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Alternative titles for this job include

Microbiologists study small organisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae.

Average salary (a year)

£19,000 Starter


£44,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a microbiologist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


To become a microbiologist, you could do a degree in microbiology, biology or biological science.

Postgraduate courses

You might need a postgraduate qualification to get a job as a microbiologist with some employers.

You could do an integrated postgraduate master's course. These courses include independent research and can lead to a PhD.

Training programme for the NHS

If you want to work in the NHS as a microbiologist, you could apply to the Scientist Training Programme (STP) after your degree.

You'll train on the job, get paid a salary and receive a master's degree at the end.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You may be able to become a microbiologist by doing a laboratory scientist or research scientist degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information


You might be able to get into microbiology by working your way up from a laboratory technician.

You would need to study part time for a science degree or degree apprenticeship while you work.


You could improve your career possibilities if you get work experience.

You can find opportunities with the NHS, as part of your degree course or by working during the holidays. Your university can also help you find voluntering opportunities.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You can find out about registering as a scientist from the Science Council.

Further information

You can get more advice about working in microbiology from the Microbiology Society and Health Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • maths knowledge
  • science skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a microbiologist, you might:

  • monitor, identify and help control diseases
  • develop and test new medicines using microbiology techniques
  • find out how microorganisms make antibodies, vaccines and hormones
  • assess microbes in foods, crops and soil
  • check the safety of manufactured food or medicines
  • use microorganisms to control pollution and dispose of waste safely

You might also need to present your research, supervise other staff and complete admin.

Working environment

You could work at a university or in a laboratory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could:

In the NHS, you could progress to specialist, team manager and consultant.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Laboratory Scientist

  • Wage: £18,000.00 Annually
  • Location: MANCHESTER

Apprentice Scientist

  • Wage: £21,028.06 Annually
  • Location: Darlington

Courses In England

Applied Science

  • Start date: 01 September 2023
  • Location: London

Applied Science

  • Provider: WEALD SCHOOL, THE
  • Start date: 03 September 2023
  • Location: Billingshurst

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