What is Epidemiology?
Epidemiology is a field where trained epidemiologists study patterns of frequency and the causes and effects of diseases in human populations. Epidemiology provides the scientific footings for evidence-based medicine and allows placement of strategies for improvement in public health. Epidemiology is often referred to as the cornerstone of modern public health research and practice and it relies on a variety of relevant public health areas, including biology, biostatistics, social sciences, and assessing risk of exposure to a threat.
What is an Epidemiologist?
Epidemiologists study outbreaks of diseases, the causes, locations, and how various communities are affected, utilizing relative information to aid in the prevention of future outbreaks. Epidemiologists help to keep the public informed of methods to maintain and improve public health. Epidemiologists work at universities and for government organizations including the (CDC) Centers for Disease Control, National Institute of Health (NIH), or the World Health Organization (WHO). The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that epidemiologists earned an average of $65,270 in 2012 with the top ten percent of epidemiologists earning at least $108,320.
What are the Degree Options for a Career in Epidemiology?
- Bachelor’s Degree – Most universities and colleges do not offer undergraduate programs in Epidemiology and those who want to pursue epidemiology careers usually choose to pursue medicine or other health fields prior to graduate studies.
- Master’s Degree – Epidemiologists are required to have at least a Master’s degree from an accredited University or College. Most epidemiologists have a Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH) or a related field. Epidemiology graduate programs provide students with the skills to investigate and analyze the root causes and spread of disease to develop methods of prevention and control. The most common degree is a Master of Public Health with a concentration or focus on epidemiology, however degree programs that focus solely on epidemiology are becoming more popular. Most Master’s Degree programs require students to complete a practicum or internship that can last for up to one year. In addition to a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology some programs offer highly concentrated degrees for those pursuing particular career paths. Some areas of specialization can include focus on cancer, cardiovascular disease, genetics, infectious disease, environmental causes and aging.
- Doctoral Degree – Some research epidemiologists may be required to hold a Ph.D. or medical degree depending on the careers they choose. A doctoral degree provides graduates the skills and knowledge required to be at the top of their chosen field. The doctorate degree in epidemiology consists of one to three years of study and a doctoral dissertation. Those who earn a doctorate will find more opportunities available including more in-depth research studies or options for teaching. Students in a doctoral program can specialize in specific areas of epidemiology including cancer research or zoonotic infectious diseases.
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What are the Future Career Paths For Those With Graduate Degree’s in Epidemiology
Those who pursue careers in epidemiology within public health work in many capacities including within universities and government organizations including the (CDC) Centers for Disease Control, National Institute of Health (NIH), or World Health Organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that epidemiologists earned an average of $65,270 in 2012 with the top ten percent of epidemiologists earning at least $108,320.
This area of Healthcare Management is an excellent option for individuals who want to help track patterns of illness and disease and decipher plans to stop further spread. A career as an Epidemiologist is a great way to help your community, society and humankind.