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Occupation Details

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Job Zone

Most of these occupations require post-graduate qualifications. For example, they may require a masters degree, and some require a Ph.D., or M.D.

Related Experience
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience plus specialist training to be able to do their job.

Job Training
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. They may also require very specialist skills. Very advanced communication and organisational skills are required. Examples include lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and most scientists.

€28k > 55
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€28 - 55
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
Morgan McKinley

Last Updated: February, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

While the supply of graduates appears to be sufficient to meet the annual recruitment requirement (5,500 graduates in 2017), the demand is arising for roles for those with a high level of experience and/or in niche areas. The demand is for a small number of people given the relatively small size of this occupation (approx. 1% of total employment) and in the areas associated with pharmaceuticals, biopharma and food development.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category


Also included in this category:

Analytical chemists; industrial chemists; biomedical scientists; forensic scientists; microbiologists; geologists; medical physicists; meteorologists.

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 6%
Male / Female: 60 / 40%
Non-Nationals: 21%
With Third Level: 95%
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At a Glance... header image

Studies and researches micro-organisms like bacteria and algae.

Videos & Interviews header image

Follow the links below to watch videos related to this occupation:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Microbiologist - from: YouTube Video
Go..Microbiologist - from: icould [UK] Video

The Work header image

There are many different types of Microbiologists such as bacteriologists (bacteria), virologists (viruses), mycologists (fungi) and immunologists (the immune system).  
Microbiologists study life forms like protozoa, bacteria and viruses that are too small to be seen without using a microscope. These organisms are known as microbes or micro-organisms. Some microbes cause disease but most are harmless, and some can be used to benefit humans. Microbiologists deal with both types of microbe in the water industry.  
Other microbiologists work in research laboratories, investigating conditions like AIDS or malaria. They study the structure of microbes, how they reproduce and grow, and the chemical reactions within them. Microbiologists develop drugs and vaccines. Their studies can take years and involve many changes to tests and experiments.  
In hospitals, they may find the microbes responsible for a patient's illness. They take a sample of cells from the patient and grow these in a special dish, uncontaminated by any other microbes. The results can help doctors to diagnose and treat illness.  
In the pharmaceutical and biochemical industries, microbiologists research, produce and test products like antiseptics, disinfectants, cosmetics, vitamins, antibiotics and vaccines.  
In food and drinks companies, microbiologists improve existing products and develop new ones. The process of making beer, wine, bread and yogurt involves micro-organisms. The microbiologist makes sure hygiene standards are maintained and checks the safety of food. They may look for ways to dispose of, or recycle waste safely and economically.  
Microbiologists also play an important role in molecular biology and genetic engineering. These techniques can be used to change a microbe so that it works more effectively, or makes a useful product. For example, insulin, which is lacking in people who have diabetes, has been made from genetically engineered bacteria.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Investigate the relationship between organisms and disease including the control of epidemics and the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.


Prepare technical reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes.


Supervise biological technologists and technicians and other scientists.


Provide laboratory services for health departments, for community environmental health programs and for physicians needing information for diagnosis and treatment.


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.


Examine physiological, morphological, and cultural characteristics, using microscope, to identify and classify microorganisms in human, water, and food specimens.


Study growth, structure, development, and general characteristics of bacteria and other microorganisms to understand their relationship to human, plant, and animal health.


Isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms in prescribed or developed media, controlling moisture, aeration, temperature, and nutrition.


Observe action of microorganisms upon living tissues of plants, higher animals, and other microorganisms, and on dead organic matter.


Study the structure and function of human, animal and plant tissues, cells, pathogens and toxins.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.


Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others: Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.


Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Biology: Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.


English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Chemistry: Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.


Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Education and Training: Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Learning Strategies: Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a microbiologist, you will need the ability to plan and do practical experiments, using technical equipment and computers. Be able to identify, select, organise and communicate information.  
You will need a logical approach to problem solving, and must be accurate, methodical, patient and with analytical skills. Good written and oral communication skills are needed to present your findings, and work on your own or as part of a team.

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Microbiologist - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Microbiologist, clinical - from: GradIreland

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Medical & Healthcare
Biological, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science
Farming, Horticulture & Forestry
Earth & Environment

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