Career research

Reasons to Consider a Career in Virology

#1 Strong Job Demand

#2 Strong Salaries

#3 Research

#4 Job Security

#5 Earn a medical license

Career Requirements

Degree Level

M.D. and/or Ph.D. with postdoctoral training

Degree Field

Virology, molecular virology, viral oncology, immunology


Virologists with M.D. degrees must earn medical licenses


3-5 years postdoctoral research experience

Key Skills

Observation, communication, analysis, critical thinking, reasoning, problem solving, perseverance, scientific and medical software, which may include: BD Biosciences CellQuest, Protein Explorer, Computer Service & Support CLS-2000 Laboratory System, Orchard Software Orchard Harvest LIS, TreeView, and Verity Software House ModFit LT, laboratory equipment and tools, which may include: air samplers or collectors, infrared spectrometers, analyzing equipment, and sterilizing equipment


$187,199 was the median for various types of physicians and surgeons; $67,790 was the median for microbiologists

Virologists also study subviral particles, infectious entities notably smaller and simpler than viruses:

Should I Become a Virologist?

Virologists study viruses that affect humans, animals, insects, bacteria, fungi, and plants in community, clinical, agricultural, and natural environments. Virologists typically work in research or teaching, and many split their time between these two activities. Virologists may also work as science writers or pursue additional training to work in pharmaceutical business or law. Researchers may be employed by universities, government agencies, or health organizations. Some virologists work in industry research and develop new medications.

Medical doctors focusing on virology may carry out clinical research or work with patients afflicted with viruses. Virology researchers work under a broad range of issues including viral pathology, viral oncology, emerging viruses, virotherapy, viral replication, virus-cell interactions, and plant virology.

Because virologists work with infectious microorganisms, there is a small risk of illness, but preventative measures minimize that risk. Virologists work in office and laboratory settings, though a few may take samples in the field. Virologists, like other microbiologists, work on a full-time basis and usually collaborate with other scientists.