Career opportunities

The combination of classroom education, clinical rotations and research experience will prepare students for a wide variety of employment opportunities including:

  • Supervisory positions in clinical microbiology laboratories in medical centers or private reference laboratories (see note below)
  • Infection control positions in clinical settings
  • Public health
  • Marketing and sales in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries
  • Teaching at universities and colleges
  • Research in academic, government or industry (pharmaceutical and biotechnology) settings

In addition, a degree in Clinical Microbiology provides an excellent background for medical school, veterinary school, or graduate school.

Note: The Clinical Microbiology Master's program is distinct from our Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS) B.S. program. If your main goal is to work in a hospital lab, the CLS program, with broader training in Chemistry and Hematology, in addition to Microbiology, may be more appropriate. Hospitals want broadly trained students with a CLS degree who have passed a certification exam. For more information about the UWL Clinical Laboratory Science program, go here .

Students graduating with a Clinical Microbiology M.S. degree can work in clinical diagnostic labs, but these tend to be the larger hospitals where more specialists are employed. You would be expected to sit for a certification exam after being hired. Graduates with a M.S degree in Clinical Microbiology would be qualified to take the Technologist/Scientist certification exam for Microbiology or Molecular Biology after six months of employment. View information for certification.


Mary Stemper at work

“This graduate program sets a student up for success by offering a great combination of academics and very realistic clinical experiences.” – Mary Stemper, 2002 graduate 


For current students, the American Society for Microbiology Career Connections website is a good place to look for jobs, as is a "microbiology" search at

Here is what some of our recent graduates have done:

  • Supervisor in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Marshfield Clinic
  • Laboratory Director of the Microbiology Hub - Kericho (Kenya), part of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center
  • Director and Instructor in the Medical Lab Technologist program at Minnesota State Southeast Technical
  • Associate Biologist, University of Bamako, Mali
  • Research Specialist in a Howard Hughes Medical Institute virology lab at UW-Madison.
  • Research Technician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Ph.D. in Microbiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota
  • Instructor in the Medical Lab Technologist program at Western Technical College
  • Microbiologist in the Molecular Division of the Washington State Public Health Labs
  • Microbiologist at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene
  • Virologist at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene
  • Arbovirus research at the CDC
  • Vaccine development at Harrisvaccines (Ames, IA)
  • Research and Development at Luminix (Madison, WI)
  • Research and Development at NewLink Genetics (Ames, IA)
  • Research and Development at Pathogenica (Boston, MA)
  • Research and Development at Lucigen (Madison, WI)
  • Research and Development at Abbott Laboratories (North Chicago, IL)
  • Research and Development at Becton Dickinson (San Diego, CA)
  • Research and Development at Schering-Plough (Kennilworth, NJ)
  • Research and Development at Pfizer, (Groton CT)