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What Do Epidemiologists Do?

Epidemiologists are public health professionals who investigate disease patterns, causes, and injury in humans. Epidemiologists seek to reduce the occurrence and risk of negative health outcomes through research, community education, and health policy.

Typically, epidemiologists conduct studies to collect and analyze data comprising of interviews, surveys, observations and bodily fluids in order to determine aspects of diseases and health problems. Epidemiologists manage public health programs, monitor their progress, and identify ways to improve programs which affect public health outcomes. Epidemiologists fill positions such as supervisory roles, technical, and clerical personnel.

Epidemiologists take factors into account such as demographic data to determine disease risk factors. They may also research and investigate trends in populations of survivors of certain diseases in order to ensure more successful future treatments. Epidemiologists typically work in applied epidemiology or research. Applied epidemiologists address public health problems directly through state and local government positions and often take part in communal education outreach. Research epidemiologists usually work for universities or in affiliation with federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Epidemiologists who work for non-profit companies often do public health advocacy work. Private industry epidemiologists usually conduct research for pharmaceutical companies or insurance companies.

Epidemiologists tend to typically specialize in one or more of the following public health areas:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Public health preparedness and emergency response
  • Maternal and child health
  • Chronic diseases
  • Environmental health
  • Injury
  • Occupational health
  • Behavioral epidemiology
  • Oral health

Several epidemiologic positions include HIV specialist, tropical disease expert, management policy advisor, director of family health, health center administrator, industrial hygienist, state or federal environmentalist, and vaccine researcher.

For more information on epidemiologists: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm.

Where Do Epidemiologists Work?

There were approximately 5,800 epidemiology jobs held in 2014. Most epidemiologists work for state government, not including education and hospitals. Some epidemiologists work in local government, not including education and hospitals. Epidemiology occupation sites also included private general medical and surgical hospitals. Epidemiologic research and development in the physical, and engineering and life sciences, occurred in colleges, universities, and professional schools, including state, local and private institutions.

The work environment of an epidemiologist is typically in an office setting or laboratory, at state and local government health departments. Epidemiologists also work in the field and support emergency actions and clinical settings. Epidemiologists also work in hospitals, at colleges, and at universities. Due to the diversity of the epidemiologic specializations, work environments vary greatly.

What Do Epidemiologists Earn?

According to the 2019 BLS, the average salary for full time, epidemiologists nationwide was $78,290, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports that epidemiologists in New York earned an average annual salary of $93,480, (entry level-$63,490, experienced- $108,470).

Supply and Demand

Epidemiologist demand outlook is expected to grow to 8.8% in the United States between 2016 and 2026. The expected growth rate for epidemiologists in New York during the same period is 14.8%, with an average of 30 annual openings between 2016 and 2026.

Educational Program Requirements

Most epidemiologists need a minimum of a master’s degree in public health with the most common concentration being epidemiology, from an accredited college or university. Some epidemiologists have completed a doctoral degree in epidemiology or medicine.

Classes for the epidemiology concentration typically comprise biological and physical sciences, math and statistics, analysis and survey design, and also include advanced courses emphasizing multiple regression, medical informatics, reviews of previous biomedical research, comparisons of healthcare systems, and practical applications of data. Many public health master’s degree programs require students to complete an internship or practicum ranging from one semester to a year.

Epidemiologists working in clinical capacities often have an epidemiology degree as well as a medical degree.

Financial Support

Financial assistance through public health scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study can be found here: http://www.publichealthonline.org/scholarships-and-grants/.

This link contains over 50 scholarships: http://mphprogramslist.com/public-health-mph-scholarships-and-grants/.

New York Licensure Requirements

There are currently no licensure requirements in the United States for epidemiologists or general public health professionals.

Education Programs in New York (Subject to Change)

Columbia University
Mailman School of Public Health
722 West 168th St.
New York, NY 10032
(212) 305 3927
University of Rochester
School of Medicine & Dentisty
4209-B Dewey Hall
PO Box 278977
Rochester, NY 14627
Phone: (585) 275 1985
SUNY Downstate 
School of Public Health
450 Clarkson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11203
(718) 270 1065
Weill Cornell Medicine
Graduate School of Medical Sciences
1300 York Ave  Box 65
New York, NY 10065
(212) 746-6565
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
1 Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029
(212) 241 6500
New York Medical College
School of Health Sciences & Practice
40 Sunshine Cottage Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
(914) 594 4000
New York University
College of Global Public Health
41 East 11th St.
New York, NY 10003
(212) 992-6741
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy
55 W 125th Street
New York City, NY 10027
(646) 364-9600
University at Albany
School of Public Health
1 University Place
Rensselaer, NY 12144
(518) 402 0283
University at Buffalo
School of Public Health & Health Professions
401 Kimball Tower
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 829- 5000

 

What Do Public Health Policy Analysts Do?

Health policy analysts do research, make reports and manage health care policies and programs. You may work for government, educational institutions, research labs, hospitals, and different types of community agencies. You may also be called a health care planner, health promotion program officer, or health services researcher.

Generally, health policy analysts:

  • Gather and analyze statistical information and write reports.
  • Develop health policies by collecting and analyzing statistical data.
  • Design, implement and monitor programs.
  • Maintain, update and manage health information databases.
  • Distribute program and policy information to your organization and the general public.
  • Write newsletters and other documents on health policy for your organization or the general public.

Public health policy analysts use data mining, analysis strengths, critical thinking, and effective communication skills.

Where Do Public Health Policy Analysts Work?

They typically work for (and with) government institutions, nonprofit organizations, political action committees, professional associations and community groups.

What Do Public Health Policy Analysts Earn?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not yet publish employment and earnings data for Public Health Policy Analysts. According to glassdoor.com, the average Public Health Policy Analysts salary in the United States is $76,668 in 2020. The average salary of $58,926 in New York State.

Supply and Demand

There is no Bureau of Labor Statistics supply and projection information on public health policy analysts.

Educational Program Requirements

Although a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for entry level positions in research for government agencies, political campaigns or non-profits, either a master’s degree or doctorate are needed for those who wish to advance in this field.  Most public health policy analysts have a Bachelor’s degree minimum or a Master’s or Doctorate degree in either public health, public policy, political science, or public administration. Some analysts earn degrees in multiple specialty areas.

New York Licensure Requirements

According to the New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions,  no state certification or licensure are required for health policy analysts.

Education Programs in New York (Subject to Change)

Upstate Medical University
Central New York Master of Public Health (CNYMPH)
766 Irving Ave.
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 464 1700
Columbia University
Mailman School of Public Health
722 West 168th St.
New York, NY 10032
(212) 305 3927
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Public Policy
55 W 125th St
New York, NY 10027
(646) 364-9600
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
1 Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029
(212) 241 6500
New York Medical College
40 Sunshine Cottage Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
(914) 594 4000
New York University
82 Washington Square
New York, NY 10003
(212) 998 7400
SUNY – Downstate Medical Center
450 Clarkson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11203
(718) 270 1065
SUNY – Stony Brook
101 Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
(631) 444-9396
SUNY-University at Albany
School of Public Health
1 University Place
Rensselaer, NY 12144
(518) 402 0283

 

What Do Occupational Health and Safety Specialists Do?

Occupational health and safety specialists inspect and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices for compliance with corporate and government health and safety standards and regulations. Specialists inspect workplaces to ensure adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment. Additionally, they conduct training on a variety of topics.  Examples of this profession include ergonomists and industrial or occupational hygienists. Occupational health and safety specialists are also part of a broader set of public health professions.

Occupational health and safety specialists also design programs to prevent disease or injury to workers, and prevent damage to the environment. Specialists seek to increase worker productivity by reducing absenteeism and equipment downtime. They also seek to save money by lowering insurance premiums, workers’ compensation payments, and by preventing government fines. Many jobs involve fieldwork and travel. Most specialists work full time and some specialists work weekends or irregular hours during emergencies.

More about this profession here.

 Where Do Occupational Health and Safety Specialists Work?

Occupational health and safety specialists work in varied environments such as offices, factories, and mines. In the federal government, specialists are employed by various agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In addition to working for local, state, and federal governments, occupational health and safety specialists work in management, scientific and technical consulting services, education services, hospitals, and manufacturing.

Occupational health and safety specialists work in a variety of settings, such as offices, factories, and mines. Their jobs often involve considerable fieldwork and travel. They may be exposed to strenuous, dangerous, or stressful conditions. Specialists use gloves, helmets, respirators, and other personal protective and safety equipment to minimize the risk of illness and injury.

What Do Occupational Health and Safety Specialists Earn?

According to the 2019 BLS, the average salary for full time, occupational health and safety specialists nationwide was $76,290, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports occupational health and safety specialists in New York earned an average annual salary of $77,340, (entry level-$48,470, experienced- $91,780).

Supply and Demand

The number of occupational health and safety specialist jobs is projected to increase slower than average in the United States by approximately 8.1% between 2016 and 2026, and increase by 12.2% in New York State during the same period.

Educational Program Requirements

Occupational health and safety specialists generally have a Bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or in a related scientific or technical field, such as engineering, biology, or chemistry. For some positions, a master’s degree in industrial hygiene, health physics, public health, or a related subject is required.

High school students interested in becoming occupational health and safety specialists should take courses in English, math, chemistry, biology, and physics.

New York Licensure Requirements

Certification is usually voluntary though many employers encourage it. Certification is available through various organizations depending on which field the specialist is to work.  The Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers the following certifications: Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification, associate Safety Professional (ASP), Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST)and Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST).  The American Board of Industrial Hygiene awards a certification known as a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)

Graduation from an accredited educational program is necessary for occupational health and safety specialists to be eligible for most certification examinations. Periodic continuing education is generally required for certification maintenance.

Continuing education may include additional training, certification, or a master’s degree.

Additional Information from the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration can be found here.

Financial Support

General information about state and federal scholarship programs and opportunities, here.

Education Programs in New York (Subject to Change)

SUNY Downstate Medical Center
School of Public Health
Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences
450 Clarkson Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11203
(718) 270-1065
New York City College of Technology
300 Jay St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 260-5000
New York Medical College
(Industrial Hygiene)
40 Sunshine Cottage Rd
Valhalla, NY 10595
(914) 594-4000

 

What Do Biostatisticians Do?

Biostatisticians are trained to use statistical methods to analyze health care data to help understand the causes of diseases. Biostatisticians are included in the broader category of statisticians and are also part of a broader set of public health professions. To view a description of the public health field and a list of other public health professionals, click here.

Biostatisticians also design surveys, questionnaires, and other data collection tools to collect data the data they need for their research or also analyze secondary data, which is data that someone else collected. For further information regarding biostatisticians go to https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians-and-statisticians.htm .

Where Do Biostatisticians Work?

Biostatisticians often work in teams of health professionals and are commonly employed by federal, state, and local governments. Biostatisticians may also be contracted or hired by pharmaceutical companies, research organizations, hospitals, or other health care institutions. They usually work in office settings, though they may go into the community to collect data.

What Do Biostatisticians Earn?

According to the 2019 BLS, the average salary for full time statisticians nationwide was $191,360, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports that statisticians in New York earned an average annual salary of $97,540, (entry level-$63,710, experienced- $114,450).

Supply and Demand

Projected growth for statisticians nationwide and in New York is the same for the period 2016-2026, 33.8% and 33.9% respectively.

Educational Program Requirements

Most statisticians have a background in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with about half earning a Master’s degree and about half earning a Doctoral degree. In addition to a statistics background, biostatisticians will also have course work related to health care.

 New York Licensure Requirements

Licensure or certification is not necessary for biostatisticians. During the course of a biostatistician’s career, Institutional Board Certification (IRB) certification for research with human subjects and classified data may be necessary for job duties. Additionally, biostatisticians can be certified through the National Board of Public Health Examiners. For more information on a certification in public health, click on https://www.nbphe.org/.

Education Programs in New York (Subject to Change)

University at Buffalo
704 Kimball Tower
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 645-2000
Columbia University
Mailman School of Public Health
722 West 168th St
New York, NY 10032
(212) 342-5127
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
1 Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029
(212) 241-6500
New York Medical College
40 Sunshine Cottage Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
(914) 594-4000
New York University
College of Global Public Health
665 Broadway, 11th Fl
New York, NY 10012
(212) 992-6741
SUNY – Downstate Medical Center 
School of Public Health
450 Clarkson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11203
(718) 270 1065
University of Rochester
School of Medicine & Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave
Rochester, NY 14642
(585) 275-0016
University at Albany
1 University Place
Rensselaer, NY 12144
(518) 402- 0283
NYU Langone Health
Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences
550 First Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 263-5648
CUNY Grad School of Public Health
& Health Policy
Epidemiology & Biostatistics
55 w 125th St
New York, NY  10027
(646) 364-9600

 

What Do Public Health Professionals Do?

Public health is a broad field covering diverse professions that include public health specific professionals such as epidemiologists to professionals that can focus on public health, such as a public health registered nurses, community health workers, health educators, and biostatisticians. To access specific public health professionals, click on any of the following links:

Biostatistician

Environmental Health Workers

Epidemiologists

Health Educators

Health Policy Analysts

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

Public health professionals address the needs of the community or population (rather than health care treatment to the individual) through disease education and prevention, data collection and analysis, disease surveillance, health emergency preparedness, environmental and occupational safety, and health policy development. Specific public health activities include assuring a safe environment through testing or assessing of restaurants; public water supplies; and public pools; responding to and documenting disease outbreaks; collecting data on communicable diseases such as rabies, West Nile Virus, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other infectious diseases, as well as working with the community to prepare for and respond to natural disasters and emergencies.

Where Do Public Health Professionals Work?

Public Health professionals work mostly for federal, state, and local governments and in the traditional office setting. Some public health professions work in the community performing evaluations and/or collecting data.

What Do Public Health Professionals Earn?

The income for public health professionals varies by occupation and by setting. Since many public health professionals work in government settings, the salary is determined by civil service law. Please see specific public health professions for accurate salary averages.

Supply and Demand

The supply and demand for public health professionals varies by occupation. See specific public health professions for accurate incomes by occupation.

Educational Program Requirements

Public health profession educational requirements range from associate to post-doctoral degrees, depending on the public health profession. There are also a number of educational programs that confer a second degree in conjunction with the public health degree such as medicine, law, business administration, and public administration.

New York Licensure Requirements

Licensure requirements vary by the public health profession. For professionals such as registered nurses and nutritionists/dieticians, state licensure requirements are pertinent. Other public health professionals such as biostatisticians or epidemiologists do not need licensure in New York.

There are options for certification in public health, though most organizations do not require it as a condition of employment. The two certifications in public health include:

  • Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners at https://www.nbphe.org/
  • Certification offered by the Public Health Practitioner Certification Board, Inc.  Professions for public health administrators and emergency response coordinators at http://phpcb.org/

Education Programs in New York (Subject to Change)

Programs in Public Health

Adelphi University
1 South Avenue
Garden City, NY 11530
(800) 233-5744
Brooklyn College-CUNY
2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210
(718) 951-5000
Columbia University
Mailman School of Public Health
722 West 168th St.
New York, NY 10032
(212) 342-5127
D’Youville College
320 Porter Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14201
(716) 829-8000
Hofstra University
500 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
(516) 463-6600
Hunter College
2180 Third Ave.
New York, NY 10035
(212) 772-4000
Ithaca College
953 Danby Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-3011
Lehman College-CUNY
250 Bedford Park Blvd West
Bronx, NY 10468
(718) 960-8000
Monroe College
2501 Jerome Ave.
Bronx, NY 10468
(718) 933-6700
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
1 Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029
(212) 241-6500
New York Medical College
40 Sunshine Cottage Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
(914) 594 4000
New York University
College of Global Public Health
665 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
(212) 992-6741
SUNY – Downstate Medical Center
450 Clarkson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11203
(718) 270-1065
University at Albany
School of Public Health
One University Place
Rensselaer, NY 12144
(518) 402-0283
University at Buffalo
419 Kimball Tower (South Campus)
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 829-5000
University of Rochester
Elmwood Ave
Rochester, NY 14627
(585) 275-2121
York College
94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.
Jamaica, NY 11451
(718) 262-2000

Additional Web Links

American Public Health Association at https://www.apha.org/what-is-public-health

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health at http://www.aspph.org/

What is Public Health at http://www.cdcfoundation.org/content/what-public-health