Epidemiologists investigate public health issues, including infectious diseases and other health crises. Their job is focused on disease prevention and containing epidemics. Epidemiologists are employed by universities, governments, non-profits, and private companies including health insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Some of the job responsibilities of epidemiologists include:
- Coordinating studies of public health issues
- Gathering and analyzing data to determine causes and methods for prevention of diseases and other public health issues
- Reporting research findings to health professionals, public policymakers, and the general public
- Managing and working to improve public health programs
The BLS predicts faster than average job growth from 2010 to 2020 for epidemiologists. Increased public awareness of health-related issues and recent legislation designed to improve medical record-keeping is creating more job opportunities for epidemiologists. Many states report a shortage of epidemiologists who are qualified to investigate and help prevent public health emergencies.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming an Epidemiologist
Epidemiologists typically hold at least a master's degree in public health with an emphasis in epidemiology. Epidemiologists employed by colleges and universities will have a Ph.D. Some epidemiologists also hold a medical degree along with a dual degree in epidemiology.
Several accredited schools offer online master's degree programs in public health with a concentration on epidemiology. Coursework in master's degree programs will cover public health, biology, and biostatistics, as well as statistical methods and survey design. A sampling of classes you make take in a epidemiologist program, drawn from course listings from East Tennessee State University's master's of public health with a concentration of epidemiology program, include the following:
- Philosophy of Public Health
- Social and Behavioral Foundations of Public Health
Continuing education and certification can help epidemiologists with career opportunities and advancement. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology offers continuing education and certification programs for epidemiologists. Professionals in the infection control industry are eligible for certification by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology.