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What does an Epidemiologist do?

Learn all about Epidemiologist duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an Epidemiologist.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

An epidemiologist is a medical scientist who studies the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease in defined populations. They seek to identify the factors that put people at risk for developing certain diseases and conditions, and they work to prevent or control the spread of infectious diseases.

Epidemiologist job duties include:

  • Conducting field studies
  • Designing and conducting surveys and interviews
  • Collecting data on health and disease outbreaks
  • Analyzing data using statistical methods
  • Identifying risk factors for disease outbreaks
  • Developing models to predict the spread of disease
  • Planning and implementing disease control and prevention programs
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of disease control programs
  • Collaborating with other public health professionals

Epidemiologist Job Requirements

An Epidemiologist is a medical professional who studies the patterns and causes of disease and injury in humans. They work to identify risk factors and track the spread of disease. Epidemiologists typically have a medical degree, although some may have a PhD in public health or epidemiology. Many states require certification for epidemiologists. Experience working in a medical or research setting is also helpful.

Epidemiologist Skills

  • Public health
  • Surveillance
  • Data analysis
  • Epidemiology
  • Research
  • Biostatistics
  • Health policy
  • Infectious diseases
  • Global health
  • Program evaluation
  • Environmental health

Related: Top Epidemiologist Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an Epidemiologist

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

If you are interested in becoming an epidemiologist, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree program in public health, biology, or a related field. Many epidemiologists also have a master’s degree or doctorate in public health, epidemiology, or a related field. Epidemiologists typically have strong skills in mathematics and statistics.

Most entry-level positions in epidemiology require at least a bachelor’s degree, but some research positions may require a master’s degree or doctorate. To become an epidemiologist, you will need to complete at least four years of undergraduate study and two to four years of graduate study. You will also need to pass a state licensing exam if you plan to practice in the United States.

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