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  1. Career Descriptions

Microbiologist Positions at FDA

View all current FDA job openings at USAJOBS

Description of Position

FDA microbiologists, working in a non-laboratory setting, perform such duties that include:

  • evaluation of the chemical, microbiological, and manufacturing data submitted in New Drug Applications
  • preclearance actions for antibiotic drug products.

In a laboratory setting, FDA microbiologists might:

  • conduct research on the development of media and procedures for isolating and identifying pathogens from foods and on the definition of the kinetics of growth, survival, or destruction of foodborne pathogens under the environmental conditions occurring during food processing and storage.
  • develop new methods, interpret and evaluate data, and prepare relevant reports in such areas as bacteriology, virology, parasitology, mycology, serology, tissue culture, hematology, and immunology
  • plan, organize, and oversee programs related to coordination of the regulation of cytokines (used in the treatment of AIDS) and substrate-related issues.

Grade (Salary) Levels

The Federal General Schedule (GS) grade levels at which these positions are most commonly filled are GS-9 through 15 at the headquarters level and GS-5 through 11 at the field level.

For a list of GS-grade salaries, see the Office of Personnel Management website.


Basic qualifications required for all grades in this position include:

  • a degree in microbiology or biology, chemistry, or basic medical science, which includes at least 20 semester hours in microbiology and related subjects geared toward the study of microorganisms, and 20 semester hours in the physical and mathematical sciences combining course work in organic chemistry or biochemistry, physics, and college algebra, or their equivalent; or a combination of education and experience
  • courses equivalent to a major in microbiology, biology, chemistry, or basic medical science, which includes courses as described above plus appropriate experience or additional education
  • additional amounts of either specialized experience or directly related education to qualify for higher graded positions. The amount of additional experience or education required depends on the grade of the position.

Geographic Location

FDA microbiologists are located in headquarters (suburban Washington, D.C.) as well as throughout the field.

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