A public health epidemiologist collects and analyzes data in order to investigate health issues. Epidemiologist might collect and analyze demographic data determining who is at the greatest risk factor for a particular disease. They are involved in the research and investigation of trends in populations of survivors of certain diseases to identify effective treatments in populations. They also might work for the government and for universities, as well as research institutions.
When you are considering an epidemiology career, there are many factors to consider. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average earnings of $63,010 annually (with a predicted 13 percent growth rate) makes Epidemiology an exciting and rewarding career. There are numerous areas within the epidemiology field and it is important to identify what areas meet specific career goals. Industries that pay at the top of the pay scale include scientific research and development services and computer systems design. The top areas of compensation include the metropolitan areas of Raleigh, North Carolina; Denver; and San Diego.
Some areas of employment include the following:
Academic Research Epidemiologist
Academic research epidemiologist works in universities and academic centers. This area of research involves factors and causes of disease or conditions and underlying etiology of a disease or condition. Academic research epidemiologists conduct research to find discoveries impacting the public’s health field and impact those policies related to public health. Specialists in this field direct and plan studies of serious public health issues to learn about ways to treat and prevent health problems. Careers in this field of research require a minimum of a master’s degree and some in academia required a PhD.
Infection Control Epidemiologist
An infection control epidemiologist works with public health problems existing in a hospital or a medical facility. They collect and analyze data that is health-related within the facility through observations, surveys, interviews, blood samples and other bodily samples. Some of the problems that a infection control epidemiologist may face include MRSA within a hospital, enforcement of hygiene issues, and general cleanliness to prevent spread of infection. These positions usually exist in state and local hospitals, while some also work for university hospitals. A master’s degree in epidemiology is the minimum required to work in this field and include classes in public health, biological and physical sciences, math and statistics.
Clinical Trial Research Epidemiologist
A clinical trial research epidemiologist usually works for health organizations or drug companies, completing clinical trials of drugs and procedures and monitor side effects and results. With a goal to find new treatments and medications for various drugs, their work takes place in labs in the field, and focus is reducing negative health outcomes. Clinical trial research epidemiologist does not work with individual patients, they work behind the scenes to make health and wellness better for many patients. A master’s degree is required for this position.
Applied epidemiologists generally work in health agencies or departments at national, state, or local levels. Employers often include the CDC or the FDA. This career area focuses on investigation of disease distribution and risk factors. Applied epidemiologists plan or direct clinical studies of pressing public health problems to prevent problems from recurring. They work to identify the areas that are susceptible to a certain illness, why that is, and what can be done to overcome the problem. The field of applied epidemiology requires you to earn at least a master’s degree and to direct research projects a PhD is usually required.
Other areas of employment for an Epidemiologist include:
Epidemiology investigators assess where there are chronic problems in populations
- Pharmaceutical epidemiologist conducts research and clinical studies on the way pharmaceuticals affect health and physiology.
- State epidemiologist investigates causes of disease and how to prevent them from spreading.
- Disaster epidemiologist studies the factors leading to disasters and how to eliminate they effects health
These are some of the more popular areas for careers in Epidemiology – it is important to find an area of interest that best suits your particular career goals.