What does an Epidemiologist do?
An epidemiologist is considered a public health professional that collects and analyzes data and investigates patterns and causes of diseases or injury in people. They work in laboratories, offices, and health departments for both state and local governments, as well as universities, hospitals, and colleges.
Epidemiologists are also found doing fieldwork as they require gathering demographic data and human samples for investigation of possible health threats from disease or injury to humans.
How to become an Epidemiologist
A standard requirement for an epidemiologist is a master's degree in public health that stresses epidemiology. However, one can obtain degrees in other related fields from an accredited college or university. Some epidemiologists go on to receive a PhD. Those advancing in this degree usually do research or are postsecondary teachers in colleges or universities.
An epidemiologist needs to have coursework in physical and biological science, public health, statistics, and math. Studies should also include survey design, statistical methods, and casual analysis.
One moving into the advanced programs would receive education in medical informatics, multiple regression, and other subjects. Some students obtaining their master's degree must also complete an internship or practicum that lasts anywhere from one semester to one year.
Sometimes an epidemiologist holds two degrees. One in epidemiology and a medical degree. They normally would work in a clinical capacity and have spent several hours in the first two years in classrooms and laboratories taking courses in psychology, biochemistry, anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, pathology, and microbiology.
Job Description of an Epidemiologist
An epidemiologist is a public health professional that monitors problematic areas for the public health agencies in the hopes of reducing the risk of negative health occurrences, like infectious diseases, bioterrorism threats, or other areas of potential health issues. They discover ways to treat and prevent public health problems through directing studies, analyzing data, and communicating their findings to the public, health practitioners, and policy makers.
An epidemiologist may determine those people at higher risk for a health problem through data collected in a demographic area. They investigate those survivors of a particular disease with the goal of developing effective treatments for the greater population, as in the case of cancer. He or she may collect samples of blood or other bodily fluids as part of their investigation of a human health problem, as well as analyzing demographic data in determining areas of highest risk.
An epidemiologist would also be responsible for supervising technical, clerical, and professional personnel. They should be skilled in communication, teaching, critical thinking, math, and statistics. He or she should also be detail oriented.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6 percent growth in this career field in 2014-2024 which is as fast as average for all occupations.