Mycologist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Degree programs in mycology examine fungi, such as mushrooms and molds. Learn about some career options, job growth and salary info for mycology graduates.

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Essential Information

Mycologists, who are biologists who study fungi, can pursue a range of different jobs depending on what type of work interests them. Some mycologists are academics and take on professorships at universities, where they typically conduct research, in addition to teaching biology courses. Other mycologists with interests in medicine may pursue pharmacological jobs and research the health and healing benefits of fungi. Both of these career options typically require a Ph.D.

Career Titles Mycology Professor Pharmacological Mycologist
Required Education Ph.D. Ph.D.
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*19% for all postsecondary biological sciences teachers7% for all microbiologists
Median Salary (2013)*$75,740 for all postsecondary biological sciences teachers$67,840 for all microbiologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description of a Mycology Professor

A mycology professor is a university or college teacher whose job is two-fold. First, he or she must instruct students about the study of fungi, either as a separate field or within the field of biology. In addition, the mycology professor is expected to pursue novel research in some aspect of fungi, with an eye towards publishing unique, yet testable results.

Duties of a Mycology Professor

In addition to teaching students and conducting research, mycology professors are expected to participate in committee meetings, oversee student organizations and participate in other activities to help within their department. However, the most important part of their jobs is dedicated to education about and research of mushrooms, molds and yeast.

Requirements of a Mycology Professor

As with other professors, a professor of mycology is expected to have earned his or her Ph.D., specializing in some aspect of mycology. In order to prepare for this task, the mycologist is required to have a college degree, often in biology or a similar science. In addition, he or she is expected to have pursued extensive academic study of chemistry, environmental sciences, biology, plant sciences, scientific taxonomy and, depending on the area of expertise, pharmacology or nutritional science.

Salary and Job Outlook

Postsecondary biological sciences professors should see a 19% increase in job openings from 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This increase represents faster-than-average employment growth. These professors earned a median of $75,740 per year as of 2013 (www.bls.gov).

Job Description of a Pharmacological Mycologist

A pharmacological mycologist studies fungi to discover if specific types of mushrooms, yeasts or molds contain anything biomedically useful. By extracting elements of the fungi or applying the entire fungi to various strains of diseases or types of food products, pharmacological mycologists can discover anything helpful or harmful about the fungi.

Duties of a Pharmacological Mycologist

Pharmacological mycologists are expected to pursue research that can benefit the companies and industries for which they work. The work on fungi that pharmacological mycologists perform allows the companies to discover new and novel uses for these relatively cheap forms of life. In obtaining patents, improving technology, and introducing new products by utilizing fungi, pharmacological mycologists attempt to better lives while assisting their companies economically.

Requirements of a Pharmacological Mycologist

Pharmacological mycologists are expected to have pursued advanced studies in biology, plant and agricultural sciences, microbiology, bioinformatics and even pharmacy studies. Typically, they hold a Ph.D. in some specialized component or field of mycology.

Salary and Job Outlook

The BLS reported a median annual salary of $67,840 in 2013 for microbiologists, who are similar to pharmacological mycologists. From 2012-2022, microbiologists could expect 7% employment growth, per the BLS, which is slightly slower than the average for all occupations.

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Become a Mycologist: Step-by-Step Career Guide

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    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
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