The growth of public health as a job market means many professionals are moving toward the public health field, and one of the most in-demand specializations is epidemiology. As a specialty that combines data analysis, research, and socio-cultural knowledge, epidemiology requires some specific skills that are rare to find together. That’s just one reason a well-trained, experienced epidemiologist can expect a lot of career opportunity.
The job market for epidemiologists varies slightly based on your state and local area; however, the epidemiologist job outlook on a national level is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the expected growth of the job is around nine percent a year, which is similar to all jobs in the job market and suggests that you will be able to find work in your field.
Keep in mind that your role as an epidemiologist may impact your job prospects. The options available through private companies and organizations may offer more jobs when compared to government roles. Depending on your goals, you may find the number of opportunities vary as you look at different localities and areas. You can expect to find more opportunities in larger cities and urban areas when compared to small towns.
Careers are presented in alphabetical order.
1. Academic Research Epidemiologist
When you are looking into epidemiology careers that fit your area of interest, you may consider working as an academic research epidemiologist. The career path focuses on research within a college or university. Depending on the goals of the research department of the school, the specific details you may research in your job may vary. Each college or university offers different research roles based on their current areas of study and grants offered to the school.
The average salary for a research epidemiologist is around $90,500 per year. You can expect your salary to start at a lower rate when you are starting out in your career. The exact salary depends on your level of experience, your location, and your level of education. The starting salary for an academic research epidemiologist is around $50,000 per year. The job outlook is positive with average job growth of around nine percent, which is similar to the national average for all industries.
2. Applied Epidemiologist
Taking on the role of an applied epidemiologist means you work in a traditional analytical role within epidemiology. When it comes to jobs for epidemiologists, the role of an applied epidemiologist is to track disease within a population. You look for disease indicators within a population or track a disease as it moves through a population. You may also focus on public policies in relation to disease prevention and addressing current sicknesses that are moving through the population at a specific time.
The average salary for an epidemiologist working in a government position or a similar role is around $69,600 per year. You can expect a reasonable job outlook with a growth of around nine percent year over year. The rate of growth is similar to all industries and suggests that positions within applied epidemiology will be similar to the demand and growth in the economy. Expect some variation in your salary based on your location and level of experience in your field.
3. Climate Health Epidemiologist
When you are looking into the types of epidemiologists, you may notice a relatively new role for climate health epidemiology positions. The role of a climate health epidemiologist is to study climate exposure to heat, wildfires, or related problems and develop a plan of action to address the underlying problems with changes to climate on local wildlife, plant life, and infrastructures. You then recommend policies based on your research and analysis to local and state governments.
A climate health epidemiologist earns an average salary of roughly $50,000 per year. You can expect to earn more as you gain experience and your starting salary may be lower than the average. Due to the changing climate conditions and the rate of weather-related problems, the growth of jobs within climate health epidemiology is growing. You can expect a reasonable number of roles to become available in the future as the job growth in epidemiology is around nine percent year over year.
4. Clinical Trial Research
When you want to work directly in the medical industry, you can take on the role of a clinical trial research epidemiologist. Clinical trial research in epidemiology careers focuses on gaining evidence in medicine to clarify when a medication or product works on a specific condition. It is particularly prevalent in heart disease studies and research; however, it may apply to many diseases or conditions. The role of a clinical trial researcher is to design a study that uses the scientific method to determine if an item is effective.
You may work with a hospital or research program, as well as a pharmaceutical company to find out whether a medication is effective against a disease. The salary for an epidemiologist in clinical trial research is around $70,000 per year. You can expect some variation in your salary as you gain experience. Your location may also impact your salary expectations. The job growth in clinical trial research is stable and you can expect it to grow at a rate that is similar to the rate of growth in other medical fields.
5. Disaster Epidemiologist
When you are looking at types of epidemiologists, you may come across disaster epidemiologists. A disaster epidemiologist evaluates the potential health effects of a disaster on a population. You may look into the short-term and long-term effects of a disaster on a population’s health in an effort to identify potential risk factors for future disasters that may occur. The primary goal of your job as a disaster epidemiologist is to prevent deaths, injuries, or illnesses associated with a natural disaster or an emergency situation.
When it comes to the income of a disaster epidemiologist, it is similar to other roles in epidemiology. You can expect a salary of roughly $70,000 per year after you gain experience in your field. Keep in mind that exact income depends on your locality and the cost of living, so you may have a slightly higher salary in some locations while other areas have a lower salary. The expected rate of growth in disaster epidemiology is positive and similar to the national average for all industries.
6. Epidemiology Investigator
An epidemiology investigator is among the jobs for epidemiologists that may interest students who want to identify the cause of a disease or address the risk factors associated with a condition. When you work as an investigator, you are looking into sicknesses that are trending within a population. You may collect samples or assess population demographics to clarify risk factors or identify potential details that may impact the risk of infection. You also look into the ways a sickness is spread through a population with a goal of preventing future contamination.
Income levels for an epidemiology investigator are similar to other roles in epidemiology. The average income is around $75,000 per year, though starting salaries are slightly lower than average at roughly $40,000 per year. As you advance in your career and take on more leadership roles, you may earn as much as $90,000 per year. Growth within the field of epidemiology investigation is expected to grow at a rate that is higher than the average across all industries due to growing concerns about the causes of sicknesses in rural and urban areas.
7. Epidemiology Management/Administration
When you want to work in a medical field, taking on the role of an epidemiology manager or administrator is a good opportunity for your goals. Epidemiology management or administration works within the medical field to focus on service to populations rather than individuals as it applies to hospitals and medical facilities. Your role is to focus on the population aspects of medical care and work with a facility to ensure proper measures are taken to address risk factors within the local community or environment as it relates to their medical treatment. You take on a leadership role and work with hospital administrators to find realistic solutions.
An epidemiology manager or administrator takes on a leadership role within a medical facility or an institution. Due to the administrative role, you may need a higher level of education when compared to the average epidemiologist. You can expect a slightly higher income level due to your higher level of education; however, exact income levels may vary. The role has higher than average growth due to its role in the medical industry and the high demand for professionals within medicine.
8. Epidemiology Professor
The decision to work as an epidemiology professor means you are working directly in a college or university setting. You take on the role of teaching students about the topic, so you may need a higher level of education to work as a professor. In most cases, colleges and universities will require a PhD to teach students at the master’s level. The role of a professor is to teach students about epidemiology research, assessment, and skills, as well as communication within the industry.
An epidemiology professor makes an income that is similar to the income of other professors in a college or university. If you are working as an assistant professor, then you can expect to make an average of $64,000 per year. As a professor, you can expect to make $100,000 per year or higher for your experience, expertise, and training. Keep in mind that exact income levels can vary based on your experience, education level, and time at the college or university. Job growth for professors of epidemiology is similar to other industries or slightly higher due to the high demand for professors in some locations.
9. Field Epidemiologist
When you want to work in the thick of a problem at the population level, taking on the role of a field epidemiologist is the ideal career for your goals. A field epidemiologist is a professional who responds to urgent problems with public health. You are called on to act quickly and identify the cause of sickness within a population as quickly as possible to find solutions to an urgent emergency situation. The key factor that sets this career apart is that you do not have time to develop a hypothesis before you start working on a solution. You are required to identify and work around a sickness without preparation and act quickly to reduce the potential loss of life from the ailment.
A field epidemiologist salaries are similar to other epidemiology positions. You can expect to earn around $68,000 per year as a field epidemiologist. The exact income may vary based on your experience and starting salaries for the role are around $49,000 per year. You may earn more than the average if you have a higher level of education or experience. The job outlook for the career is slightly higher than average due to the high demand as well as the limited number of individuals willing to work in the fast-paced environment of field epidemiology.
10. Hospital/Clinical Epidemiologist
Working as a clinical epidemiologist, or a hospital epidemiologist, means you are working directly with a medical facility. Your role in the hospital or clinical setting is to apply statistical data and epidemiology theories to a clinical setting. You work with the hospital to use data collected about demographics and populations to identify risks with patients and their healthcare needs. The role of an epidemiologist in a clinical setting is to apply concepts to a smaller scale for proper patient care.
A hospital epidemiologist makes a reasonable income or salary with an average income of around $69,600 per year. Job growth within the industry is similar to other fields of study with around nine percent growth year over year. You can expect a slightly higher rate of growth in areas with a high demand for medical professionals. Exact income levels and demand within a local environment may vary based on the location.
11. Infection Control/Preventionist
Infection control or preventionist positions are a specialized area of epidemiology that focuses on reducing the risk of disease within a population. It is specifically focused on prevention and recognizes that clinical and organizational systems may play a role in the prevention of disease. Your role as a preventionist is to identify risk factors within a population and take steps to ensure that the population is aware of the risks. You may actively work in communities to teach locals about the risks of disease and ways to reduce the risks in their lives. The goal is to spread information to a population based on your analysis of local risk factors.
The average salary for an infection preventionist or infection control epidemiologist is around $98,000 per year. Due to the importance of your role in preventing disease among large populations, you may find that you have a variety of opportunities available for your career and advancement in your job. You should be aware that starting salaries are lower than the average and some positions may require a higher level of education than a master’s degree.
12. Molecular Epidemiologist
Molecular epidemiology is a relatively new field of study within epidemiology that focuses on genetic risk factors associated with disease and disease prevention. It looks into information at the molecular level and strives to identify populations that may have a high risk of a disease or condition due to their genetics. The work combines molecular biology with epidemiological research to address potential issues within a population.
Income levels of a molecular epidemiologist are similar to other fields within epidemiology. You can expect a median salary of roughly $69,600 per year. Starting salaries may be lower than the average and you can expect some variation based on your experience. Since molecular epidemiology is a new field of study it has a high level of growth.
13. Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist
The role of a pharmaceutical epidemiologist is to recognize diseases at a population level and work with pharmaceutical companies to make decisions about the drugs developed for the population. In this role, you may work directly with a company to research a local or global population. You may also work within smaller sub-sets to analyze data or perform research to help clarify diseases that need proper treatment.
A pharmaceutical epidemiologist makes an average salary of roughly $69,000 per year. You can expect to make more if you take on a leadership role and obtain a higher level of education. You can also expect a higher salary as you gain experience in your field. Due to the growing interest in disease control and management, job growth within pharmaceutical epidemiology is growing. You can expect to see job growth that is similar to or greater than the average across all industries.
If you enjoy looking into the statistical data associated with population, then a statistician or analyst role may fit your interests. An epidemiology statistician focuses on collecting and analyzing data within a large population or group. You then use the data to develop statistical outcomes based on the numbers. In epidemiology, you research and analyze data related to public health and safety.
The average income for a statistician is around $72,000 per year. You can expect that your starting salary as an analyst will be lower than the average; however, you can also increase your income over time. The exact salary depends on your location and experience level. Job growth for statisticians and analysts within epidemiology is similar to the growth for all epidemiologists at roughly nine percent year over year. That means you will find opportunities within the industry for your career.
15. Veterinary Epidemiologist
Veterinary epidemiologists work with the traditional principles and research strategies used for epidemiology and apply it to veterinary science. The goal is to identify disease within animal populations and to clarify risk factors for better veterinary practices. It uses the same standards of research, but focuses on pets or animal populations within a locality.
The average salary for a veterinary epidemiologist is around $77,000 per year. Salary potential may vary based on your location; however, you can expect a reasonable income for your work as a veterinary epidemiologist. The job outlook for the career is slightly slower than average with an expected growth rate of roughly six percent year over year.
How Much Does an Epidemiologist Make?
The decision to work as an epidemiologist means you have an opportunity to make a reasonable income. So, how much does an epidemiologist make? The median epidemiologist salary is around $69,600 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although the average salary is close to $70,000 per year, you should expect to start with a lower salary.
The epidemiologist salary range is between $42,200 and $112,600 per year. You can expect to start with a salary that is close to $42,000 per year when you begin your career. Your salary may increase over time as you gain experience in your field. Keep in mind that your location may also impact your salary and the potential income. Larger cities and states with larger populations may offer a higher salary when compared to small cities or states with a lower cost of living.
Where Do Epidemiologists Work?
When it comes to your career as an epidemiologist, you will want to consider the options available for your work. Where do epidemiologists work? That depends on your areas of interest and your goals.
The most common work environment for your career is in a state government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that roughly 34 percent of all jobs in your field are in the state government. You may also find opportunities within a smaller local government, such as working for a city or town. Many epidemiologists work for the federal government, in agencies like the CDC or Health and Human Services.
When you are not interested in working for a government agency, you may find opportunities within the healthcare system. Hospitals and medical facilities may offer opportunities for epidemiologists who are looking for private-sector work. You can also work in a lab or an office for a private organization or company. Lab work depends on the specific goals or concerns of the organization, so keep in mind that some companies may also offer fieldwork if you do not want to work in an office environment. The primary type of work in a private company or organization focuses on research or scientific development. If you want to focus on a research position within your field, then looking into careers within the private sector may offer new opportunities for your goals.
Universities and colleges offer career opportunities for epidemiologists. You may work within a university’s lab in a research role or you may take on teaching roles within the university. Keep in mind that teaching positions may require a higher level of education as well as a certain amount of experience in your field before you move into a role that focuses on educating the next generation. Exact standards may vary based on the college or university.
Is a PhD in Epidemiology Valuable?
When it comes to a career in epidemiology, you do not need to obtain a PhD to start your career. You can start in your career with a master’s degree, or MPH, to work in a lab, government agency, or a similar role.
PhD epidemiology careers often focus on working within the education system. You may need a PhD to work as a professor at the college level or to take on a leadership role. Administrators may need a higher level of education due to their role as a leader within a college or university.
Clarifying when a PhD is valuable for your career starts with clarifying your goals for your career. If you want to work in the education system, then you may benefit from a higher level of education. If you plan to work in a traditional role in a government agency, private lab, or related fieldwork, then you may not need a PhD to get started in your field. In most cases, you can start working with a master’s degree; however, you can pursue a DrPH online if you are considering a leadership role or your employer requests the education for any reason. You can benefit from the higher level of education if you plan to pursue certain roles within the industry.