If you are thinking about pursuing a career as an epidemiologist, you should know that this vocation can bring a variety of personal and professional benefits. In addition to earning competitive salaries, epidemiologists have the opportunity to contribute to the health of the communities they serve. By learning more about the field of epidemiology as well as the salary and job prospects for individuals working within this sector, you can make an informed decision regarding whether becoming an epidemiologist would be right for you.
Epidemiologists-A Brief Overview
An epidemiologist is a public health professional whose primary responsibility is to investigate the different causes and patterns of disease that threaten the health of individuals and the societies they live in. Epidemiologists work to reduce the risk and incidence of disease through health policy, community education, and research.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for epidemiologists is $65,270 per year or $31.38 per hour. This salary is subject to variation based on a variety of factors such as education, experience, and location.
In order to become an epidemiologist, you must obtain a master’s degree from an accredited educational institution. Generally, epidemiologists pursue a degree in public health (MPH) or a similar field. In some cases, epidemiologists opt to obtain doctoral training in their field of choice.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for epidemiologists is expected to grow by 10% between the years of 2012 and 2022. The Bureau reports that this is about as fast as the average for all vocations. Overall, the Bureau reports that epidemiologists will likely have good job prospects.
Generally, epidemiologists work within office settings or laboratories. Typically, they are employed by health departments of local or state governments, colleges and universities, or hospitals. In some cases, epidemiologists do fieldwork in which they collect samples to analyze and/or conduct interviews. Fieldwork can bring epidemiologist in contact with potentially debilitating diseases, but they seldom suffer contagion, become ill, and/or die.
If you are seriously considering the pursuit of a career as an epidemiologist, there are several things you should think about. One of the most important things to decide is what your educational path will be. For example, there are a variety of undergraduate majors that will be relevant to the field of epidemiology. Choosing one of these undergraduate majors can thus play an integral role in preparing you to work within your field of choice. Some undergraduate majors that are frequently recommended for individuals who pursue a vocation in the field include Public Health, Biology, Anthropology, Ecology, or Zoology. Another major that you may want to consider is microbiology.
In addition to thinking about what type of undergraduate major you will pursue before enrolling in a master’s program, you should think critically about attaining an internship. Internships are very valuable for many reasons, including the fact that they make you a more marketable job candidate. In addition to obtaining extensive hands-on experience in the field of health, internships afford you the opportunity to establish relationships with professionals who are already working within the field. Once this happens, your likelihood of being hired by a reputable company can increase exponentially.
A career as an epidemiologist can be very rewarding. In addition to protecting individuals and communities from debilitating diseases, opting for a career in the field gives you the opportunity to earn a competitive salary as well as promotions and benefits. By reviewing the information listed above, you can make an informed decision regarding whether this vocational path is right for you.