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Career and Education Opportunities for Microbiologists in Columbia, Maryland

Microbiologists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Columbia, Maryland area. About 1,370 people are currently employed as microbiologists in Maryland. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 8% to about 1,470 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for microbiologists are expected to grow by about 12.2%. In general, microbiologists investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi.

Microbiologists earn approximately $44 per hour or $91,650 annually on average in Maryland. Nationally they average about $30 per hour or $64,350 annually. Microbiologists earn more than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Maryland and more than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. Jobs in this field include: chemist, virology director, and physical scientist.

There are 109 schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including eight within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a microbiologist. 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.

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 Columbia 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University, 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059-0001. Howard University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,696 students and an admission rate of 49%. Howard University has a bachelor's degree program in Microbiology.

University of Maryland-Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250. University of Maryland-Baltimore County is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,268 students and an admission rate of 72%. University of Maryland-Baltimore County has a bachelor's degree program in Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology which graduated fifty-one students in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has a master's degree program in Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences, Other Specialties which graduated three students in 2008.

Georgetown University - Washington, DC

Georgetown University, 37th and O St NW, Washington, DC 20057. Georgetown University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,318 students and an admission rate of 19%. Georgetown University has 2 areas of study related to Microbiologist. They are:

  • Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated fifteen and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Microbiology, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated six and two students respectively in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has 2 areas of study related to Microbiologist. They are:

  • Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences, Other Specialties, doctor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Microbiology, postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences, Other Specialties which graduated three and fourteen students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has a bachelor's degree program in Microbiology which graduated two students in 2008.

University of Maryland-Baltimore - Baltimore, MD

University of Maryland-Baltimore, 520 West Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1627. University of Maryland-Baltimore is a medium sized university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 6,156 students. University of Maryland-Baltimore has a doctor's degree program in Microbiology which graduated seven students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.