Duties and responsibilities
A bacteriologist studies and investigates a group of single-celled micro-organisms that are classified as ‘bacteria’. The typical duties and responsibilities of a bacteriologist will vary slightly depending on the area they work. For example, some will work for companies that manufacture pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, food and drink, home and personal care products and other consumer goods. Whereas other bacteriologists will work in research and will study a particular genus or species. Regardless of the area, all bacteriologists will have duties and responsibilities such as:
- Designing and conducting experiments on bacteria
- Understanding the health and safety issues surrounding working with bacteria
- Making observations and drawing conclusions
- Writing reports and scientific papers
- Presenting papers at scientific meetings and conferences with other scientists
As a bare minimum, bacteriologists will need a bachelor’s degree in a science that includes elements of microbiology. Often, bacteriologists will have a Ph.D in a related topic.
Skills and relevant work experience
As well as the relevant education, bacteriologists will need skills such as:
- Attention to detail, as bacteriologist will need to work methodically and to a high level of precisions
- Written communication skills, as bacteriologists will need to write reports that present their findings
- Time-management, as bacteriologists will need to be able to work to tight deadlines
- Problem-solving skills, are bacteriologists will need to use scientific experiments and analysis to find solutions to complex problems
Bacteriologists tend to work normal full time hours. When approaching a research deadline, for example, they may have to work overtime.
According to Salary Expert, the median annual salary of bacteriologists in the United States is $81,155. At the lower end, bacteriologists earn around $58,113 per year. Whereas at the higher end, experienced bacteriologists can earn around $101,879 per year.
Bacteriologists will begin their career working under and experienced scientist. As they develop their knowledge and skill they can progress to becoming head scientists. At this level, they will be able to instruct other scientists and lead projects.