What factors determine a good career? We will be discussing that is Epidemiology as Career worth it or not. You can think of as many factors as possible, but the truth is quite simple to follow. It’s your interest in any field you are opting for as your career path. Interest is what can lead you to the chain of success. People automatically tend to make an effort in doing something they have their interest in, and efforts matter more than anything to achieve the goals.
Epidemiology as Career
A career in epidemiology can be very vast, leading you to ample options in the future. Like any other field, one needs to figure out their interest in epidemiology to have a good career. The first step here is to figure out what epidemiology means. Epidemiology is the branch that combines Biology and Statistics to study the distribution of disease in a population and community. It is the branch that focuses on the prevention of disease. An epidemiologist’s sole belief is to get to the root cause of any disease, study the spread, look for factors that are amplifying the spread, and eventually work on research to look for options that can help in its prevention. It is a sector dedicated to public health and its welfare. Therefore, the work of an epidemiologist is mostly bound to government sectors.
Educational Requirements to Be an Epidemiologist
The basic requirement here is to fetch a master’s degree. The most common path that people follow is to do a master’s in public health with epidemiology as a major. However, it is not a necessity. You will find epidemiologists who are not from a public health background and have done masters in some other relevant field. Most of the epidemiologists are either from medical, agriculture, or statistic background. The degree here is choice-oriented. Some of the population go for a job after completing their masters, and some go for a Ph.D. degree. The latter is opted by people who seek interest in studying further to explore more about the field.
The work of an epidemiologist mostly revolves around researches and gathering information to work on a conclusion. However, diversity lies in work as well. Students who do not find researches interesting rather go for a teaching job in universities. No matter what you choose, stability lies in both. Their main objective is to look towards public health and work on its betterment. They are either employed by a government organization or by a university.
Role of an Epidemiologist
The current situation better describes the role of an epidemiologist. Since the outbreak of the dreadful virus known by the name SARS-CoV-2, the objective was to find the pattern of its spread and cause of the disease. This is where epidemiologists came into action. Their work unlocked the mystery of its spread, and that’s what further led to its treatment. However, they are still working on the mutant strains of the virus to contain the virus.
A team of epidemiologists in Seattle worked on “patient zero” in the initial days of spreading the virus. Their researches played a crucial role in determining the level and pattern of spread, the rate of mutation, and how lethal it can be. Based on their research and studies, the government took many precautionary measures to contain the virus. This proves their importance in public health. In addition, they play a crucial role in the healthcare sector.
Research-based work forges a major part of epidemiology. Experience is always preferred in any field. Having previous work experience helps to gain knowledge of the responsibilities. It brings precision and accuracy to work. Other than experience, patience is what can make you good in this field. Research work is exact, and it requires as many numbers of effort as possible to succeed in your conclusion. Many a time, the research can fail. So, being patient in this field is the only way out. You also need to be a keen observer; every minute detail can be of great importance. Negligence in any of the detail can lead you to wrong observation. Finally, carrying a professional attitude in your work is always beneficial. It gives a better perspective.
No matter what you do, if teamwork is not falling in place, then there is a greater probability of not getting an appropriate conclusion of the research. Individual effort is important but is should integrate along with teamwork. It makes work a little easy and precise. Good listening skill is a must for good teamwork. If you are good at giving opinions, then you should also be good at hearing one. You never know. Any opinion can lead you to great success.
Apart from research, if you want to pursue a university career, problem-solving skill is a must. Students are the most curious being. Anyone can come up with any question for which you should be prepared with an accurate answer. Communication and writing skills are mandatory for the same. Lectures require good communication skills, and thesis work requires good writing skills.
Job Opportunities and Expected Salary
Epidemiology is a vast sector with a broad range of opportunities. Here is the list of most common jobs with the respective salary one can apply for.
- Qualitative Data Epidemiologist= $55,504-$86,031 annually
- Programmer Analyst around $45 an hour
- Epidemiologist=$22-$30 an hour
- Senior Epidemiologist=$26-$32 an hour
- Epidemiologist for Research Data aAalyst=$87,000-$92,000 a year
- COVID-19 Testing Program Assistant= $38,000-$50,000 annually
- Public Health Nurse=$29-$33 an hour
- Surge Capacity Epidemiologists=$5,618-$8,626 monthly
- The Nurse Practitioner in Health and Human Resources=$42,988-$79,527 annually
- Post-Doctoral Epidemiologist Fellow
These are the most common career paths to opt from. The salary of every designation is different. It depends on many other factors such as the candidate’s experience, qualification, location of applying for a job, and personality of the applicant. It is a well-known fact that freshers are not paid as much as experienced candidates. Bigger cities have better job opportunities. The average salary of epidemiologists in the United States is around $73,000 per year. On the contrary, the lowest salary marked is around $48,000 per year. In contrast, a salary of around $1,00,000 per year is considered high for an epidemiologist.
Are You a Right Fit to be an Epidemiologist?
It is a work that involves society as a whole. Anything you do as an epidemiologist has a direct impact on society. Many important decisions and conclusion rely upon the hands of them. Therefore, aspirants who aim to be epidemiologists should always analyze themselves in terms of the desire to work for the welfare of society and the health of people. This should be the primary interest of every aspirant seeking a future in this field. It is a job where you can earn a good amount of money, but the primary motive here for any aspirant should be to look for the betterment of society rather than money. People who love to work in a disciplined environment are also traits indicative of taking a step forward in this field.
The work is never boring as it does not involve the same old responsibilities, unlike any other job. Every day is a new challenge. You should be ready to face the challenges with an attitude to thrive on them. Fear and apprehension will take you nowhere. If you are a person who loves to work on something new every day and if you want to work on something that can be impactful to the health of society, you are indeed a right fit to be an epidemiologist.
Aspirants should not be hesitant about fieldwork. Fieldwork is of much importance here. It involves exposure to sun, heat, dust, and varieties of microorganisms that can be lethal. Not everyone is willing to go through these challenges to make a living. Adventures are indeed a major part of this work. The current pandemic has set a major example of what it takes to be an epidemiologist and its value in society. Prevention is always better than cure, and that is what epidemiology is based on.