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Career and Education Opportunities for Microbiologists in San Francisco, California

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for microbiologists in the San Francisco, California area. About 1,900 people are currently employed as microbiologists in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 32% to 2,500 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. In general, microbiologists investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi.

Income for microbiologists is about $36 per hour or $76,930 per year on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $30 per hour or $64,350 annually. Microbiologists earn more than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in California and more than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. Microbiologists work in a variety of jobs, including: microbiology laboratory director, public health microbiology laboratory director, and electron microscopist.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of San Francisco where you can study to be a microbiologist, among eighty-six schools of higher education total in the San Francisco area. Given that the most common education level for microbiologists is post-Doctoral training, 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.


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 San Francisco 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.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • 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.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Park Ranger. Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.
  • 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.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.
  • Soil Scientist. Conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.


Mills College - Oakland, CA

Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94613. Mills College is a small college located in Oakland, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,481 students and an admission rate of 55%. Mills College has a bachelor's degree program in Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology which graduated three students in 2008.

University of California-Berkeley - Berkeley, CA

University of California-Berkeley, , Berkeley, CA 94720. University of California-Berkeley is a large university located in Berkeley, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 35,353 students and an admission rate of 23%. University of California-Berkeley has a bachelor's degree and a doctor's degree program in Microbiology which graduated one and nine students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California photo by Optigan13

San Francisco is located in San Francisco County, California. It has a population of over 808,976, which has grown by 4.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Francisco, 180, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Francisco cost $218,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in San Francisco, up from fifty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Francisco are professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 31 minutes. More than 45.0% of San Francisco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of San Francisco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Gold Mountain Monastery, Golden Gate Community Church of the Nazarene and Golden Gate Lutheran Church are among the churches located in San Francisco. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the United Methodist Church.

San Francisco is home to the Pier 88 and the Prayer Book Cross as well as Helen Wills Playground and Music Concourse. Shopping malls in the area include Yerba Buena Square Shopping Center, Fox Plaza Shopping Center and Galleria At Crocker Center Shopping Center. Visitors to San Francisco can choose from Astoria Hotel, A-1 Inn Motel and Best Western Canterbury Hotel for temporary stays in the area.