Epidemiologists are medical scientists who investigate and describe factors that influence the development of disease, disability, and other health outcomes. They formulate means for prevention and control. Epidemiologists focus either on research or on clinical situations.
Research epidemiologists conduct studies to determine how to wipe out or control infectious diseases. They often focus on basic research as well, determining the incidence of a particular disease in a particular part of the world, for example. They may study many different diseases, such as tuberculosis, influenza, or cholera, often focusing on epidemics. Research epidemiologists work at colleges and universities, schools of public health, medical schools, and research and development services firms.
Clinical epidemiologists work mainly as consultants in hospitals, informing medical staff of infectious outbreaks and providing ways to control the spread of infection. In addition, clinical epidemiologists are usually the ones who develop a hospital's standards and guidelines for the treatment and control of infectious diseases.
Epidemiologists need at least a master’s degree from an accredited postsecondary institution. Most have a master’s degree in public health, with an emphasis in epidemiology or a related field. Advanced epidemiologists—including those in colleges and universities—have a Ph.D. in their chosen field. Find a graduate level accredited program. In lieu of a Ph.D. some epidemiologists have obtained a medical degree, an M.D. or a D.O.
Coursework in epidemiology includes public health, biology, and biostatistics. Classes emphasize statistical methods, causal analysis, and survey design. Advanced courses emphasize multiple regression, medical informatics, review of previous biomedical research, and practical applications of data.
Median Salary 2022
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an Epidemiologist in 2022 was $78,830.
Want to know more?
- US News-Epidemiologist
- American Statistical Association-Epidemiology
- Bureau of Labor Statistics-Epidemiology
- Explore Health Careers-Epidemiology
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