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Career and Education Opportunities for Microbiologists in Columbia, Missouri

There are many career and education opportunities for microbiologists in the Columbia, Missouri area. There are currently 240 working microbiologists in Missouri; this should grow by 25% to about 300 working microbiologists in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for microbiologists are expected to grow by about 12.2%. 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 $28 hourly or $59,530 annually on average in Missouri and about $30 per hour or $64,350 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Microbiologists earn more than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Missouri and more than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. Jobs in this field include: clinical laboratory scientist, medical microbiologist, and microscopist.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be a microbiologist, among thirteen schools of higher education total in the Columbia 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 starting with 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.
  • 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

University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO

University of Missouri-Columbia, 105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. University of Missouri-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,130 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Missouri-Columbia has a bachelor's degree program in Microbiology which graduated four students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Missouri

Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri photo by Grey_Wanderer

Columbia is situated in Boone County, Missouri. It has a population of over 100,733, which has grown by 19.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia are valued at $171,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Columbia, down from six hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 15 minutes. More than 50.5% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 6.8%, which is less than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Sugar Grove Church, Fairview Church and Emmanuel Church are among the churches located in Columbia. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Columbia is home to the Columbia Country Club and the Columbia Plaza as well as Nickell Park and Stephens Park. Shopping centers in the area include Whitegate Shopping Center, North County Shopping Center and Biscayne Mall. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Churchill's, Columbia Super 8 Motel and Arrow Head Motel LLC for temporary stays in the area.