Epidemiologists play a critical role in society, and great individuals in the field have come to light in recent years. We’ll cover all you need to know in this post, from an epidemiology income expectation to an epidemiologist job description, if you’re interested in a career as an epidemiologist or want to learn how to become one. Let’s first define epidemiology, before going deeper into the epidemiologist career life review
What is Epidemiology?
The study of diseases, specifically their causes, effects, recurrence rates, and patterns among populations, is known as epidemiology.
Public health is supported scientifically by epidemiology, which also offers methods for illness prevention and treatment.
Biological, biostatistical, and social sciences are all studied in this area in order to evaluate risks and trends in the provision of public healthcare.
Who is an Epidemiologist?
Epidemiologists, also known as “disease detectives,” conduct investigations into disease outbreaks and put control and prevention measures in place. They examine pandemics, like the current COVID-19 virus, or minor local outbreaks in order to ascertain the origin, stop the spread, pinpoint high-risk populations, and gather information for additional preventive actions.
Epidemiologists will compile information on the origin and spread of an outbreak as well as its effects on various communities. Thus, epidemiologists work to maintain and promote public health as both scientists and members of the government.
Epidemiologists frequently focus on one or more of the following fields of public health:
- Infectious conditions
- Chronic conditions
- Health of mothers and children
- Emergency preparation and public health
- Workplace health
- Oral fitness
- Drug Addiction
- Health Behavior
Epidemiologist Career Life
Let’s find out what being an Epidemiologist looks like, from the duties, work environment, skills required and how to become one.
The Duties of Epidemiologists
An epidemiologist’s duties include gathering and analyzing data in a lab and relaying the results to the appropriate public authorities.
An epidemiologist will look into who is becoming sick, what their symptoms are, where they are getting sick, etc. when an outbreak is first noticed in order to identify the disease’s origin and root cause.
For outbreaks, epidemiologists will develop a response plan, and they’ll keep an eye on how well it works as time goes on.
For instance, an epidemiologist will monitor the efficacy of a vaccination developed for a particular disease and keep an eye out for disease strains that have undergone mutations in order to quickly and efficiently control the disease.
These are the roles of epidemiologists, in brief. The following is what epidemiologists normally do:
- Plan and oversee research on public health issues to identify solutions for both prevention and treatment when they do occur.
- Find the causes of diseases or other health issues by gathering and analyzing data through surveys, observations, and other methods, as well as by collecting samples of blood or other physiological fluids.
- Share their findings with the public, politicians, and health professionals.
- Manage public health programs by creating plans, tracking their progress, examining data, and looking for ways to make the programs better in order to enhance outcomes in terms of public health.
- Control professional, technical, and administrative staff.
Essential Skills of Epidemiologists
1. Skills in communication:
Epidemiologists must communicate public health threats to the general public and local officials through writing and speaking. An epidemiologist must be able to communicate effectively in order to collaborate with other medical specialists.
2. Critical Thinking:
Epidemiologists use data analysis to determine the most effective way to address a public health issue or a critical medical emergency.
3. Attention to Detail
Moving from observation and interview to conclusions requires precision and accuracy on the part of epidemiologists.
4. Skills in Statistics and Math
To plan and carry out research and surveys, epidemiologists may require significant statistical and quantitative abilities. It may also be crucial to have proficiency with statistical software and big data databases.
5. Teaching Abilities
Epidemiologists may take part in public health initiatives that inform the general population about health hazards and healthy lifestyles.
Where do Epidemiologists Work?
Public health epidemiologists can work in academic institutions or governmental agencies like the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (NIH).
Epidemiologists that work full-time often have a normal workweek and schedule. Epidemiologists may have a slightly erratic schedule during times of public emergency in order to complete fieldwork and other time-sensitive tasks.
Careers as an Epidemiologist: Salary and Growth
As of 2020, the average yearly compensation for epidemiologists was $74,560, with the lowest 10% getting $49,140 and the highest 10% earning $126,040, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With an average compensation of $99,020, scientific research and development services are on the higher end of the pay scale. The average salary for epidemiologists working in public, private, or community hospitals is $84,420. On the lesser end, salaries for work in local or state governments range from $68,500 to $70,470, while those teaching epidemiology in universities or colleges get an average salary of $67,700.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the sector has seen a 4% gain in employment, and that number is expected to rise to 10% between 2020 and 2030. If further pandemics strike during that time, this prediction might even come true, making epidemiology a crucial area of study.
How to become an Epidemiologist
To perform the entire range of duties, an epidemiologist must hold a master’s degree in the field.
However, obtaining a dream epidemiology job and earning practical experience can be made much easier with relevant work experience and education.
A bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline, such as public health, health science, biostatistics, medicine, or nursing, can be obtained by a prospective epidemiologist. It is feasible to start working in the health department after receiving a bachelor’s degree and obtain important experience while finishing a master’s degree in epidemiology. If you have a busy schedule, you may look for an online epidemiology program and enrol.
FAQs about Epidemiology Career
Are epidemiology courses challenging?
Epidemiology and the social sciences might more appropriately be referred to as the "very hard sciences" due to the higher-order complexities and difficulties involved in investigating vast populations of individuals.
What topics do epidemiologists research?
Epidemiologists, often known as "Disease Detectives," look for the origins of illnesses, spot those who are vulnerable, and work out ways to limit the spread of the illness or stop it from happening in the future. Many health workers, including doctors, veterinarians, biologists, and others, undergo "Disease Detective" training.
What subjects do I need to study epidemiology?
Epidemiologists conduct research in order to determine the risk factors of a particular disease to a given population and ways of eliminating it. CXC/ CAPE subjects in Biology, Chemistry and Physics are recommended.
How long does it take to study Epidemiology?
Course duration may be between 2-3 years. You may be required to take further certification programs, so the duration will depend on how willing you are to study.
For those who want to use medicine and research to improve society, an epidemiology career is a significant, rewarding, and lucrative one. A researcher in epidemiology works to prevent, control, and even eradicate disease while also ensuring the safety of many.
Epidemiology can be an excellent career choice for you if you have interests in public health, spotting trends, medicine, and healing diseases.
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