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Microbiologist Job Profiles


https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/Pages/
microbiologist.aspx




The work

Microbiologists study micro
-
organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae, by
performing experiments in laboratories.

As a clinical microbiologist in a healthcare setting, you would aim to identify diseases
and protect the community from the spread

of infection. Alternatively, you could
work in research and development for the pharmaceutical and food industries, in
agriculture, the environment or in education.

Your work might involve:



monitoring, identifying and helping to control infectious disease
s



using molecular biology techniques to develop and test new medicines and
treatments for disease



investigating the potential of micro
-
organisms to produce antibodies, vaccines,
hormones and other products



developing enzymes for use in food production, cro
p protection and soil fertility



monitoring the quality and safety of manufactured food products



using micro
-
organisms to control pollution and break down toxic substances



creating ways to dispose of waste safely.

Your duties would often include presenting
the findings of your research, supervising
the work of support staff and carrying out administrative work. If you worked as a
researcher and lecturer in a university or teaching hospital, you would also be
involved in tutoring, mentoring and supervising st
udents.


Hours

You would usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. For some jobs you may
need to work an on
-
call rota.

Much of your work will take place in a laboratory, and you would wear protective
clothing to prevent contamination.

There may be some
travel involved in your work, for example, to attend scientific
meetings and conferences.


Income

The following figures are for a clinical microbiologist working in the NHS:



Starting salaries can be between £21,200 and £27,500 a year.



With experience this

can rise to around £35,000.



Managers can earn £40,200.

Salaries may be higher in the private sector.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.


Entry requirements

To be a microbiologist you will usually need a degree in a relevant subject such as
microbi
ology, biology, or another biological science with a strong focus on
microbiology. Some employers may also prefer you to have a relevant postgraduate
qualification and some work experience.

To get on to a degree in microbiology you will usually need five G
CSEs (A
-
C)
including science, English and maths, plus at least two A levels including biology and
preferably chemistry. Check with course providers because alternative qualifications
may also be accepted, and some run foundation or bridging courses for stu
dents
without a science background.

Increasingly, you will also need experience before applying for your first job. You
may be able to get this through a work placement as part of a sandwich degree
course, or by arranging work experience with companies dur
ing the holidays (check
the Society for General Microbiology (SGM) and Society for Applied Microbiology
(SFAM) for details of summer working schemes). Your university or local NHS Trust
may be able to give you further advice about voluntary opportunities.

It is also possible to get into microbiology by working your way up from laboratory
technician. This would involve studying part
-
time for a relevant degree.


Training and development

Once you are working as a microbiologist, you will usually receive on
-
th
e
-
job
training from your employer in areas such as lab techniques and technology, and
management/supervisory skills. Some employers may also encourage you to study
for a postgraduate qualification or membership of a professional body, such as the
Society o
f General Microbiology (this would also help you with professional
development).

Working in the NHS, you would start in a trainee clinical scientist post and spend up
to three years on a structured training programme working towards an MSc in
Microbiology.

To qualify as a clinical scientist (specialising in microbiology) you need
a further two years' experience in the lab before you can apply for the Association of
Clinical Scientists Certificate of Attainment. Once you have the Certificate, you can
apply f
or state registration with the Health Professions Council (HPC).

See the HPC and Association of Clinical Scientists' websites for further details of
approved courses and state registration, and see the Clinical Scientist job profile for
more information on

other areas of clinical science.


Skills and knowledge




the ability to keep up with the latest scientific developments



an enquiring mind



clear and logical thinking



good problem
-
solving skills



high levels of accuracy and attention to detail



good
teamworking skills



the ability to lead a team



excellent spoken and written communication skills



the ability to work with statistics and relevant computer packages.


More information

SEMTA (Science, Engi
neering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)

14 Upton Road


Watford


Hertfordshire


WD18 0JT


Tel: 0800 282167

www.semta.org.uk

NHS Careers

PO Box 376


Bristol


BS99 3EY


Tel: 0345 60 60 655

www
.nhscareers.nhs.uk

Society for General Microbiology

Marlborough House

Basingstoke Rd

Spencers Wood

Reading

RG7 1AG

www.sgm
-
microbiologycareers.org.uk

Society for Applied Microbiology (SFAM)

www.sfam.org.uk

Health Professions Council

Park House

184 Kennington Park Road

London

SE11 4BU

Tel: 020 7582 0866

www.hpc
-
uk.org

Association of Clinical Microbiologists

www.aclinmicrobiol.org.uk

Association for Clinical Biochemistry

130
-
132 Tooley Street

London

SE1 2TU

www.
acb.org.uk

Health Learning and Skills Advice Line

Tel: 08000 150850

Association of Clinical Scientists

c/o

Association of Clinical Biochemists

130
-
132 Tooley Street

London

SE1 2TU

Tel: 020 7940 8960

www.assclinsci.org


Opportunities

In the NHS, you could work in the diagnostic and pathology departments of larger
hospitals and medical schools. You could also w
ork with the Health Protection
Agency's Centre for Infections.



Health Protection Agency

You may also find work in universities, industrial researc
h and development,
scientific analysis and investigation, medical and technical writing, and government
agencies such as the Food Standards Agency or the Health and Safety Executive.

Jobs are advertised in the local and national press, in scientific journa
ls and by
specialist recruitment agencies.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading: (links open
new window)

Recruitment Centre for Clinical

Scientists

(to apply for the NHS trainee clinical
scientist scheme)

NHS Jobs

New Scientist

Nature

EMed Careers

Jobs In Science

We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.


Related industry information

Industry summary

The science industry is part of the engineering manufacturing, science and
mathematics sector, represented by Semta Sector Skills Council. This sector also
includes the following industries: automotive manufacture; electronics and electric
al
equipment manufacture; mechanical equipment manufacture; metals; and transport
equipment manufacture. Across the sector as a whole, the workforce comprises
approximately 2 million people, working across around 75,000 companies. UK
engineering and scienc
e turnover is over £250 billion. British engineering exports
amount to 37% of total UK exports of goods and services. The UK is Europe’s top
location for investment in pharmaceutical and biotechnology research and
development.

The science industries compri
ses pharmaceuticals, manufacture of medical and
surgical equipment plus science and engineering research and development, so
covers a range of disciplines. This research and development work takes place in a
variety of establishments, such as university de
partments, research based
employers or other scientific based employers. Overall, it comprises:



Research based pharmaceutical companies that discover, develop, market and
distribute medication and drugs



Research and development in pharmaceutical manufactur
ing companies



Bioscience companies that are a spin
-
off from university research departments



The application of bioscience to produce innovative medicines, therapeutics and
medical devices



The application of bioscience for the processing and production of m
aterials (i.e. the
use of bioscience in engineering industries)



Research and experimental development in bioscience.

Bioscience
-
related companies tend to be located in clusters (e.g. science parks that
are sometimes linked with university hospitals). One o
f the most significant cluster
groups is around Cambridge, Oxford and London. There is also a large cluster in the
North West, where there is a long established pharmaceutical industry. In Scotland,
clusters are centred around Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow
. In Wales and Northern
Ireland, clusters of companies are centred around the main universities.

Key facts:



There are an estimated 191,000 people employed in the industry in Great Britain,
which includes those involved in research and development with scie
nce
qualifications, as well as those with other qualifications and job roles that are not
science related but are essential to the business.



There are an estimated 6,490 companies.



The South East and East of England have the largest Science Industry
(Bioscience)
employment in the UK.



91% of the pharmaceuticals workforce and 88% of the medical devices workforce is
full
-
time.



Around 6% of those in science occupations are self
-
employed.



The workforce has a young age profile.



Bioscience graduates need to
have strengths in chemistry, mathematics and physics,
some course are not equipping them with the skills to cope with the cross
-
disciplinary nature of modern bioscience or the practical aspects of laboratory work.



Currently, there are insufficient numbers
pursuing technical courses, making it
difficult for industry to recruit good quality technicians.

Jobs in the industry

range from: analytical chemist/scientist, biochemist,
biomedical engineer, biomedical scientist, biologist, biotechnologist, clinical sci
entist,
microbiologist, physicist, research scientist, education lab technician, laboratory
technicians, medical laboratory assistant, scientific laboratory technician,
process/product design engineer and production engineer.


National and regional data

E
ast Midlands



The science industries in the region employ 8,700 people in
around 390 establishments. The healthcare sector is important in the region.

East of England



The science industries in the region employ 30,500 people in
around 900 establishments
. There is a well
-
established bioscience industry in the
region. Cambridge has:



Over 185 biotech companies



Around 20% of the world's Nobel Prize winners in medicine and chemistry



17 of the UK’s publicly quoted biotech companies



A quarter of the public biot
echnology companies in Europe

London



The science industries in the region employ 20,400 people in around 840
establishments. The following are the key activities of the region: Therapeutics;
Contract Research Organisations; Biomedical engineering; Bioinf
ormatics; Bio
-
nanotechnology; Food, environment and renewable; and Agricultural bioscience.

North East



The science industries in the region employ 7,600 people in around
200 establishments. Healthcare is a leading employer in the region, with over
140,00
0 people working in biotechnology, healthcare and life science companies, the
NHS and associated health organisations. High level medical research is being
carried out in the region’s universities and institutes (including the Institute for
Ageing & Health
, the Life Knowledge Park and many others). There are also strong
clinical capabilities within the region’s hospitals.

North West



The science industries in the region employ 17,800 people in around
580 establishments. Several major pharmaceutical compani
es are located in the
region. There is also a rapidly expanding biotechnology community and
internationally renowned academic and clinical research strengths. The main types
of bio
-
activity in the region include: Biopharmaceutical manufacture and research;

Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine; Treatment of infectious diseases;
Clinical trials and informatics; and Cancer research and care.

South East



The science industries in the region employ 49,200 people in around
1,260 establishments. The regio
n has the highest concentration of health
technologies companies in the UK. World
-
renowned universities, medical schools and
institutes undertaking pioneering health research are located in the region. 30% of
the UK’s life sciences research and development

activity is carried out in the South
East; 9 out of 10 of the world’s leading life sciences companies; and the top 12
global pharmaceutical companies have operations in the South East.

South West



The South West is a major centre of biomedical research w
ith
internationally recognised expertise, employing around 15,500 people in 560
companies. Employment in the sector is growing faster than the national average;
there was a 48% increase in employment numbers between 1998 and 2004. The
following are key are
as of bio
-
activity in the region: Biomedical; and Healthcare.

West Midlands



The science industries in the region employ 5,300 people in
around 420 establishments. A further 500 to 600 companies have also had some
recent interest or involvement in medical

technologies. Almost half of the activity in
the West Midlands is manufacturing related and more than a third service oriented.
The region is known for:



The most advanced ophthalmic surgical centre in the UK, located at The Academy of
Life



Sciences, Aston

University



Creation of the first pacemakers and plastic heart valve



Development and commercialisation of the first ‘his and her’ home fertility kits



Trial and development of the first allergy and herpes vaccines



Concept and development of first ever devic
e to detect skin cancer

Yorkshire and the Humber



The science industries in the region employ 10,800
people in around 450 establishments. Bioscience companies in the region are
focused on: entrepreneurial drug discovery and development; tissue engineering

and biomaterials; and Plant biotechnology. There are also a number of Contract
Research Organisations (CROs). There is a strong presence of pharmaceutical and
medical device organisations in the region.

Northern Ireland



The science industries in Norther
n Ireland employ 3,100 people
in around 140 establishments. Northern Ireland’s main focus is on Cancer Biotech
and Medical Devices. Other areas of strength are: tissue engineering; diabetes;
bioinformatics; clinical trials; neurodegenerative diseases; and
infectious diseases.

Scotland



The science industries in Scotland employ 14,300 people in around 480
establishments. Scotland has strengths in most aspects of Bioscience, strong
research and development groups and a coordinated policy focus through the
Sc
ottish Life Sciences Strategy. Cancer research, Cardiovascular research,
Neuroscience, Genomics, Proteomics and bioinformatics, Signal transduction biology,
Stem cell research and regenerative technology, Virology, and Immunology are key
areas of focus in
Scotland.

Wales



The science industries in Wales employ 7,600 people in around 270
establishments. Bioscience enterprise in Wales includes: diagnostics; medical
technology; clinical trials and drug development; systems biology; and agricultural
biotechnology.

[N.B. Data derived from Annual Business Inquiry, 2008, Northern Ireland Annual
Business Inquiry, 2007, and IDBR, 2008.]















http://www.prospects.ac.uk/microbiologist_job_description.htm




Microbiologists study microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae and protozoa.
They focus on the biology of microorganisms at both the molecular and cellular level, a
s well as their
ecology. They also study many important practical problems in medicine, agriculture and industry,
looking at how microorganisms affect us and how we can exploit them. Microorganisms affect every
aspect of life on earth and, consequently, mi
crobiologists work in a wide variety of settings, although
the majority of work is laboratory
-
based.

Microbiology is a vast subject which overlaps with other areas of life sciences, such as molecular
biology, immunology and biochemistry. Specialist areas
include basic research, medicine, healthcare
and food. Microbiologists can also work in industries such as pharmaceuticals, toiletries and
biotechnology, as well as in agriculture, the environment and in university teaching.


Typical work activities

Depend
ing on the specialist area, the work of a microbiologist can vary but tasks generally include:



observing, monitoring and identifying microorganisms;



tracking of microorganisms in a range of environments;



monitoring and assessing samples from a range of sou
rces;



using a variety of identification methods, including molecular techniques, to test samples;



developing new techniques, products and processes;



developing and planning methods to prevent the spread of disease;



developing and registering new medicines,

vaccines, diagnostic tests and pharmaceutical
products;



planning, implementing and evaluating new products in clinical trials;



developing products, such as enzymes, vitamins, hormones, and antimicrobials;



growing microbial cultures, e.g. for use in the fo
od and beverage industry or in agriculture;



working with specialist computer software to undertake studies and research;



managing and overseeing laboratory work.

Microbiologists may also undertake activities in the office, and elsewhere, depending on the
field in
which they work, which may include:



planning and organising resources and activities;



following regular sampling schedules within a specific environment;



collecting samples from different types of environments, such as agricultural sites;



quality
control in manufacturing processes, e.g. checking for signs of contamination;



maintaining accurate and up
-
to
-
date records;



writing up research findings and producing reports;



keeping up with new research and attending national and international conferences

and other
events;



liaising with colleagues from non
-
scientific departments;



teaching students, preparing assessment and providing feedback;



providing information and advice to colleagues and external bodies.





















http://www.sgm
-
microbiologycareers.org.uk/jobprofiles.html




Name: Arwyn Edwards

Present occupation:

Lecturer in Biology

Aberystwyth University

Education:

BSc (Hons) Microbiology,
Aberystwyth University

PhD Aberystwyth University

Work history:

Lecturer in Biology, Institute of Biological,
Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth
University

Teaching Fellow, Institute of Biological,
Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth
U
niversity


Q: What got you interested in
microbiology?

Reading Richard Preston's

The Hot Zone

at the age of
14 or so and being amazed at the terrible power of
something as small and 'simple' as a few genes in a
protein coat (in this case Ebola virus) to

do such harm
to a 'complicated' organism billions of times larger
-

in
this case humans. For the most part, we live our lives
in blissful ignorance of the microscopic world until it
crashes in on ours in such a dramatic fashion. The
more I read the more c
urious I got about all aspects
of microbiology.



Q:Can you describe a typical day in
your job?

In some ways I think I have at least four jobs as a
lecturer! Firstly, as a teacher, being a lecturer
obviously involves giving lectures, holding tutorials
and
practical classes, as well as assessing students
work and planning new courses. In term this takes up
a lot of my time. Secondly as a practitioner of
science, it involves working in the lab, and in my case
going away to sample microbes living on glaciers i
n
the Arctic or Alps. Thirdly, a lecturer often has to
administrate their science. Research is an expensive
business, so you have to work hard to try and catch
funding to support your work, as well as direct the
work of people in your research group. Final
ly you
have to communicate your science, and this often
involves writing papers or giving talks at conferences
about your research findings. It can also involve
things like school visits or media interviews. All this
means a lot of time in the office, some

time in the
lab and never enough time in the field.




Q: What do you love most about your
job?

I like parts of all four 'jobs' but what I love most is
going on fieldwork expeditions to the Arctic. This can
mean working in some pretty remote places, with
dangers such as crevasses, polar bears or cold
injuries, but the opportunities to go places I'd
o
therwise never have a chance, and work intensively
on science in beautiful locations make it unmissable.



Q: What do you like least about your
job?

I'm just settling into the job and it can be pretty
daunting trying to get the off the ground as an
indepen
dent researcher and a lecturer at the same
time. Fortunately new lecturers are assigned an
experienced member of staff, usually a senior
lecturer, as a mentor to advise on how to get going.



Q: What are the most important skills
you need to successfully d
o your job?

The last time I looked at my CV, it had an odd mix of
skills on it which are required for the day job, ranging
from polar bear defense and weapons handling
through to molecular biology, from crevasse rescue to
dynamic presentation skills and fr
om casualty care to
statistics! I suspect that it's not any of those skills
specifically, but rather that they show I have the
ability to develop skills and knowledge rapidly and
communicate them to others, be it as a research
paper or a lecture to student
s.



Q: What two pieces of information do
you wish someone had told you at the
start of your career?

To be very cautious in estimating the time required to
do an experiment: what you think will take an hour,
can easily take a day, a day a week, and so on!

We also live in a state of profound ignorance about
much of the living world since it is microbial in
nature, but unfortunately that tiny is not necessarily
trivial.





http://targetjobs.co.uk/careers
-
advice/a
-
to
-
z
-
of
-
careers/food
-
scientist



Food scientist

Food scientists apply scientific expertise and technological principles to the
study of food
products and processes within manufacturing and research settings.

The consumer
-
led demand for safe, nutritious and convenient food products has resulted in a
growth in opportunities for trained food scientists.

Food

scientist

job

description
:

Typical

employers

|

Qualifications

and

training

|

Key

skills

|

Useful

links

|

Find

jobs

and

courses

Food scientists are employed by a variety of public and private sector organisations including
food manufacturing and retail companies, universities, central go
vernment organisations and
specialist research associations/consultancies. Food scientists study the microbiological,
physical and chemical properties of food and ingredients; evaluate the nutritional value, colour,
flavour and texture of food; test food s
amples for particular types of moulds, yeast and bacteria
that may be harmful; check that raw products are fresh and ensure that food manufacturing
processes conform with government, processing, consumer and industry standards. Other
responsibilities of th
e job include:



exploring alternative manufacturing methods;



producing new food products;



working closely with other food production staff including microbiologists, engineers,
packaging specialists, buyers etc;



establishing low
-
cost wholesale food producti
on methods;



investigating and setting standards for safety and quality.

Opportunities are advertised by careers services and recruitment agencies, via the internet, in
newspapers and in a variety of specialist publications including

Food

Industry

News

and

Food

Manufacture
. Although vacancies only attract moderate competition, early applications are
advisable to larger employers. Speculative applications are also recommended, for which
directories such as the

Food

Trades

Directory

and the

International

Food

Ingredients

Directory

may be useful.

Qualifications and training required

To become a food scientist a good honours degree in an appropriate subject

is normally
necessary, such as:



food science/technology



food engineering



biochemistry



nutrition



microbiology



chemistry



life/medical/physical sciences .

Possession of a food
-
related postgraduate qualification can be beneficial, particularly for
candidates without a relevant first degree. Candidates possessing food industry work experience
are often at

an advantage. Experience can be gained via food production line employment, or by
working as a technician. Job shadowing, networking and vacation placements can also be
helpful.

Key skills for food scientists



Knowledge of a range of sciences and their app
lications to food.



Good business, IT, analytical and numerical abilities.



Excellent communication and teamworking skills.



Meticulous thoroughness, particularly with regard to health, safety and hygiene.