How to Become an Epidemiologist

How to become an Epidemiologist

The Basics of Becoming an Epidemiologist

Are you researching how to become an Epidemiologist and want to know what they do? Well, the main job of an Epidemiologist is to be concerned with public health. They investigate the spread, causes and patterns of diseases and health issues so that they can inform health practitioners, policy makers and the public about potential concerns. They may track these patterns over time and may also help plan preventative measures, public programs and treatments based on their findings. It is important to note that an Epidemiologist does not just study the spread of disease, but also will study health related cause and effect. An example of this would be linking tobacco smoking to lung cancer.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, epidemiologists may earn a degree from a wide range of related fields; however, you do need some sort of master’s degree to become an Epidemiologist. In many cases the specific degree earned is a master’s in public health, otherwise known as an MPH degree, though some may earn a Ph.D. in public health or even a medical degree.

What are the qualifications and hurdles to becoming an Epidemiologist?

The main educational qualification for an epidemiologist is the Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Epidemiology. The biggest hurdle seen for epidemiologist is the availability of sustainable funding to support those positions at local levels such as county health departments. A great number of epi positions were employed through the use of Public Health Emergency Preparedness funding which has been drastically cut over the past years. These cuts do not reduce the demand for a skilled workforce that not only help detect trends in diseases but that also make recommendations for interventions and strategies to keep our communities healthy and living longer more productive lives. At the end of the day, Epis Count!

Dr. Oscar Alleyne - EpidemiologistClick To Tweet!click to tweet
- Dr. Oscar Alleyne , Epidemiologist

An Epidemiologist's Salary Potential

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  • Median
  • Highest 90th%


States with the Highest Employment Levels


How Do Your Skills Stack Up?

day to day life of an Epidemiologist

As reported by O*NET, these traits are ranked as either extremely or very important to the day to day life of an Epidemiologist.

What Will You Learn with an MS in Public Health Degree?

A master of science degree in public health usually features courses like the following:

  • Principles of Public Health
  • Health Policy & Management
  • Research Methods in Public Health
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences
  • Principles of Environmental Health

Master-level public health degrees are usually designed to help prepare students to implement public health programs, shape policy, and analyze evidence-based research to affect change. The core areas of focus in this type of master’s program are typically public health and policy management, behavioral sciences, epidemiology, biostatics, occupational and environmental health sciences. Students may also study health and wellness trends and strategies, look at how communities allocate health resources, and delve into major legal and ethical issues such as biosecurity.

Is there such a thing as a famous Epidemiologist?

Absolutely! As documented by Wikipedia there are some very well-known individuals in the world of Epidemiology. John Snow studied the 19th century cholera epidemics, Ignaz Semmelweis brought down infant mortality by introducing the concept of disinfection. And Ronald Ross identified the causes of malaria.

FAQs About How to Become an Epidemiologist

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Job information sourced from O*NET