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Career profile Epidemiologist

Also known as Chronic Disease Epidemiologist, Communicable Disease Specialist, Environmental Epidemiologist, Epidemiologist, Epidemiology Investigator, Infection Control Practitioner (ICP), Nurse Epidemiologist, Public Health Epidemiologist, Research Epidemiologist, State Epidemiologist


Also known as Chronic Disease Epidemiologist, Communicable Disease Specialist, Environmental Epidemiologist

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Social
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$49,140 - $126,040 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Science
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Biology
Core 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.
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What does an Epidemiologist do?

Epidemiologists investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, or health outcomes.

In addition, Epidemiologists may develop the means for prevention and control.

What kind of tasks does an Epidemiologist perform regularly?

Epidemiologists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following 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.
  • Conduct research to develop methodologies, instrumentation, and procedures for medical application, analyzing data and presenting findings to the scientific audience and general public.
  • Identify and analyze public health issues related to foodborne parasitic diseases and their impact on public policies, scientific studies, or surveys.
  • Supervise professional, technical, and clerical personnel.

The above responsibilities are specific to Epidemiologists. More generally, Epidemiologists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is an Epidemiologist salary?

The median salary for an Epidemiologist is $74,560, and the average salary is $83,620. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Epidemiologist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Epidemiologists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Epidemiologists earn less than $49,140 per year, 25% earn less than $59,380, 75% earn less than $97,270, and 90% earn less than $126,040.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Epidemiologists is expected to change by 30.8%, and there should be roughly 900 open positions for Epidemiologists every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$49,140 - $126,040
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Epidemiologists?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Epidemiologist are usually higher in their Investigative and Social interests.

Epidemiologists typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Epidemiologists typically have moderate Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Epidemiologist tend to value Achievement, Recognition, and Independence.

Most importantly, Epidemiologists strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Epidemiologists strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Lastly, Epidemiologists strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Epidemiologists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as analytical thinking, integrity, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Epidemiologists, ranked by importance:

Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

What education and training do Epidemiologists need?

Many Epidemiologists have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Epidemiologists may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Epidemiologists

  • 0.8% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 0.4% completed high school or secondary school
  • 0.6% completed some college coursework
  • 0.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 23.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 25.3% earned a Master's degree
  • 49.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Epidemiologists

Epidemiologists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mathematics, medicine and dentistry, or biology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Epidemiologists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

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.
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.
Sociology and Anthropology
Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.

Important Abilities needed by Epidemiologists

Epidemiologists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Epidemiologists need abilities such as problem sensitivity, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Epidemiologists, ranked by their relative importance.

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Critical Skills needed by Epidemiologists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Epidemiologists frequently use skills like science, reading comprehension, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Epidemiologists, ranked by their relative importance.

Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Learning
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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