Jobs, Salaries and Career after Masters in Structural Biology - Updated 2020

2018 median Pay for Structural Biology

The median annual wage for microbiologists was $71,650 in May 2018.


Pay

Microbiologists who work with dangerous organisms must follow strict safety procedures to avoid contamination. Some microbiologists may conduct onsite visits or collect samples from the environment or worksites, and, as a result, may travel occasionally and spend some time outside. Basic researchers who work in academia usually choose the focus of their research and run their own laboratories. Applied researchers who work for companies study the products that the company will sell or suggest modifications to the production process so that the company can become more efficient. Basic researchers often need to fund their research by winning grants. These grants often put pressure on researchers to meet deadlines and other specifications.



Best paying jobs for Biology and Biological Sciences


Number of Jobs for Structural Biology

Number of Jobs in 2018 was 23,200


Education required

Bachelor's degree


Job Outlook for Structural Biology

Employment of microbiologists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. More microbiologists will be needed to contribute to basic research, solve problems encountered in industrial production processes, and monitor environmental conditions to ensure public health and safety.


Job description of Structural Biology

Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites. They try to understand how these organisms live, grow, and interact with their environments.

Duties

Microbiologists typically do the following:

  • Plan and conduct complex research projects, such as improving sterilization procedures or developing new drugs to combat infectious diseases
  • Perform laboratory experiments that are used in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses
  • Supervise the work of biological technicians and other workers and evaluate the accuracy of their results
  • Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms for study
  • Identify and classify microorganisms found in specimens collected from humans, plants, animals, or the environment
  • Monitor the effect of microorganisms on plants, animals, other microorganisms, or the environment
  • Review literature and the findings of other researchers and attend conferences
  • Prepare technical reports, publish research papers, and make recommendations based on their research findings
  • Present research findings to scientists, nonscientist executives, engineers, other colleagues, and the public

Many microbiologists work in research and development conducting basic research or applied research. The aim of basic research is to increase scientific knowledge. An example is growing strains of bacteria in various conditions to learn how they react to those conditions. Other microbiologists conduct applied research and develop new products to solve particular problems. For example, microbiologists may aid in the development of genetically engineered crops, better biofuels, or new vaccines.

Microbiologists use computers and a wide variety of sophisticated laboratory instruments to do their experiments. Electron microscopes are used to study bacteria, and advanced computer software is used to analyze the growth of microorganisms found in samples.

It is increasingly common for microbiologists to work on teams with technicians and scientists in other fields, because many scientific research projects involve multiple disciplines. Microbiologists may work with medical scientists or molecular biologists while researching new drugs, or they may work in medical diagnostic laboratories alongside physicians and nurses to help prevent, treat, and cure diseases.

The following are examples of types of microbiologists:

Bacteriologists study the growth, development, and other properties of bacteria, including the positive and negative effects that bacteria have on plants, animals, and humans.

Clinical microbiologists perform a wide range of clinical laboratory tests on specimens collected from plants, humans, and animals to aid in detection of disease. Clinical and medical microbiologists whose work involves directly researching human health may be classified as medical scientists.

Environmental microbiologists study how microorganisms interact with the environment and each other. They may study the use of microbes to clean up areas contaminated by heavy metals or study how microbes could aid crop growth.

Industrial microbiologists study and solve problems related to industrial production processes. They may examine microbial growth found in the pipes of a chemical factory, monitor the impact industrial waste has on the local ecosystem, or oversee the microbial activities used in cheese production to ensure quality.

Mycologists study the properties of fungi such as yeast and mold. They also study the ways fungi can be used to benefit society (for example, in food or the environment) and the risks fungi may pose.

Parasitologists study the life cycle of parasites, the parasite-host relationship, and how parasites adapt to different environments. They may investigate the outbreak and control of parasitic diseases such as malaria.

Public health microbiologists examine specimens to track, control, and prevent communicable diseases and other health hazards. They typically provide laboratory services for local health departments and community health programs.

Virologists study the structure, development, and other properties of viruses and any effects viruses have on infected organisms.

Many people with a microbiology background become high school teachers or postsecondary teachers.


How to become Structural Biology

A bachelor’s degree in microbiology or a closely related field is needed for entry-level microbiologist jobs. A Ph.D. is needed to carry out independent research and to work in universities.

Education

Microbiologists need at least a bachelor’s degree in microbiology or a closely related program that offers substantial coursework in microbiology, such as biochemistry or cell biology. Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in biological sciences, including microbiology.

Most microbiology majors take core courses in microbial genetics and microbial physiology and elective classes such as environmental microbiology and virology. Students also should take classes in other sciences, such as biochemistry, chemistry, and physics, because it is important for microbiologists to have a broad understanding of the sciences. Courses in statistics, math, and computer science are important for microbiologists because they may need to do complex data analysis.

It is important for prospective microbiologists to have laboratory experience before entering the workforce. Most undergraduate microbiology programs include a mandatory laboratory requirement, but additional laboratory coursework is recommended. Students also can gain valuable laboratory experience through internships with prospective employers, such as drug manufacturers.

Microbiologists typically need a Ph.D. to carry out independent research and work in colleges and universities. Graduate students studying microbiology commonly specialize in a subfield such as bacteriology or immunology. Ph.D. programs usually include class work, laboratory research, and completing a thesis or dissertation.

Training

Many microbiology Ph.D. holders begin their careers in temporary postdoctoral research positions. During their postdoctoral appointment, they work with experienced scientists as they continue to learn about their specialties and develop a broader understanding of related areas of research.

Postdoctoral positions typically offer the opportunity to publish research findings. A solid record of published research is essential to getting a permanent college or university faculty position.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Microbiologists should be able to effectively communicate their research processes and findings so that knowledge may be applied correctly.

Detail oriented. Microbiologists must be able to conduct scientific experiments and analyses with accuracy and precision.

Interpersonal skills. Microbiologists typically work on research teams and thus must work well with others toward a common goal. Many also lead research teams and must be able to motivate and direct other team members.

Logical-thinking skills. Microbiologists draw conclusions from experimental results through sound reasoning and judgment.

Math skills. Microbiologists regularly use complex mathematical equations and formulas in their work. Therefore, they need a broad understanding of math, including calculus and statistics.

Observation skills. Microbiologists must constantly monitor their experiments. They need to keep a complete, accurate record of their work, noting conditions, procedures, and results.

Perseverance. Microbiological research involves substantial trial and error, and microbiologists must not become discouraged in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Microbiologists use scientific experiments and analysis to find solutions to complex scientific problems.

Time-management skills. Microbiologists usually need to meet deadlines when conducting research and laboratory tests. They must be able to manage time and prioritize tasks efficiently while maintaining their quality of work.

Advancement

Microbiologists typically receive greater responsibility and independence in their work as they gain experience. They also gain greater responsibility through certification and higher education. Ph.D. microbiologists usually lead research teams and control the direction and content of projects.

Some microbiologists move into managerial positions, often as natural sciences managers. Those who pursue management careers spend much of their time on administrative tasks, such as preparing budgets and schedules.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certifications are not mandatory for the majority of work done by microbiologists. However, certifications are available for clinical microbiologists and for those who specialize in the fields of food safety and quality and pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Certification may help workers gain employment in the occupation or advance to new positions of responsibility.


What people in similar profession do

Job Title What they do How to become one
Biomedical Sciences Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings. Medical scientists typically have a Ph.D., usually in biology or a related life science. Some medical scientists get a medical degree instead of, or in addition to, a Ph.D. Education Students planning careers as medical scientists generally pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a related field. Undergraduate students benefit from taking a broad range of classes, including life sciences, physical sciences, and math.
Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. They direct activities related to research and development, and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production. Natural sciences managers usually advance to management positions after years of employment as scientists. Natural sciences managers typically have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. in a scientific discipline or a related field, such as engineering. Some managers may find it helpful to have an advanced management degree—for example, a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree. Education Natural sciences managers typically begin their careers as scientists; therefore, most have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. in a scientific discipline or a closely related field, such as engineering.
Epidemiology Epidemiologists are public health professionals who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury in humans. They seek to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes through research, community education, and health policy. Epidemiologists need at least a master’s degree from an accredited college or university. Most epidemiologists have a master’s degree in public health (MPH) or a related field, and some have completed a doctoral degree in epidemiology or medicine. Education Epidemiologists typically need at least a master’s degree from an accredited college or university. A master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in epidemiology is most common, but epidemiologists can earn degrees in a wide range of related fields and specializations.
Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Population Biology Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. They direct activities related to research and development, and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production. Natural sciences managers usually advance to management positions after years of employment as scientists. Natural sciences managers typically have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. in a scientific discipline or a related field, such as engineering. Some managers may find it helpful to have an advanced management degree—for example, a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree. Education Natural sciences managers typically begin their careers as scientists; therefore, most have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. in a scientific discipline or a closely related field, such as engineering.
Biotechnology Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. They direct activities related to research and development, and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production. Natural sciences managers usually advance to management positions after years of employment as scientists. Natural sciences managers typically have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. in a scientific discipline or a related field, such as engineering. Some managers may find it helpful to have an advanced management degree—for example, a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree. Education Natural sciences managers typically begin their careers as scientists; therefore, most have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. in a scientific discipline or a closely related field, such as engineering.
Physiology, Cellular and Molecular Physiology Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings. Medical scientists typically have a Ph.D., usually in biology or a related life science. Some medical scientists get a medical degree instead of, or in addition to, a Ph.D. Education Students planning careers as medical scientists generally pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a related field. Undergraduate students benefit from taking a broad range of classes, including life sciences, physical sciences, and math.
Pathology, Pathobiology, Experimental Pathology Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. They direct activities related to research and development, and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production. Natural sciences managers usually advance to management positions after years of employment as scientists. Natural sciences managers typically have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. in a scientific discipline or a related field, such as engineering. Some managers may find it helpful to have an advanced management degree—for example, a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree. Education Natural sciences managers typically begin their careers as scientists; therefore, most have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. in a scientific discipline or a closely related field, such as engineering.
Oncology and Cancer Biology Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings. Medical scientists typically have a Ph.D., usually in biology or a related life science. Some medical scientists get a medical degree instead of, or in addition to, a Ph.D. Education Students planning careers as medical scientists generally pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a related field. Undergraduate students benefit from taking a broad range of classes, including life sciences, physical sciences, and math.
Physiology, Pathology, and Related Sciences Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings. Medical scientists typically have a Ph.D., usually in biology or a related life science. Some medical scientists get a medical degree instead of, or in addition to, a Ph.D. Education Students planning careers as medical scientists generally pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a related field. Undergraduate students benefit from taking a broad range of classes, including life sciences, physical sciences, and math.

Job Outlook for other majors in Biology and Biological Sciences

Job Title Number of jobs Median Salary Job outlook
Biomedical Sciences 120000 $84810 Faster than average
Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography 56700 $123860 Faster than average
Epidemiology 6100 $69660 As fast as average
Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Population Biology 56700 $123860 Faster than average
Physiology, Cellular and Molecular Physiology 120000 $84810 Faster than average
Pathology, Pathobiology, Experimental Pathology 56700 $123860 Faster than average
Oncology and Cancer Biology 120000 $84810 Faster than average