Microorganisms are the smallest living creatures that appear everywhere is the nature. Most of the microorganisms are not visible to naked eye. They are present in the environment, on the human body, inside the human body. They are beneficial and destructive. Some microbes purify water, while some microbes pollute water. Some microbes help in the production of edible food products, while some of them contaminate food. They influence our health, food, goods, Industries and even our survival. This write-up is a complete guide on how to become microbiologist.
What is Microbiology?
Microbiology deals with the study of Microorganisms and their effects on other living organisms. These microorganisms include bacteria, Virus, Algae, Fungi and Protozoa. Most of these microorganisms are not visible to naked eye. The person who studies the microorganisms and their effects are known as Microbiologists.
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Is there any demand for Microbiologists?
Yes. We all know how the Corona virus has shaken the world. An invisible organism has taken the lives of lakhs of people. On the other hand, the scientists are doing research on the virus to produce vaccine against covid and released few vaccines that help us to fight against Covid this year (2021).
Today the whole world is looking to the scientists for a vaccine. This is how important the role of Research scientist who is an expert in the field of science, especially Microbiology when it comes to research of the dreadful pandemic diseases.
Branches of Microbiology:
Bacteriology: The branch of Microbiology which involves in the study of bacteria and the diseases caused by bacteria.
Immunology:The study of microbiology that involves in the study of immune system. Our body releases Antibodies which is the natural immune response that happens when the foreign bodies, Antigens enter our body. Immunology plays a major role during the production of Vaccines.
Mycology: The branch of Microbiology that involves in the study of Fungi and Molds.
Nematology: The branch of Microbiology that involves in the study of Nematodes.
Phycology: The branch of Microbiology that involves in the study of Algae.
Virology: The branch of Microbiology that involves in the study of Viruses.
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How to Become Microbiologist After Class 12?
In Intermediate (Class 12) you need to choose BiPC which includes the subjects Biology, Physics and Chemistry.
You can also opt for the course MBiPC which includes the subjects Math, Biology, Physics and Chemistry.
There are many universities and private colleges which offer a B.Sc. course with Microbiology as one of the 3 subjects.
There are different combinations of subjects in bachelor’s degree ( B.SC) in Microbiology like –
- Microbiology, Botany, Chemistry
- Microbiology, Chemistry, Biochemistry
- Microbiology, Zoology, Biochemistry
The combinations of subjects depend on the University/College you choose. Different Universities/Colleges offer various combinations of subjects as mentioned above.You can choose any set of subjects based on your interest.
Course fee for B.Sc. Microbiology:
The course fee for B.Sc. Microbiology depends upon the college that you choose. Some colleges consider your Intermediate marks to decide the fee.
On an average the course fee for BSc will be around 10 to 15 thousand per year.
After successful completion of your Graduation in Microbiology, you can go with the jobs related to the field of Microbiology which will be discussed below.
If you pursue postgraduation in Microbiology, you need to successfully complete the graduation and write the entrance exams of the universities that you wanted to join.
M.Sc. in Microbiology:
To be eligible to apply for Post-graduation program of Microbiology you need to hold bachelor’sdegree in Microbiology or any subject related to life sciences as your bachelor’sdegree.
Entrance exams for M.SC Microbiology:
The seat allotment will be based on the marks scored in the National level entrance exams or University level entrance exam for PG program. SVUCET, CG PAT, IISER IAT, OUAT, GSAT, BHU UET, NEST are some entrance exams of various universities.
Course fee to study M.Sc. in Microbiology:
The course fee of M.Sc. Microbiology ranges between INR 40,000 to INR 1,00,000 per year.
The fee differs for various universities. Sometimes it may also depend on the rank/score in your entrance exam.
Various microbiology courses for Masters:
In Medical Microbiology course you study in specific about various bacteria, virus, fungi, protozoa that cause diseases to Human beings. You will learn in detailed about the size, shape, genetics of the disease-causing microorganisms, the process of onset of the disease due microorganisms, diagnosis of the disease and various preventive measures and about the medications to cure the disease.
In the Industrial Microbiology course, you study about the microorganisms that are involved in the industrial field. You study about the microorganisms that produce various antibiotics, enzymes, amino acids. It also involves the study of Industrial Cheese production, wine, beer production etc. in which the microorganisms and their enzymes play a major role.
Unlike the above two courses, in general microbiology you will not study about the microorganisms related to one specific field. Instead, you will study about the microbes of different fields. For example you will study Medical Microbiology, Virology, Industrial Microbiology, Food microbiology, Environment microbiology etc.
The best part of opting to study General Microbiology is your studies will not be restricted to a particular branch of Microbiology. This widens the job opportunities.
PhD in Microbiology:
To pursue PhD in Microbiology
- You must hold a postgraduation degree from a recognized university.
- You must score at least 55 % of marks in your academics.
- You need to write the entrance exams and meet the eligibility criteria.
- The selections will be based on the merit and interview.
Entrance exams for PhD Microbiology:
GATE – Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering
It is the entrance exam for admission for PhD in Microbiology, Biotechnology and other branches related to science.
This is an entrance exam conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA). This entrance exam for admission of PhD and helps students to get fellowships. This exam is held twice a year. This is also an exam for getting selected as Assistant Professors.
UGC-CSIR-NET is a National level entrance exam conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA). Candidates are awarded as Junior Research Fellow (JRF) based on the performance in this exam. The aggregate marks of both papers should be at least 40 %.
This exam is also an eligibility test for the post of Lecturers in Universities of India and colleges.
This is also an entrance exam for PhD program. This exam is conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA).
Once you are selected for the program, you can pursue your PhD. The duration of PhD program is 3 to 5 years.
Based on the type of research Microbiology is categorized into Basic Microbiology and Applied Microbiology
- Basic Microbiology research:
Basic Microbiology research is also known as Pure Microbiology Research. The basic Microbiology research is done to understand the scientific phenomenon that are involved in our day-to-day life in the better way. The research that come under Pure Microbiology are
- Astro microbiology, Evolutionary microbiology, Cellular Microbiology, Microbial Physiology, Microbial genetics, Microbial ecology.
- Applied Microbiology research:
The applied microbiology research utilizes the information obtained from Pure or Basic research to solve the problems in different fields.
The research that come under applied Microbiology are
- Agricultural Microbiology which involves the study or relationship between microorganisms, Plants and Soil.
- Food Microbiology involves in the study of microorganisms that are useful in the production of various food varieties like cottage cheese, curd, alcoholic beverages etc. The studies mainly involve the identification of microorganisms in spoiled food that cause food borne diseases and deadly food intoxications like Botulism and taking proper measures to eradicate food borne illness.
- Microbial Biotechnology which involves the study of microbes that are used in the preparation of various products in the industries.
- Medical Microbiology which involves research on microorganisms related to medical field.
- Pharmaceutical Microbiology involves in the study of microorganisms used in Pharmaceutical companies for the preparation of vaccines and antibiotics (Example: Production of Antibiotic Penicillin from the mold (fungus) Penicillium chrysogenum. This is used to treat various bacterial infections.)
Career After Studying Microbiology:
Job roles in various fields of Microbiology:
As a Bacteriologist: The responsibility of Bacteriologist is to study the shape, structure, genome, growth and development of Bacteria and their effects on other organisms. The basic work that you need to perform is that you will have to prepare the medium required for the growth of Bacteria, grow them in the sterilized condition, isolate them, study them by using various methods and so on.
As a Virologist: The major responsibility of a virologist is to study about the various virus and their genome.
Environmental Microbiologist: The responsibility of Environmental Microbiologist is to study about the microorganisms that interact with the environment and vice versa. For example, the work involves in the study of microbes that decompose environmental wastes like heavy metals and the microbes (Rhizobium, Azotobacter) which convert atmospheric Nitrogen to inorganic compounds that are used by plants.
Clinical Microbiologists: This basic responsibility of the clinical Microbiologists is to perform test, collect various samples from the humans or animals (if related to veterinary field) and detect the microorganism and the disease that it causes.
Industrial Microbiologist: The responsibility of Industrial microbiologist is to check the presence of unwanted microbes related to the industry like microbial growth in the machines, pipes etc.
In Food Industries the role of Quality Control Analyst is ensure the safety, quality of food, and to monitor the hygiene practices during the preparation of any edible product.
In Agriculture department: This job mainly involves in field work where you need to collect the samples from the plants, soil and need to identify the plant diseases. Soil should be tested for the presence of microbes to eradicate soil borne infections to plants.
In Teaching field: In the universities you can apply for the post of assistant Professor and Professor. But for the post of professor in a university you need to have a PhD in Microbiology. Some private colleges allow the teaching for undergraduates if you hold a master’s degree in microbiology.
In Research field: You can work as a microbiologist and research scientists in various research organizations.
In Aqua Industries: For example, your job role involves in the collection of samples from the aquatic animals like fish, shrimps and test them report the results.
There are many other job opportunities that you can explore. Many students who hold a Microbiology degree (UG or PG) are also in the jobs of Medical Coding.
Prescott’s Microbiology by Joanne Willey, Linda Sherwood, and Christopher J. Woolvertonis the book that every student of Microbiology should go through during your Graduation and Postgraduation.
Colleges that offer Microbiology Course in Hyderabad:
- Aurora’s Degree and PG College
- St. Francis College for Women
- Avanthi Degree and PG College
- University of Hyderabad
- Wisdom School of Management
- Institute of Science and Technology, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad
- Sree Medha V Degree College
- Professor JayaShankar Telangana State Agricultural University
- P.V. Narsimha Rao Telangana Veterinary University
- Vivekananda Degree College
- Ideal Degree College for Women
- Islamia Degree and Post Graduate College
- K.V. Ranga Reddy Degree College for Women
- Little Flower Degree College
- Pragathi Women’s Degree College
- Sree Vani Women’s College
- Hindu Degree College for Women
- Pratibha Degree College
- Government Degree College, Kukatpally
- Indira Priyadarshini Government Degree College
- Mumtaz Degree College
- Vasundhara Degree College
- Annie Besant Women’s College
- Pragathi Degree College
- Royal Degree College for Women
- MNR Degree College
- Siddhartha Degree and Post Graduate College
Tips for the Students of Microbiology:
If you follow the tips below you can become a pro in the subject of Microbiology.
- Listen to the theory classes thoroughly and get your doubts clarified by the concern lecturer or professor.
- Hands on experience is important while studying itself so active participation during lab hour helps to understand the subject better and the work becomes easy during in the job.
- Learn how to handle the equipment like centrifuge, Autoclave, Hot air oven etc.
- Learn how to prepare the media, sterilizing the media, streaking, and pouring techniques.
- Learn basic procedures like various staining techniques that are used to identify Gram-positive and Gram-negative microorganisms.
- Learn the concepts and procedures involved in the PCR techniques.
- High salary(which ranges between INR 30,000 – INR 1,00,000/ month.
How the career growth takes place:
- The growth is good in the jobs related to Food industries and Pharmaceutical industries.
- Microbiologist in the research organizations is the best job if you want to work in the medical or research field.
Cons of being a Microbiologist:
- The risk of being exposed to dangerousorganisms and substances.
- The jobs are highly competitive.
Precautions to be taken as a Microbiologist:
Strict safety measures should be followed like wearing masks, gloves while working on the dangerous microorganisms.