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
- 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?
In 2022, the average annual income reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for epidemiologists in the United States was $85,880. The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) reports that, in 2023, epidemiologists in New York earned a median annual salary of $91,779 (epidemiologists in the 25th percentile made approximately $69,093 while those in the 75th percentile made approximately $161,535).
Supply and Demand
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of jobs for epidemiologists in the U.S. will increase by 26% between 2021 and 2031. The New York State Department of Labor projects that the number of jobs for epidemiologists in the state will increase by 41% between 2020 and 2030.
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 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)
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 Health Sciences University
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
|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
|CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy
55 W 125th Street
New York City, NY 10027
|University at Albany-SUNY
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