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Career and Education Opportunities for Microbiologists in Chicago, Illinois

Microbiologists can find many career and educational opportunities in the Chicago, Illinois area. About 850 people are currently employed as microbiologists in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 14% to 970 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.

The income of a microbiologist is about $29 per hour or $61,870 yearly on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $30 per hour or $64,350 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Sciences, people working as microbiologists in Illinois earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Life Sciences nationally. People working as microbiologists can fill a number of jobs, such as: study director, microbiology laboratory manager, and microscopist.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including six within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a microbiologist. Microbiologists usually hold post-Doctoral training, so it will take at least four or five years to learn 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 Chicago 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.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • Food Technologist. Use chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, and distribute food.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Zoologist. Study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Microbiologist Training

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology which graduated one and three students respectively in 2008.

University of Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Chicago, 5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637. University of Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,620 students and an admission rate of 28%. University of Chicago has a doctor's degree program in Microbiology which graduated five students in 2008.

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science - North Chicago, IL

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, 3333 Green Bay Rd, North Chicago, IL 60064. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is a small university located in North Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,741 students. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science has 2 areas of study related to Microbiologist. They are:

  • Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology, master's degree and doctor's degree.
  • Microbiology, master's degree and doctor's degree.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has 2 areas of study related to Microbiologist. They are:

  • Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology, doctor's degree.
  • Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences, Other Specialties, master's degree and doctor's degree.

Illinois Institute of Technology - Chicago, IL

Illinois Institute of Technology, 3300 S Federal St, Chicago, IL 60616. Illinois Institute of Technology is a medium sized school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,404 students and an admission rate of 57%. Illinois Institute of Technology has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology which graduated fourteen, zero, and three students respectively in 2008.

Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago, 820 N. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611-9810. Loyola University Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,670 students and an admission rate of 74%. Loyola University Chicago has a master's degree program in Microbiology.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.