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What Does an Epidemiologist Do?
By Staff Writer

When you are evaluating the epidemiologist job description, you may have a few questions. The obvious question is what does an epidemiologist do in his or her work? The basic foundation of epidemiologist duties focuses on addressing concerns about public health from an analytical, data-centered standpoint (as opposed to direct clinical care, or administration and policy, other key areas of public health).

What Does an Epidemiologist Do?

Epidemiologist responsibilities fall into three main categories: research, analysis, and communication. The role of a researcher is to find out the cause of a disease or a public health concern. Researchers may work in the field or a lab to find data and clarify details.

Analysts in epidemiology use the research to analyze data and put together a hypothesis or theory. You may take research from multiple data points to clarify the details and form an idea about what is causing a public health crisis or problem. You then look into potential solutions or use data from a research lab to detail the solutions that are proven to be effective.

The final role is communication. An epidemiologist must communicate to policymakers about the issues at hand. You discuss the problems and you focus on presenting solutions based on the research and analysis of the situation. You may recommend policies or a plan of action to address the underlying concerns. You may also suggest further research if a data point is unclear or the solutions are not yet tested for long-term effects.

Although epidemiologists generally work within the public health sector, you may also work in veterinary health or similar fields. You can choose different areas of study and focus on preventing disease in humans, pets, or even livestock. Depending on your interests and goals, you may take on different roles in your career.

How Do I Become an Epidemiologist?

When it comes to starting your career as an epidemiologist, you must meet the standards set for your work. Epidemiologist qualifications start with your education. The question of how to become an epidemiologist begins with your undergraduate degree.

You will want a degree in a health-related field or hard science. For example, you can pursue a biology degree, an undergraduate degree in public health, or a healthcare administration degree at the undergraduate level.

After you finish an undergraduate degree, the next step of becoming an epidemiologist is obtaining your master’s degree. How do I become an epidemiologist? Pursue a master’s in public health specializing in epidemiology from an accredited university or college. The master’s degree is the primary standard to start a career as an epidemiologist. You may also consider a higher level of education, like a doctorate, if you want to take on a teaching role or your employer requires a higher level of education.

Should I Become an Epidemiologist?

There’s a question that often comes up when you are looking into your career opportunities in the healthcare industry: should I become an epidemiologist? The role of an epidemiologist is to investigate disease and the root cause of a disease. If you are interested in finding the cause of a disease, then working as an epidemiologist may be a good choice for your career.

The role is ideal for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who want to focus on preventing disease within a large population. It is also a good option for veterinary professionals who are looking into the possibility of preventing cross-species diseases or problems within animal populations.

Anyone who has an interest in disease prevention may enjoy working as an epidemiologist. It is also ideal for those who want to work in a government agency (such as the CDC or the Department of Health and Human Services) with a focus on addressing the needs of a large population. You may benefit from the career if you enjoy research opportunities and want to study diseases and find a cure to current diseases.

Identifying the right career for your interests will depend on what you enjoy and what you want to do in your career. The job of an epidemiologist is ideal if you want to work in disease prevention, curing diseases, or addressing the needs of a large population.

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