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Occupational Profile

Microbiologist

Microbiologists study the growth and characteristics of micro-organisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites) and their interactions with their environment, and develop medical and industrial applications (for example, in the food processing industry).

Also Known As

Bacteriologist, Biological Scientist, Immunologist, Mycologist, Parasitologist, Research Scientist, Virologist

Regulated Occupation

Employment and Advancement

Occupational outlook is currently unavailable. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Microbiologists who have B.Sc. degrees may work as technologists in post-secondary, government or industrial laboratories. Those who have M.Sc. degrees may work as professionals in the same laboratory settings. Microbiologists who have PhDs may conduct research, teach in universities, manage hospital (clinical) diagnostic microbiology laboratories or advance to senior scientific appointments in government or industry.

Microbiologists work for the following types of organizations:

  • municipal, provincial and federal governments
  • hospitals, colleges and universities
  • laboratories in the food and beverage processing industries
  • companies in the agricultural industry
  • pharmaceutical companies
  • diagnostic laboratories
  • biotechnology firms
  • bioremediation companies
  • companies in the oil industry
  • academic publishers.

Contract work is becoming more common in this occupation. Advancement opportunities depend on the size and nature of the employing organization and the microbiologist's qualifications.

Microbiologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2121: Biologists and related scientists. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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