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Career and Education Opportunities for Microbiologists in Birmingham, Alabama

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for microbiologists in the Birmingham, Alabama area. About 200 people are currently employed as microbiologists in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow 19% to 230 people employed. This is better than the national trend for microbiologists, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.2% over the next eight years. Microbiologists generally investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi.

A person working as a microbiologist can expect to earn about $26 per hour or $54,480 per year on average in Alabama and about $30 per hour or $64,350 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Sciences, people working as microbiologists in Alabama earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Life Sciences nationally. Microbiologists work in a variety of jobs, including: bacteriologist, chemist, and study director.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be a microbiologist, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. Microbiologists usually hold post-Doctoral training, so you can expect to spend at least four or five years studying to be a microbiologist if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or at least eight to ten years if you have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Microbiologist

Microbiologist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, microbiologists investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. They also includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.

Microbiologists supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists. They also use a variety of specialized equipment such as electron microscopes, gas chromatographs and high pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence activated cell sorters and phosphoimagers. Equally important, microbiologists have to isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture and nutrition. They are often called upon to ready technical reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes. They are expected to study growth and general characteristics of bacteria and other microorganisms to understand their relationship to human and animal health. Finally, microbiologists study the structure and function of human, animal and plant tissues, cells, pathogens and toxins.

Every day, microbiologists are expected to be able to piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for microbiologists to observe action of microorganisms upon living tissues of plants and other microorganisms, and on dead organic matter. They are often called upon to investigate the relationship between organisms and disease including the control of epidemics and the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms. They also furnish laboratory services for health departments, for community environmental health programs and for physicians needing data for diagnosis and treatment. They are sometimes expected to examine physiological and cultural characteristics, using microscope, to pinpoint and classify microorganisms in human and food specimens. Somewhat less frequently, microbiologists are also expected to study the structure and function of human, animal and plant tissues, cells, pathogens and toxins.

and conduct chemical analyses of substances such as acids and enzymes. And finally, they sometimes have to observe action of microorganisms upon living tissues of plants and other microorganisms, and on dead organic matter.

Like many other jobs, microbiologists must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Epidemiologist. Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, and other health outcomes and develop the means for prevention and control.
  • Medical Scientist. Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Microbiologist Training

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has a doctor's degree program in Microbiology which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.