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Epidemiologists
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Description: what do they do?
Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, or health outcomes. May develop the means for prevention and control.
Also known as:
Epidemiology Investigator, Infection Control Practitioner (ICP), Chronic Disease Epidemiologist, Research Epidemiologist, Nurse Epidemiologist, Communicable Disease Specialist, State Epidemiologist, Epidemiologist, Public Health Epidemiologist, Environmental Epidemiologist

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
00:00
00:00

    Transcript: Epidemiologists are like medical detectives— searching for clues to determine how and why people get sick. They look for patterns of disease in human populations and develop ways to prevent and control outbreaks. Epidemiologists collect data in many forms, then analyze and interpret it, using statistics to help uncover patterns. When they have enough information, they write reports and present their findings to government groups and the public. Like any detective, an epidemiologist must sometimes go on location to find out more about the cause and effect of a disease in a particular community. They may conduct interviews to identify who is at most risk, and to develop explanations for how a disease is spread. They often publish important findings in medical journals, which may lead to beneficial new public health programs. Most epidemiologists work for government agencies such as the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or state health departments. Epidemiologists also work at universities, hospitals, research facilities, and pharmaceutical companies. They may specialize in an area such as environmental epidemiology… emergency preparedness… or chronic diseases. Most enter the field with a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in epidemiology. From finding the cause… to advocating treatment… and improving health outcomes, an epidemiologist needs patience and persistence to support society’s well-being.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Oregon
30
2016 Employment
30
2026 Employment
11%
Percent change
0
Annual projected job openings
United States
6,100
2016 Employment
6,600
2026 Employment
9%
Percent change
600
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Epidemiologists in Oregon
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationOregonUnited States
10%$52,940$42,810
25%$59,280$55,190
Median$72,530$69,660
75%$86,790$88,960
90%$86,800$113,560


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2017 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Master's degree
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Direct medical science or healthcare programs.
  • Plan biological research.
  • Develop methods of social or economic research.
  • Communicate with government agencies.
  • Research diseases or parasites.
  • Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
  • Establish standards for products, processes, or procedures.
  • Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.
  • Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
  • Establish standards for medical care.
  • Instruct college students in physical or life sciences.
  • Advise others on healthcare matters.
  • Analyze biological samples.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Science - Using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Systems Evaluation - Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Learning Strategies - Using the best training or teaching strategies for learning new things.
  • Mathematics - Using math to solve problems.
  • Instructing - Teaching people how to do something.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.
  • Fluency of Ideas - Coming up with lots of ideas.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Originality - Creating new and original ideas.
  • Flexibility of Closure - Seeing hidden patterns.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - Choosing the right type of math to solve a problem.
  • Selective Attention - Paying attention to something without being distracted.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Oversee public health programs, including statistical analysis, health care planning, surveillance systems, and public health improvement.
  • Plan and direct studies to investigate human or animal disease, preventive methods, and treatments for disease.
  • Provide expertise in the design, management and evaluation of study protocols and health status questionnaires, sample selection, and analysis.
  • Monitor and report incidents of infectious diseases to local and state health agencies.
  • Investigate diseases or parasites to determine cause and risk factors, progress, life cycle, or mode of transmission.
  • Communicate research findings on various types of diseases to health practitioners, policy makers, and the public.
  • Plan, administer and evaluate health safety standards and programs to improve public health, conferring with health department, industry personnel, physicians, and others.
  • Educate healthcare workers, patients, and the public about infectious and communicable diseases, including disease transmission and prevention.
  • Supervise professional, technical, and clerical personnel.
  • Standardize drug dosages, methods of immunization, and procedures for manufacture of drugs and medicinal compounds.
  • Teach principles of medicine and medical and laboratory procedures to physicians, residents, students, and technicians.
  • Consult with and advise physicians, educators, researchers, government health officials and others regarding medical applications of sciences, such as physics, biology, and chemistry.
  • Prepare and analyze samples to study effects of drugs, gases, pesticides, or microorganisms on cell structure and tissue.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.