Duties and responsibilities
Mycologists are biologists who study fungi (e.g., yeast, rust, mildew, mold). Mycologists can work as academics, where they will teach students and to conduct research. Or, they may pursue a career in an industry, for example healthcare, where they will research the health and healing benefits of fungi. Regardless of what route a mycologist decides to take, their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Studying the mechanisms of life processes of edible, poisonous and parasitic fungi to discover if they are useful in medicine, agriculture or industry
- Applying the findings of their research to medicine, agriculture or industry
- Developing improved methods of propagating and growing edible fungi
- Writing reports on findings and presenting them
As a bare minimum, mycologists will need a bachelor’s degree in a science that includes elements of microbiology. Often, mycologists will have a Ph.D in a related topic.
Skills and relevant work experience
As well as the relevant education, mycologists will need skills such as:
- Logical-thinking skills, as mycologists will need to use sound reasoning and judgement to form conclusions from experiments
- Written communication skills, as mycologists will need to write reports that present their findings
- Mathematical skills, as mycologists will need to use mathematical equations and formulas in their work
- Problem-solving skills, are mycologists will need to use scientific experiments and analysis to find solutions to complex problems
Mycologists 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 mycologist in the United States is $70,796. At the lower end, mycologists earn around $51,419 per year. Whereas at the higher end, experienced mycologists can earn around $88,471 per year.
Mycologists typically receive greater responsibility and independence in their work as they gain experience. They also gain greater responsibility through certification and higher education. Ph.D. microbiologists usually lead research teams and control the direction and content of projects.