Being a microbiologist is an exciting experience and could be a highly rewarding job. But the big question is how exactly can one become a microbiologist?
Contrary to the opinion of people who have limited understanding of the field of microbiology and its career prospects, microbiology is an area which could lead to you landing a reputable job at a high paying company.
If in doubt, with this recent pandemic you would by now know that microbiologists were important in the identifying and characterizing of the coronavirus while still actively working in teams to ensure that a cure is found.
Asides these many professionals enjoy working within the industry to use their skills in solving and recommending solutions for various problems encountered during the manufacturing process.
However, the big question remains, how can one become a microbiologist in South Africa? Well, in this article, we’ll take you through the process of becoming a microbiologist in South Africa.
How to Become a Microbiologist in South Africa
Microbiologists spend their time studying a lot of organisms and how they interact with their environment, some of the organisms include bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and parasitic organisms.
The work of microbiologists in identifying the characteristics of these organisms, their life span and other properties have been useful in the production of vaccines or the use of microorganisms in improving food and health.
Most of their work is conducted in laboratories which can either be in the academia or within research institutions and industries that employ microbiologists. Becoming a microbiologist takes time, effort and continuous learning for improvement in areas where you have decided to specialize in.
Requirements for Becoming a Microbiologist in South Africa
If you have decided to pursue a degree in microbiology in South Africa, then these steps would guide you on the right route to take in pursuing your dreams.
First of all, you should make sure you are in science class and pass all science subjects such as chemistry, biology, physics alongside English and Mathematics in your N.S.E examination as many universities set this as a requirement for prospective students applying to their university.
What are the Areas of Specialization in Microbiology
Upon gaining admission into the university of your choice, you should not relent as there are many course works, projects and assignments you may have to partake in to be awarded your degree in microbiology.
Before graduation, you should have decided what area in microbiology you may be looking to specialize in. Although the areas of specialization might be dependent on the research laboratories and facilities available to your university, some of the areas of specialization in microbiology include;
- Medical Microbiology
- Pharmaceutical Microbiology
- Molecular Microbiology
- Cell Microbiology e.t.c
How Long is the Training Period for Microbiologists
Well, the training period for microbiologists depends on the route which you follow. some might have to start by obtaining a diploma in an accredited polytechnic, While a degree earned within 3-4 years shows you are equipped with the basic skills required to be called a microbiologist.
How Much Does a Microbiologist Earn
There are a lot of factors determining how much you would earn as a microbiologist, it could be the level of experience you have, the size of the company or the new skills you have obtained relevant to the area of specialization you are in.
According to payscale.com, a microbiologist can earn between R 75000- R345000 depending on their roles and what industry they work with.
How do I Improve in My Career?
Well, your earning potential is based on how quickly you can learn the technical aspects of your job while also working efficiently in junior positions while starting. There are lots of people who stop at the bachelor’s degree level because they feel microbiology is difficult or has no financial prospects, however, you should know that getting a masters degree or professional certification can qualify you to apply for research positions which pay a lot to individuals with the relevant skill.