Career Exploration: What is Epidemiology?

It’s time for another deep dive into exciting and growing career fields in the healthcare industry! You may have heard of an Epidemiologist before, but you aren’t quite sure what types of things they do or what roles they fill.

What is an Epidemiologist?

An Epidemiologist is someone who quite broadly investigates health concerns such as disease, disability and other health outcomes; as well as understanding what factors contribute to these issues. They might develop programs and systems aimed at improving public health, or even study diseases or parasites to develop vaccines or treatment methods. They also communicate with community stakeholders such as government agencies and health organizations to ensure that standards of treatment are continuously being refined.

How do you become an Epidemiologist?

According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Epidemiologists hold a Master’s degree in some public health related field about 60% of the time, and a PhD about 25% of the time. Depending on your area of interest, you can seek out a variety of degrees related to public health, although you’ll want to be sure you get some coursework in statistics, math, chemistry, and biology.

How much do they make?

This question largely depends on the area of focus and content of your work. Nationally, Epidemiologists earn an average of $70,000 annually according to the U.S. Department of Labor. More information on salary breakdown can be found in the resources below. It is a career that is expected to grow by around 10% in the next 10 years.

Where can I learn more?

There are several professional organizations which specialize into the many different domains in which Epidemiologists work such as Veterinary, Molecular, Disaster, or Infection Control Epidemiology. You can also check out O*Net to learn more about what work styles and values are common to this career:

O*Net Epidemiology

American College of Epidemiology (Professional Association)

American Public Health Association (Professional Association)

Infectious Diseases Society of America (Professional Association)

A Guide to Careers in Epidemiology

By Aaron Brutkiewicz
Aaron Brutkiewicz Graduate Intern & Career Coach Aaron Brutkiewicz