Epidemiologist Career Path

Home » Blog » Career » Epidemiologist Career Path

Epidemiologist Career Path

Epidemiologists are the scientists who study patterns and causes of disease. They’re not doctors, but they work with them on a daily basis to find out what’s going on in the population. And epidemiology is an important career path for future scientists because it has so many different aspects to it. Let’s take a closer look at this interesting field of study.

1. What Is an Epidemiologist?

Epidemiology is the study of patterns and causes of disease in populations. It is an important field of study for future scientists because it has so many different aspects to it – not just biology but also a social science. Epidemiologists work closely with doctors to find out what’s going on in the population and to come up with prevention or treatment methods. This career path provides opportunities for scientists to research everything from drug therapies to environmental factors, even political trends.

Some epidemiologists focus on one aspect of the science, such as how a disease starts. Some study the entire process from end to end. Sometimes researchers will focus on just one type of disease – you might find an epidemiologist who specializes in cancer, for example, although it’s more likely that they would focus on several types of cancers or even research them all together. While their career is very diverse, epidemiologists are most often associated with how diseases are transmitted.

Epidemiologists research disease patterns through both observation and experiment. They might start by looking at the data that have already been collected on a specific illness, or they might conduct an experiment to determine how exactly a disease spreads. After conducting their studies, epidemiologists publish their findings in medical journals and present them at conferences.

2. What Are the Responsibilities of an Epidemiologist?

Some of the responsibilities of an epidemiologist include:

  • Designing and conducting epidemiological studies to help inform public health policy
  • Evaluating the effects of different diseases in populations, particularly in relation to health policies
  • Analyzing existing data for trends in disease rates
  • Coordinating disease surveillance
  • Participating in public health campaigns to educate the community about infectious diseases and ways to prevent them
  • Epidemiologists work with doctors on a daily basis to find out what’s going on in the population. They gather data, conduct research, and then share that information with their colleagues who are treating patients.

Some epidemiologists may work in a laboratory, while others spend most of their time conducting research and analyzing data. Epidemiologists can be found in almost every area of the country. They often work long hours because they are constantly collecting information and analyzing new data on an ongoing basis, but this career path offers plenty of opportunities for scientists who want to work with people and contribute to society.

3. Employment Opportunities for Epidemiologists

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for epidemiologists will grow more than 14% by 2026, much faster than the average growth rate of 7%. This is because epidemiologists are becoming increasingly more involved in medical research and clinical care. As such, they’re more in demand than ever before.

Many epidemiologists work for major pharmaceutical companies to help develop new medications and vaccines. Others conduct their own independent studies, while some specialize in disease control for a state or federal organization. In the public sector, you might find epidemiologists working for local committees to improve air quality and water quality, as well as helping to implement policies that protect public health.

Epidemiologists who want to focus their research on environmental factors can work for organizations such as an environmental protection agency or a nonprofit that advocates for better environmental practices.

While many epidemiologists work in healthcare settings, they might also find jobs in biotechnology companies, research facilities, and universities.

4. How to Become an Epidemiologist?

If you want to become an epidemiologist, there are a few different steps you can take on your journey. First off, make sure the career is right for you. Ask yourself questions like “Are epidemiologists working with patients or conducting research?” and “Can I work in a variety of geographical locations?”

These different factors may play an important role in your decision to move forward. Since some epidemiologists work on huge-scale projects while others conduct more independent research, it’s best to think about your working preferences before you decide to become an epidemiologist.

Once you have a better idea of what kind of work interests you, start checking out schools that offer related degrees. You can find several online options for this program, but there are tons of great programs across the country. If possible, set up a meeting with an epidemiology professor and discuss how the program applies to your professional goals.

When students graduate from epidemiology programs, they’re often well-equipped to take on many different roles within the field. This is because most schools hold strong reputations for encouraging students to conduct independent research and participate in big projects with other scientists.

5. What You will Learn?

Epidemiology also covers the study of how diseases affect populations. However, some epidemiologists might focus on determining which individuals get sick or die and why others may spend more time working with medical records and data to identify public health trends.

Most epidemiology programs include a broad range of classes that range from biology to social science. You’ll learn about different diseases and treatments, as well as how to dissect scientific studies and interpret data. Some programs also include opportunities for students to partake in fieldwork or conduct research alongside professors.

6. How Much Does an Epidemiologist Make?

The average annual salary for an epidemiologist is around $62,000, though this number can vary widely depending on the geographical location and type of organization. As epidemiologists become more experienced, their earnings also increase significantly.

Epidemiologists who work for the federal government make an average salary of around $79,000 a year. Those working in healthcare administration earn roughly $94,000 a year. And those employed by pharmaceutical companies make a whole lot more at around $102,000 a year, on average.

7. What Skills Do You Need to Become an Epidemiologist?

The skills you need to become an epidemiologist depend on the type of work you’ll do. For instance, if you want to conduct independent research, your best bet is to hone these four key areas:

1. Organizational skills- Epidemiologists often work as a team, but they must also be able to juggle all of the responsibilities that come with running a project.

2. Communication skills- Since epidemiologists are constantly working on research and projects, having strong communication skills is absolutely essential. When you’re working with other scientists from different backgrounds, it’s important that you can communicate your ideas.

3. Data analysis skills – Epidemiologists often use statistical software to help them interpret data and make sound decisions based on their findings. This means it’s a good idea to take some classes in statistical analysis or even learn it yourself, depending on your school’s curriculum.

4. Writing skills- Writing reports and communicating your data to the public are vital responsibilities for epidemiologists. You may even need to write articles for journals or present at conferences, so make sure you hone these skills before you graduate.

8. Epidemiology vs Public Health

While the two fields of study can often get mixed together, epidemiology and public health are two different scientific domains that focus on protecting health.

Public health workers have a wide range of responsibilities, including enforcing regulations, preventing disease outbreaks, and promoting healthy behaviors. They might also conduct research regarding the spread of diseases in populations and help develop policies to ensure the safety of communities.

Epidemiologists usually study the causes of disease, while public health workers are more concerned with controlling an outbreak once it happens.

As epidemiologists discover the root cause of a disease, public health workers can help reduce the risk of spreading that disease to other people. For example, an epidemiologist might find out that mosquitoes are carrying malaria, while public health workers will get rid of the mosquitoes to reduce the risk of spreading malaria.

In some cases, epidemiologists and public health workers might work together on a specific project. For example, imagine an outbreak of cholera in a community with limited access to clean water. Epidemiologists would study how this disease is transmitted and how it affects public health over time.

Public health workers would make sure that the community has access to clean water, which will reduce the risk of future outbreaks.

9. The Job Outlook for an Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists have a very rewarding career. Not only do they get to save lives and help people, but they also get to travel around the world and experience different cultures.

While some epidemiologists choose to work in laboratories, others can go out into the field. This enables them to have a better understanding of how diseases impact daily life.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, epidemiologists are expected to have a very promising job outlook throughout the next decade. As an epidemic investigator, you will be in high demand.

10. Top Recruiting Companies for an Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists are needed in every sector of the economy, but here are some of the top recruiting companies for an epidemiologist.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) employ hundreds of epidemiologists to work on global health programs. While many epidemiologists dream about working at the NIH, there are only a handful of positions open for epidemiologists each year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the nation’s lead health protection agency. Public Health Workers at the CDC work to protect America from health, safety, and security threats, both foreign and domestic.

Sanofi Pasteur investigates infectious diseases affecting humans, plants, and animals. They develop vaccines, medicines, and preventive measures to stop the spread of diseases.

Boehringer Ingelheim is a pharmaceutical company that researches and develops drugs in many different disease areas. One major focus of their work is infectious diseases, such as malaria and polio.

Novartis engages in research and development to create new medical solutions. They develop vaccines to prevent infectious diseases, as well as medicines to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.

HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations. Headquartered in London, it operates over 9,000 offices in 71 countries around the world.

11. Best Colleges to Study Epidemiology

Epidemiologists usually have an advanced degree in epidemiology, biostatistics, or public health. While there are several colleges and universities that offer accredited programs, here are some of the best colleges to study epidemiology.

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. It was founded in 1754 under the royal charter of George II of Great Britain.

Columbia University has an excellent MPH program with a major in Epidemiology. It also offers several specialized graduate degrees, such as the Master’s of Public Health in Nutrition and the Master’s of Science in Occupational Health Sciences (MSOHS).

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is a top-tier school with a strong focus on international health and research. Their MPH program is highly competitive, with only about 250 students accepted each year.

Harvard University is a private Ivy League university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was established in 1636 by the colonial General Court of Massachusetts to train young men for leadership roles.

The University of Michigan has been globally recognized as a top public research university. It is home to some of the country’s most popular colleges, such as the Ross School of Business and the School of Public Health.

The University of North Carolina is one of the nation’s top public research universities. Their Schools of Public Health, Pharmacy, and Nursing are among the best in America for education standards and research.

Tufts University is a private research university made up of seven separate colleges. The five oldest colleges are located in Boston, Massachusetts, while the other two are located in Medford/Somerville and an additional campus in Talloires, France. Tufts is also home to a well-known veterinary school.

Emory University is a private research university located in Atlanta, Georgia. It was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1836.

12. Online Courses to Study Epidemiology

There are several great online courses to study Epidemiology. The following websites offer various course materials and lectures.

Introduction to Epidemiology by Udemy- This course is intended for students and professionals interested in learning about the basics of epidemiology. This course includes lectures on determining the denominator, incidence and prevalence rates, and descriptive and analytical studies.

Apply Now

Epidemiology for Public Health Specialization by Coursera- This course is intended for post-baccalaureate students or professionals with little or no background in public health. Lectures introduce the student to epidemiology and its role in public health practice.

Apply Now

Epidemiology: The Basic Science of Public Health by Coursera- This course is intended for students with public health, biomedical science, or nursing background. Lecture topics include the basics of epidemiology and specific examples of how it can be applied to public health practice.

Apply Now

Professional Certificate in Epidemics-Origins, Spread, Control and Communication by Edx- This course is intended for professionals with a science, engineering, or healthcare background. Lecture topics include the global burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, and diabetes.

Apply Now


Epidemiology is a very interesting and rewarding profession. There are many facets to the field, but it all boils down to taking care of people by providing them with information about their health. You can be part of this movement if you want to make an impact on the world’s public health crisis today.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.

Leave a Comment