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Description: Microbiologists study microorganism such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and parasites.  They perform research to understand how these organisms live and interact with environments.

Knowledge Required: Microbiologists have knowledge of environmental microbiology and microbial genetics and physiology. Statistics, mathematics, and computer science are also important for complex data analysis.

Skills: Attention to detail, communication, mathematics, observation and problem solving

Career Path: Microbiologists must complete at least a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, biochemistry, or cell biology.

Best Cities for this job: San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta

Median Annual Income: National: $66,260 CA: $42,000

Future Growth: Employment of microbiologists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. More microbiologists will be needed to contribute to basic research, solve problems encountered in industrial production processes, and monitor environmental conditions to ensure the public’s health and safety.

From the field: “I became a flight instructor, and this is really what awakened my curiosity about understanding how the planet formed, and how different surface features formed.” – Dr. Katrina Edwards

Did You Know: If you pick up a handful of garden soil you will be holding hundreds if not thousands of different kinds of microbes.

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