Work for Water

Great Careers for a Great Cause



Average Salary: $62,993

Microbiologists study the life of organisms that are too small to see without a microscope.

Some of these microscopic organisms can cause serious or deadly diseases in people. Keeping these organisms out of the water supply is a major concern for water agencies. Microbiologists use microscopes, chemical tests, and other diagnostic techniques to screen the water for dangerous microorganisms.

General Job Description

  • Applies basic principles of microbiology and lab techniques
  • Takes bacteria counts on water samples for speciation (the process of biological species formation)
  • Isolates these bacterial colonies and create laboratory cultures for speciation
  • Examines microbes using microscopes and other instruments
  • Maintains records of test results
  • Prepares general and statistical reports
  • Carries out analytical research concerning quality of treated water
  • Works with chemists, water treatment operators and other plan personnel to interpret scientific theories
  • Develops and implements quality assurance/quality control program
  • Conducts research into improved methods for controlling microbes in drinking water, analytical methods, etc.

Necessary Skills

  • Inquisitive mind
  • Ability to interpret scientific theories and data
  • Manual dexterity and good motion coordination
  • Ability to research and keep up with technology through field journals


  • B.S. Degree in Microbiology or Biology with some coursework in Chemistry.
  • Laboratory experience very helpful and may be required

Where Jobs are Available

  • Utilities
  • Health departments
  • Hospitals, medical labs
  • Federal and state government regulatory agencies
  • Consulting firms

For more information:
American Society for Microbiology
Office of Education and Training - Career Information
1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20005