How to Become an Epidemiologist

How to Become an Epidemiologist

When people decide to go into a career in teaching or education, they usually think that their degrees limit them to positions in an academic institution. However, that isn't necessarily the case. You can apply for many different positions in a variety of fields when you have a bachelor's or master's degree in education. One of the most interesting professions that you should try to get into if you want more than a classroom job is epidemiology. The skills in research and describing information in a useful manner makes you an ideal candidate to work in the field of epidemiology. If you want to become an epidemiologist, here's what you should know:

What do epidemiologists do?
Epidemiologists are professionals who work in public health. They investigate different types of human diseases and injuries. In the case of diseases, they look at the patterns associated with the spread of various bacteria and viruses. More often than not, epidemiologists can be found in their offices, poring over collected data from interviews, surveys and test samples. Otherwise, they are writing up plans that address public health situations and managing current policies. Some epidemiologists decide to work at universities and colleges. But for the most part, many opt to hold positions at hospitals, laboratories and health insurance companies. Epidemiologists can even find jobs within pharmaceutical companies, acting as advisors or technical experts. Other responsibilities include monitoring the progress of ongoing studies, supervising public health technicians, and working with health care professionals and health insurance representatives.

What type of certificates/degrees do epidemiologists have?
Many people who pursue a career in epidemiology have earned their master's degree in education, public health or some other related field from an accredited institution. Courses often include public health practices, environmental health, health behavior theory, health policy, fundamentals of biology and applications of science, technology and society. Advanced coursework will focus on analysis of previous biomedical research, multiple regression statistics and medical informatics. It's also a good idea to find an internship or shadowing opportunities to gain real-world experience.

Why should I become an epidemiologist?
There are many reasons why you should become an epidemiologist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of available jobs for epidemiologists is expected to grow 10 percent from 2012 to 2022. Epidemiologists also earn a median annual wage of $65,270, with the top 10 percent earning more than $108,320.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a non-profit, accredited, online university. WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please visit

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