eligibility Criteria

After your 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology, you can study for a Bachelor degree in Microbiology / Zoology / Plant Sciences / Botany / in a similar field. Then you should do a Master’s degree with specialisation in any of the following fields:

  • Applied Microbiology
  • Bacteriology
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Industrial Microbiology
  • Lichenology
  • Microbial Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Mycology
  • Other Microbial Sciences
  • Phycology
  • Virology
  • Plant Microbiology

Job Opportunities

  • Most of the universities and college will hire you as a professor at the position of Junior Professor or Assistant Professor.
  • If you are into research, then you will be hired at the position of research associate. PhD research fellows will be hired as a Junior Research Fellow.
  • Research laboratories and Research Institutes will hire you as a scientist/scientist officer with the lowest grade (Grade C).
  • Many private research bodies, organizations will hire you as a Research Associate.
  • If you are into quality control, then many biopharma companies will here you as a quality controller (Microbiologist).
  • If you are into food processing or dairy industry, you will be hired as a food microbiologist.

You can find job opportunities at the following facilities:

  • Agricultural Research Organizations and institutes.
  • Agriculture, Plant Science, and related colleges and universities.
  • Research centres and laboratories like National Institute of Plant Research Genome.
  • Biopharmaceutical companies like Biocon.
  • Dairy and food production and processing plants like Amul, Mother Dairy, etc.
  • Microbial production companies like Paxchem, etc.
  • Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Work Environment

As a Microbiologist, you will be mostly involved in research work, quality control, food processing and sample testing. Most of your research will be in the laboratory using a microscope. You will have a regular 8-9 hours job that will require a peer to peer work. If you are working in the food processing or dairy industry, you will be required to do research and testing of food items also. The work will not require you to travel often but still sometimes for data collection, you might have to travel to remote and rural areas too.

Salary of a Microbiology

  • At the entry level, you can join as a research associate with a basic salary of Rs. 25,000 to 30,000. As a doctoral research fellow (junior research fellow) you would be earning around Rs. 35,000 to 38,000 per month. At the entry level, as a Scientist (grade C) you would be earning around Rs. 80,000 to 100,000 per month. As an assistant professor, you would be earning anything between Rs. 65,000 to 70,000 per month. As a scientist in a private company, you will earn anything between Rs. 25,000 to 1,00,000 per month. As a quality controller microbiologist, you might be earning anything between Rs. 15,000 to 50,000 per month.
  • At the junior level with a work experience of 2-6 years, you would be earning anything between Rs. 50,000 to 1,40,000 per month.
  • At the middle level with an experience of 10-12 years, you would be earning anything between Rs. 1,40,000 to 1,90,000 per month as a scientist and Rs. 1,20,000 to 1,60,000 as a professor. As a quality controller, you might be earning anything between Rs. 40,000 to 1,00,000 per month.
  • At the senior level of over 15 years of work experience, you would be earning anything between Rs. 1,60,000 to 2,00,000 per month as a professor and Rs. 2,10,000 to 2,50,000 per month as a Scientist. As a quality controller, you might be earning anything between Rs. 60,000 to 2,00,000 per month.

Career Progression in Microbiology Profession

  • Research laboratories will hire you as a scientist/scientist officer with the lowest grade and the grade changes from low to high. In India, grades are “Scientist “C” as the joining level and then D, E, F, G, H, etc. A senior-level scientist can also get into administrative positions like Principal Scientist, Assistant Director, Deputy Director, Director, etc.
  • The career growth in university and college states from Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor, Professor and Professor Emeritus. Professors can also get administrative positions such as Director/Dean/Vice Chancellor, etc.
  • If you are hired as a research associate (JRF and SRF), then you will go on to become a Doctoral Research Fellow, then Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and then Scientist in Progressive Grades. 
  • If you are a research associate in a private organization, then you will become a scientist and then a senior scientist.
  • If you are into quality control, then from the quality controller (microbiologist), you will become head of quality (microbiologist) and then consultant microbiologist and finally senior consultant microbiologist.

A microbiologist is in demand in several different kinds of industries. While they are demanded by industries producing microbes, they are also in remand in biopharma companies. The Indian biopharmaceutical industry in on rising for lasts few years. The market for biopharma products is expected to be a USD 40 billion industry in India by 2030. With the growing medical industry, the need and demand for biopharma prodmicrobiologistsines are on the rise too.

Other industries with great prospects for microbiologist are microbial production companies and Dairy and food processing industries. While India is the largest producer of milk; this offers a great opportunity for a microbiologist to work in the dairy industry.

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