Microbiologist Salary in South Africa


Over the last few decades, microbiologists have become more popular. Microbiology is a very important aspect of our society today which is why there is a high demand for microbiologists all over.

If you are in South Africa and want to become a microbiologist, then you picked out the right article. We will not only discuss how much microbiologists in South Africa earn, but we will also dive into how to become one.

Microbiologist Salary in South Africa

Who is a microbiologist?

It is important that before we talk about how much a microbiologist earns, we know who they are. Firstly, microbiology is a study that focuses on microscopic life which includes microorganisms and every other microscopic particle that interacts with living things. In essence, this study covers fungi, bacteria, viruses, algae, and prions to mention a few.

A microbiologist is a person who studies all of the above. This means that scientist studies different microorganisms and how they affect life causes diseases, and damage the environment. A microbiologist also invests time in studying different non-living pathogens like prions and viruses and their characteristics.

To achieve this, the scientist makes use of complex techniques and machinery in conjunction with genetics and biotechnology. The services of microbiologists are required in many fields. For example, in environmental science, microbiologists help in fighting climate change and many other environmental challenges.

Microbiologists have a lot on their hands so if you are thinking of becoming one, then you must be ready.

Where can a microbiologist work?

This is one very important question that many young individuals ask in South Africa today. The most common places where we find microbiologists are clinical laboratories and hospitals. Here they are saddled with the responsibility of analyzing samples collected from patients. To do this, they have to examine the different samples, tissues, and body fluids before providing reports to doctors.

Other microbiologists are employed by certain organizations to work in the field. In this case, they are required to collect samples, bring them back to the lab, study and analyze them, and provide reports. You will see so many microbiologists employed in different industries that put them at risk of more hazards than hospitals. As you will expect, these microbiologists earn a lot more, an example is those that work in oil and gas.

Some microbiologists are really educated and are interested in academics. These ones work as lecturers and professors in higher institutions of learning. Asides from lecturing, they also carry out a lot of experiments and analyses after which they publish their results to educate others. It is also not strange to see microbiologists working across a couple of sectors.

Responsibilities of microbiologists

Generally, a microbiologist is interested to study the structure, uses, functions, and existence of microscopic organisms. These include phages, viruses, and bacteria. Here are some of the common responsibilities of microbiologists:

  • Review existing scientific literature as well as journals to keep up with current advancements in the sector.
  • Carry out quality control measures on biological indicators.
  • Carry out validation studies.
  • Maintain and manage the lab environment to ensure optimal running and safety of the equipment in line with health and safety requirements.
  • Analyze media samples and several biological specimens for quality control and discovery purposes.
  • Make use of aseptic techniques to prepare samples.
  • Prepare culture media, stains, reagents, and solutions used in experiments.
  • Grow and preserve the microbial stock.
  • Develop best practices and techniques used in routine sampling and research.

Tier-two microbiologists have more responsibilities especially since they have to oversee and manage a whole lab or team. Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Create proposals to meet funding needs.
  • Oversees the preparation of solutions, stains, and cultures in the laboratory.
  • Researching for and implementing the latest detection systems.
  • Processing and analyzing collected samples, especially those of disease-causing organisms.
  • Taking measurements, analyzing them, and recording results.
  • Calibrating and testing instruments and equipment used in the laboratory.
  • Drawing up and managing budgetary timelines and project schedules.
  • Carrying out research to discover new technology and the latest advancements to be implemented in the lab.
  • Establishing effective communication channels with the government, clients, colleagues, and other experts in the field.
  • Analyzing data on behalf of administrators, stakeholders, and colleagues in the industry.

Educational requirements to become a microbiologist

To become a microbiologist, you need to study microbiology in a higher institution. Asides from this, you can also study ecology or biology where you will also gain knowledge about microbiology. To work as a microbiologist, you need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree.

Almost every higher institution in South Africa offers courses in microbiology. However, to rise in this industry, you need to go past a bachelor’s degree. If you will like to practice in academics then you need to get as many certificates as possible. Your best bet is to get a Doctorate and advance to becoming a Professor.

Qualities of microbiologists

There are certain qualities a microbiologist is expected to have to be successful. Usually, microbiologists have a lot of interest in critical thinking and building. Their building skills are focused on working with machines and tools as well as fixing practical things. Some of the skills a microbiologist is expected to have include:

  • Very strong communication skills.
  • Able to pay attention to detail.
  • Possess interpersonal skills.
  • Logical thinking skills.
  • Math skills.
  • Observation skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.

How much do microbiologists earn in South Africa?

The average salary of a microbiologist in South Africa per annum is R167,004. It could be less or more, depending on several factors. These factors include but are not restricted to experience, qualification, and location. To earn better in this industry, it is best to attain the highest qualifications possible.


Now you know how much a microbiologist in South Africa earns per annum. We have also shared useful information regarding the responsibilities of a microbiologist and the skills you are expected to have. If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments section.