How to Become a Clinical Microbiologist
If you choose to pursue a career as a clinical microbiologist, you would be dealing with the identification of infections. You would need to identify infections caused by bacteria, virus, fungi or other human parasites. As a clinical microbiologist, you would be working in diagnostic and pathology labs belonging to hospitals or medical schools. Your primary responsibility would be to protect the community at large against infectious diseases. The focus of your work would be on the diagnosis of diseases and their treatments.
To become a clinical microbiologist, you need to posses a college degree. A degree related to medicine is preferred in the field. Medical physics, biomedical and biotechnology degrees are also considered, as are degrees in life sciences, physics and engineering.
In order to perform independent research or to get into teaching, you need to possess a doctorate of philosophy, or a PhD. For jobs in management, product inspection or development, a master’s degree is adequate. For non-research jobs, a bachelor’s degree is absolutely fine.
As you prepare to be a clinical microbiologist, you will need to do the following:
- Choose an option of studying either part time or full time.
- Follow a schedule for both studying and training for the specialization you have chosen.
- Work under a supervisor in different laboratories and hospitals.
- Complete a postgraduate diploma or master’s degree in science if necessary for your ultimate career goal.
- After successfully completing the training, apply for senior clinical scientist posts.
As a clinical microbiologist, you will be investigating the characteristics and growth pattern of microscopic organisms. The activities in which you would be involved include the following:
- studying characteristics of organisms like bacteria, virus, fungi or parasites;
- gaining specialization in food, environmental or industrial microbiology;
- performing analysis of viruses or immunology;
- making application of biotechnology, to enhance the knowledge of diseases and cell reproduction;
- advising and keeping the medical staff informed;
- reading medical and scientific literature and
- supervising biomedical scientists and managing laboratory work.
- Perform independent or industrialized research in the field of microbiology.
- Develop interest in diseases specific to infections that affect certain groups.
- Focus on molecular diagnostic techniques.
- Provide assistance to governments and hospitals in controlling infections such as HIV/AIDS.
- Gain expertise in viral infection management and bone marrow transplantation, which will be in demand in the future.
Tips for Becoming a Clinical Microbiologist
You should develop certain attributes that would help you to excel in your career as a clinical microbiologist. You should possess the following traits:
- ability to make the patients understand the science involved in clinical microbiology,
- exceptional communication and analytical skills,
- adequate interpretative skills,
- ability to work in teams and
- excellent clinical expertise.