How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Mycologist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $77,190
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -0.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Get to Travel
    Career Attribute
  • Good Entry Level Salary
    Career Attribute

A mycologist is a scientist that works on studying different types of fungi and how they interact with animals, plants and humans. This is especially useful since fungi is used in a number of products like industrial chemicals, yogurt, antibiotics, vitamins, etc.

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What is a Mycologist?


As a mycologist, you will fulfil the following important duties:

  • Observe and study various life processes of fungi to explore its implications for traditional and novel agricultural, medical, industrial uses, e.g. medicines, yeasts and drugs.
  • Collect specimens and then document the structure, physiology, development and taxonomy of certain fungus.
  • Work to prevent the negative impact of fungi on agricultural crops.
  • Upon discovering new species of fungi, group them into scientific classes.
  • Perform research and development functions such as improving the method of growing edible fungi like mushrooms.

Day In The Life

A mycologist spends most of his or her type closely analyzing fungi, i.e. their shape, size, location and individual properties. The primary goal is to gain a better understanding of how fungi can be utilized for treatments or as food. You will focus on running chemical and temperature tests to weed out which fungi are lethal or poisonous. Using high-powered microscopes in lab settings, your job includes collecting specimens to study reproduction and cell structures of specific fungus.

The day to day work varies depending on the type of role you pursue. If you are a pharmacological mycologist, you will be more focused on doing research to improve technology and promote new products using fungi. On the other hand, you will be teaching students about mold and mushrooms, and writing academic pieces as a mycology professor. Professors are also involved with committee meetings, taking charge of student organizations and participating in other activities that align with the interests of their department.

Work Schedule

A mycologist has a standard 35-40 hours work week in research and laboratory settings. Usually, you are not expected to work over the holidays or on weekends unless there is an emergency project. While 85% of the experiments are performed in the lab, you will also have to head outdoors to do field work for hands-on findings.

Growth Of The Job

The employment rate for mycologists is expected to grow to 13% by 2020. According to the Science Magazine, the demand for mycologists may be limited but the outlook is still strong. While there is a genuine shortage of workers in this specialized field, the job prospect is promising due to only a handful of well-qualified professionals available to engage in flourishing mycology research. More and more educational institutions and corporates are realizing the untapped potential of fungal biology in pharmaceutical, commercial, and agricultural sectors. There will also be more openings from older employees retiring in this niche field.

Typical Employers

Mycologists can find work with independent consulting firms, doing ground-breaking work on the applications of a wide range of fungi. Whether it is as a bio-control agent to control the spread of disease in agricultural crops or as a source of healing for bacteria and virus affecting humans, there are many ways that the study of fungi can prove beneficial.

Other notable employers are research laboratories, agricultural companies, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacology laboratories, governments, universities and botanical gardens. Academics in mycology take on professorships at institutions of higher learning where they teach as well as conduct new research.

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How To Become a Mycologist

A genuine interest in plant sciences, bioinformatics and fungi is a must for aspiring candidates in this field. Most mycologists begin their career by completing a degree in Bachelor of Science, with a specialisation in botany, microbiology, bioscience or mycology. In both the United States and UK, there are no undergraduate mycology-specific programs and it is taught as a part of certain modules in botany and microbiology degrees.

The type of mycology taught in the postgraduate level is based on the focus of the department and individual researchers. You can tailor your studies and coursework based on future career goals. To work as an independent consultant in fields like health, pharmaceutical, environmental, horticulture or agriculture, you will need to get a master’s degree in a mycology or other relevant areas.

However, further educational qualifications like a PhD. In Mycology and Biology, are a must for any research and university teaching jobs. To work as a professor, you must demonstrate a clear understanding of topics like chemistry, plant sciences, scientific taxonomy, environmental sciences, and biology.

Mycologist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Mycologist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Mycologist's can make an average annual salary of $77,190, or $37 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $57,160 or $27 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #156 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Mycologist. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Mycologists

  • 19.6%   Doctorate
  • 32%   Masters
  • 43.8%   Bachelors
  • 2.2%   Associates
  • 2.1%   College
  • 0.2%   High School
  • 0.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Mycologist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -200 jobs for a total of 36,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -0.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #626 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Mycologists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Federal government, excluding postal service 17,600 -1,700 -2%
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 5,800 400 0%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 5,300 200 0%

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