15 Different Types of Epidemiologists – Salaries and Job Outlook
Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Have you considered a career where you can promote health and wellness but do not want to go to nursing or medical school? Perhaps a job conducting research that influences healthcare and promotes positive patient outcomes interests you. If so, a career in epidemiology could be a perfect fit. In this article, you will find information about 15 different types of epidemiologists, what their jobs entail, where they work, and the type of income they earn. When you finish reading this article, you will be able to answer the questions “How many different types of epidemiologists are there?” and “What are the different types of epidemiologists?” and have information to help guide you if you choose to pursue a career in epidemiology.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EPIDEMIOLOGISTS?
(Below, you will find detailed information about all the 15 Different Types of Epidemiologists.)
1. Applied EpidemiologistDo you have an interest in how health-related states or events impact the health of populations? Does the idea of using research findings to promote health and wellness on individual and societal levels sound like something you would like to do? If so, a career in applied epidemiology may be a good fit for you. As its name suggests, applied epidemiology is a branch of epidemiology that takes the results of epidemiologic studies and research and implements those findings to develop plans that promote health and wellness and prevent the spread of illness and disease.
What Does an Applied Epidemiologist Do:
An applied epidemiologist is the type of epidemiologist whose practice is focused on developing policies and health reform measures. They use surveillance and epidemiologic findings and specialize in statistics, data analysis, research, and community engagement. Applied epidemiologists look for indicators to help them identify and track diseases as they move through populations. Their research is used to develop interventions to decrease the occurrence and spread of disease. They communicate data and information to healthcare professionals and the public, evaluate public health services and healthcare, and use evidence-based methods to create effective health policies.
Where Do Applied Epidemiologists Work:
In most cases, applied epidemiologists work in government-type settings such as local, state, territorial, and tribal agencies. They may also work in positions at nonprofit organizations, global health organizations, hospital or healthcare systems, academia, and the pharmaceutical industry.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become an Applied Epidemiologist:
Applied epidemiologists should have a minimum master’s degree. However, if you are interested in the possibility of directing clinical research projects or earning a supervisory position in field-related work, a Ph.D. will make this more easily attainable.
The CDC offers some programs available to epidemiology students or epidemiology graduates. One of the CDC's programs, the CDC Experience Applied Epidemiology Fellowship
, is tailored specifically for individuals who wish to focus on applied epidemiology. The program is a one-year training program for students in their third or fourth year of medical school. Fellows of the program are mentored by epidemiologists on staff at the Centers for Disease Control headquarters located in Atlanta, Georgia.
What is the Job Outlook for an Applied Epidemiologist:
Applied epidemiologists play a vital role in researching and developing clinical studies related to urgent public health matters. Their expertise is the foundation upon which other different types of epidemiologists create and implement plans for public welfare. Their contributions to epidemiology make the job outlook for applied epidemiologists quite favorable.
What is the Average Salary of an Applied Epidemiologist:
The average annual income for an applied epidemiologist is $86,532. This salary equals $41.60 hourly, almost six times the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
| Monthly|| $7,210|
| Annual|| $86,532|
2. Chronic Disease EpidemiologistThe CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease and Health Promotion reports that six out of every ten adults in the United States have been diagnosed with at least one chronic disease. Some of the most common chronic diseases are heart disease, cancer, lung disease, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes. One type of epidemiologist, chronic disease epidemiologist, specializes in finding the cause of these diseases and strives to promote population health by finding ways to reduce or prevent the occurrence of diseases.
What Does a Chronic Disease Epidemiologist Do:
Chronic disease epidemiologists study infectious diseases that are chronic in nature. The objective of their studies is to determine the root cause of chronic disease, its effect on public health, and current trends. Chronic disease epidemiologists collect data related to public health and develop and implement surveillance and evaluation plans to help predict and prevent the increased occurrence of these diseases.
Where Do Chronic Disease Epidemiologists Work:
Chronic disease epidemiologists spend a lot of time in research laboratories testing samples or analyzing test results from various studies. Their research findings are instrumental in finding solutions, cures, and methods of preventing the spread of chronic diseases.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Chronic Disease Epidemiologist:
It is preferable that anyone pursuing a career as a chronic disease epidemiologist have at least a master's degree. Some colleges and universities offer a Master of Public Health program with the option to specialize in epidemiology, while others have concentration-specific programs. For example, Yale University offers a Master of Science in Chronic Disease Epidemiology
, an excellent opportunity for those considering this career path.
What is the Job Outlook for a Chronic Disease Epidemiologist:
Chronic diseases can be devasting to individuals, groups, and the general population. Chronic disease epidemiologists strive to find ways to prevent or, at minimum, reduce the occurrence of these diseases. Further, with the growth of medical research and biotechnology in the medical field and pharmaceutical industry, the demand for educated, well-equipped chronic disease specialists continues to rise, which suggests the job outlook for chronic disease epidemiologists will remain favorable.
What is the Average Salary of a Chronic Disease Epidemiologist:
Chronic disease epidemiologists are among the top money earners in the field of epidemiology. Current trends suggest they earn an hourly salary of $43.73, which is $90,960 yearly.
| Monthly|| $7,580|
| Annual|| $90,960|
3. Clinical Epidemiologist Do you enjoy studying patterns and exploring why things happen? Are you considering a healthcare career but not sure which one is best? Perhaps clinical epidemiology is a field that would interest you. Clinical epidemiology is the study of causes, patterns, and effects of health and illness or disease in populations and it involves studying the relationships (patterns) between exposure to illness or treatments and health outcomes.
What Does a Clinical Epidemiologist Do:
A clinical epidemiologist is a type of epidemiologist who studies diseases and how they are transmitted. These professionals use research to improve clinical and patient-oriented healthcare to improve patient outcomes and prevent the spread of disease.
Typical job duties for clinical epidemiologists include the following:
◦ Gather research data
Where Do Clinical Epidemiologists Work:
◦ Oversee research on diseases and disease outbreaks
◦ Consult with healthcare providers about measures to control or prevent the spread of disease
◦ Evaluate the effectiveness of medications and their impact on safe disease prevention
Clinical epidemiologists work in various settings, including laboratories, medical research offices, and in the field. They may work in academia or government agencies addressing matters of public health.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Clinical Epidemiologist:
Successful candidates who wish to become clinical epidemiologists should pursue a master's degree in public health with an epidemiology concentration. Some colleges, like Kent State Online, offer a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology
What is the Job Outlook for a Clinical Epidemiologist:
Clinical epidemiologists are an essential part of the field of epidemiology. Their studies on disease patterns and patient responses to treatments are crucial to population health and wellness. The nature of their work and the impact that their research has on population health is a strong indication that career options for this type of epidemiologist will remain high.
What is the Average Salary of a Clinical Epidemiologist:
Clinical epidemiologists earn a little more than $81,000 yearly, an average of $39.08 hourly or $6,770 monthly.
| Monthly|| $6,770|
| Annual|| $81,293|
4. Disaster Epidemiologist Disaster epidemiology is used to assess both the short-term and long-term adverse effects of disasters. This field of epidemiology offers situational awareness by providing information to help healthcare providers, public health workers, and the population understand the needs that may occur due to a disaster and learn how to respond to those needs.
What Does a Disaster Epidemiologist Do:
A disaster epidemiologist is the type of epidemiologist who uses information about potential adverse effects caused by disasters to develop and implement an emergency response should a disaster occur. They assess the potential needs of the population, plan responses and gather resources necessary to carry out disaster responses. Disaster epidemiologists also oversee recovery efforts and use data to predict the potential consequences of future disasters.
The work objectives of disaster epidemiologists are to prevent or reduce illnesses, injuries, and the number of deaths caused by disasters, provide accurate information for those responsible for making decisions in a disaster and improve mitigation strategies related to potential future disasters by gathering information and preparing for response to future disasters. Additionally, disaster epidemiologists provide relief workers with situational awareness to help increase their ability to respond to emergencies effectively.
Disaster epidemiologists use epidemiologic methods, including surveillance, to identify diseases and injuries resulting from a disaster.
Where Do Disaster Epidemiologists Work:
Disaster epidemiologists may work in various settings focused on public health matters. For example, ZipRecruiter lists over seventy jobs in the disaster epidemiology search, including positions including Associate Campus Surveillance Coordinator
, COVID-19 Epidemiologist/Researcher, and Preparedness and Surge Epidemiology Manager
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Disaster Epidemiologist:
Like most of the different types of epidemiologists, disaster epidemiologists are encouraged to have a minimum master’s degree. Saint Louis University offers a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness
. Students have the option of adding six additional credits of coursework to earn a dual degree in Biosecurity/Disaster Preparedness and Epidemiology or Global Health.
If you are interested in disaster epidemiology but not ready to commit to the Master of Public Health: Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness, the university also offers a 15-credit hour certificate program that prepares students with the foundation of the MPH degree. Those credits can later be applied to the Master of Public Health Degree.
What is the Job Outlook for a Disaster Epidemiologist:
Disaster management typically includes three phases: the pre-disaster period, disaster period, and post-disaster period. While some disasters, such as natural or weather-related disasters, may be predictable, others are not. The unpredictability of disasters means there will always be a need for qualified people to assess current disasters and research and plan for potential ones, making the job outlook for disaster epidemiologists positive.
What is the Average Salary of a Disaster Epidemiologist:
As a disaster epidemiologist, you can expect to earn around $34 per hour or close to $71,000 annually.
| Monthly|| $5,910|
5. Environmental EpidemiologistHave you ever wondered how the air you breathe, the water you drink, or where you live may impact your health? Genetic predisposition and lifestyle habits influence our health and wellness, but other factors do as well. Many acute and chronic diseases are of unknown origin but are believed to be related to environmental factors. Environmental epidemiology is an epidemiology concentration that focuses on how environmental factors affect individual and population health.
What Does an Environmental Epidemiologist Do:
Environmental epidemiology encompasses a broad range of studies. Environmental epidemiologists study chemical, physical, and biological environmental factors known, or believed to be, the cause of illness and disease. This specialized type of epidemiologist works to understand how environmental factors contribute to individual and population health. They use statistical analysis, interviews, and surveys to conduct research focused on finding the link between the environment and illness or disease. Environmental epidemiologists work to understand the relationship between human and ecological health and how those relationships affect the general well-being of individuals and populations. In some cases, their work may focus on long-term challenges such as energy conservation or protecting natural resources. On the other hand, environmental epidemiologists may work to address short-term issues such as natural disasters.
Where Do Environmental Epidemiologists Work:
Many environmental epidemiologists work in medical offices, research laboratories, or in the field, gathering data and samples. Some environmental epidemiologists work in pharmaceutical companies, colleges, or universities, local, state, federal government agencies, and consulting firms. Depending on the setting and specific role of the environmental epidemiologist's job, they may travel to different locations to conduct research or participate in community outreach and education.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become an Environmental Epidemiologist:
Many people interested in becoming environmental epidemiologists begin their careers by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in a major such as chemistry, biology, public health, or environmental science. Each of these majors provides exposure to the knowledge of statistics, fundamentals of scientific theory, and a background in field and laboratory research which are integral parts of the environmental epidemiology profession.
Typically, environmental epidemiologists work in either research-based or applied work settings. Those who wish to work in government positions are often encouraged to pursue a Master of Public Health. Research positions may require a Ph.D. If you are considering a career as an environmental epidemiologist, be sure to look for programs accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council
(EAHC). For example, the University of Michigan offers both Master of Public Health and Doctor of Philosophy Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology
programs accredited by the EHAC.
What is the Job Outlook for an Environmental Epidemiologist:
Environmental epidemiology is considered one of the most essential tools used to make decisions and promote policies related to the relationship between the environment and the occurrence of illness and disease. There continues to be a growing public interest in environmental hazards and an increased demand on the environment caused by population growth. These factors mean there is a greater need for qualified epidemiologists who understand the importance of the environment and its impact on present and future generations making the job outlook for this type of epidemiologist quite favorable.
What is the Average Salary of an Environmental Epidemiologist:
The average salary of an environmental epidemiologist is $70,861 yearly or $5,910 monthly. Factors such as years of experience, education level, geographic location, and job title and responsibilities can influence one’s salary.
| Monthly|| $5,910|
6. Field Epidemiologist Do you have an investigative mind and work well under pressure or in urgent situations? Are you a critical thinker and problem solver? If so, you could be an asset in the field of epidemiology as a field epidemiologist.
What Does a Field Epidemiologist Do:
Although all types of epidemiologists may work in field settings, the context by which job duties are defined is what differentiates a field epidemiologist from epidemiologists in other specialties. Field epidemiologists work in response to urgent, often unexpected public health issues. The primary goal of this specialty is to guide the selection and implementation of interventions to decrease or prevent illness and death when public health emergencies arise.
Where Do Field Epidemiologists Work:
Field epidemiologists work in what many call "ground-level" settings. They are present and actively working in communities where severe public health crises have occurred. Because they respond to unexpected health emergencies, field epidemiologists are often required to travel to affected areas quickly to provide an adequate, time-sensitive response.
Field epidemiologists may work for global health organizations, such as the World Health Organization, or government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Field Epidemiologist:
A master’s degree in public health is required to become a field epidemiologist. George Washington University
offers a twelve-month online Master of Public Health program. The program is offered through the #12-ranked Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University. Capella University
offers Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees in Public Health and options to earn a Public Health Certification.
What is the Job Outlook for a Field Epidemiologist:
Among the different types of epidemiologists, field epidemiologists have great potential for long-term career opportunities. Although there are many types of epidemiology specialties, the research that field epidemiologists conduct impacts all other concentrations, suggesting a positive job outlook.
What is the Average Salary of a Field Epidemiologist:
Field epidemiologists earn an average annual salary of $66,289. Although this type of epidemiologist does not rank as one of the highest income earners, they still make more than four times the national minimum wage average.
| Monthly|| $5,520|
7. Genetic EpidemiologistAlthough the study of epidemiology has been around a while, genetic epidemiology is a relatively new branch of epidemiology. If you are interested in how environmental factors and a person's genetic make-up contribute to illness or disease, genetic epidemiology could be an excellent career choice.
What Does a Genetic Epidemiologist Do:
Genetic epidemiology is an interdisciplinary field that includes education in genetics, biostatistics, and epidemiology. Genetic epidemiologists study how environmental factors and genes interact with one another and influence health and disease within human populations. Their job stresses the importance of designing studies and implementing analytical techniques to detect and describe the role of genes in human disease. The study of genetic epidemiology aims to use statistical and quantitative analysis to determine how genetics affect groups of people and influence the development of disease.
Where Do Genetic Epidemiologists Work:
Genetic epidemiologists may work in offices or laboratories conducting research. Others work in academia as instructors preparing others who want to pursue a career in epidemiology.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Genetic Epidemiologist:
Like most types of epidemiologists, genetic epidemiologists should have at least a Master of Science degree in epidemiology, biostatistics, or another related field. Depending on the genetic epidemiologist's position and their work setting, a doctorate may be required. The University of Washington School of Public Health offers a Master of Science in Genetic Epidemiology
. Michigan State University offers an undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
and master's and Doctorate programs through the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
What is the Job Outlook for a Genetic Epidemiologist:
Despite the strides made in genetic research thanks to studies like the Human Genome Project, the Department of Energy's Human Genome Program, and the National Institute of Health's National Human Genome Research programs, there is still much to learn about the relationship between genetics and disease. Continued genetic research will impact the ability of epidemiologists and other healthcare professionals to assess risks associated with genetics and disease. The medical industry continues to use the resources, knowledge, and technologies from studies to further understand the ways genetics contribute to human health, making continued job availability very promising.
What is the Average Salary of a Genetic Epidemiologist:
Genetic epidemiologists are mid-level earners when it comes to epidemiology specialties. The average annual salary of this type of epidemiologist is $71,633.
| Monthly|| $5,970|
| Annual||$71,633 |
8. Infectious Disease EpidemiologistHave you ever wondered what causes infectious diseases and how they affect populations? Did you know that infectious diseases are one of the major causes of death throughout human history? Infectious diseases differ from non-infectious diseases regarding the mechanisms by which pathogens are transmitted and the populations are affected. If you have an interest in how infectious diseases affect population health, considering a career as an infectious disease epidemiologist could be an excellent option for you.
What Does an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist Do:
Infectious disease epidemiology is focused on the research and prevention of widespread illnesses and diseases. Infectious disease epidemiologists use their understanding of illnesses to study their short- and long-term effects on the human body. They specialize in using research and professional insight into illness and disease to develop a strong foundation for developing preventive programs and treatment methods. This type of epidemiologist uses unique methodologies to detect infectious pathogens, understand pathogenesis, and determine disease causality. They study the history of infections and develop interventions to help prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases.
Where Do Infectious Disease Epidemiologists Work:
Like most types of epidemiologists, infectious disease epidemiologists may work in the field and/or in laboratory settings. As part of their fieldwork, infectious disease epidemiologists may be sent to areas where an outbreak of an illness or disease first occurred to try and determine its source or cause.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist:
At a minimum, most employers prefer an infectious disease epidemiologist to possess a Bachelor of Science degree. However, to hold higher-level jobs or work in public health settings, a master’s or doctorate is the preferred degree. Many infectious disease epidemiologists begin their academic studies in nursing, medicine, or other healthcare-related fields.
What is the Job Outlook for an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist:
The transmission of infectious diseases is a worldwide health issue. Unfortunately, all disease-causing agents can experience changes in their chemical make-up, making it crucial to have professionals who can study these changes and implement measures to control or stop their spread. Because infectious diseases are so prevalent, the job outlook for infectious disease epidemiologists is expected to remain constant.
What is the Average Salary of an Infectious Disease Epidemiologist:
Among the different types of epidemiologists, infectious disease epidemiologists are the top money earners. Current data indicates they earn $113,482 yearly, which equals approximately $54.56 hourly.
| Monthly|| $9,460|
9. Injury Epidemiologist How many times have you been injured, whether minor or severe? Do you have children or elderly family members who seem to be accident-prone? Would you be surprised to know there is a type of epidemiologist whose career is devoted to studying and preventing injuries?
What Does an Injury Epidemiologist Do:
Injury epidemiologists study the character and occurrence of injuries. They work to identify risk factors for experiencing injuries and identify and implement measures to decrease the number of injuries people experience. A few areas of research and study injury epidemiologists focus on are occupational and workplace injuries, occupational health and safety assessments, sports injury research, and traffic safety research. Injury epidemiologists design and maintain injury surveillance systems and data systems to analyze the trends of injuries in specific environments.
Where Do Injury Epidemiologists Work:
Injury epidemiologists work in occupational health and injury surveillance units, community health epidemiology centers, and centers for injury and violence. Their work responsibilities vary, depending on the setting where they are employed, but the focus is always to study trends in injuries and develop methods to prevent them.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become an Injury Epidemiologist:
Although some injury epidemiologists earn a bachelor's degree and move into this career path, at least sixty-five percent hold master’s degrees. They may have degrees in public health, health education, or exercise physiology, to name a few. Georgetown University
offers a Master of Science in Epidemiology program, and students may elect to take coursework related explicitly to the study of injury epidemiology.
What is the Job Outlook for an Injury Epidemiologist:
In the United States, over three million non-fatal injuries and more than 150,000 deaths occur due to injury each year. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than five million deaths occur because of some type of injury. Injury epidemiologists play a vital role in recognizing and helping to mitigate risk factors to decrease these numbers, which indicates the need for this type of epidemiologist will remain steady, offering a positive job outlook.
What is the Average Salary of an Injury Epidemiologist:
Injury epidemiologists are among the top five income earners in the field of epidemiology. Their average income is $43.17 hourly, equivalent to $89,790 annually.
| Monthly|| $7,480|
10. Molecular EpidemiologistThe field of molecular epidemiology combines epidemiology and molecular biology to offer focused study on the complex relationship between cells, genes, and proteins.
What Does a Molecular Epidemiologist Do:
Molecular epidemiologists use the study of molecular biology and epidemiology to find the root cause of illnesses and diseases and risk factors. They then develop strategies to prevent the transmission of illness and disease.
Where Do Molecular Epidemiologists Work:
Molecular epidemiologists often work in biotechnology settings, pharmaceuticals, or government settings. Much of the work performed by this type of epidemiologist is conducted in research laboratories.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Molecular Epidemiologist:
Having an epidemiological mindset is vital for anyone who hopes to pursue a career in epidemiology. Molecular epidemiologists must be able to look beyond a person's whole and discover how the smallest molecules and genes contribute to illness and disease. There are several options for pursuing a molecular epidemiology career. For instance, Columbia University offers a Certificate in Advanced Epidemiology
What is the Job Outlook for a Molecular Epidemiologist:
The United States is currently experiencing increased growth in healthcare industry careers, including epidemiology. With improvements in information technology and greater awareness of how even the smallest molecules and genes impact health, the job outlook for molecular epidemiologists is expected to maintain steady growth.
What is the Average Salary of a Molecular Epidemiologist:
Molecular epidemiologists continue to experience average annual incomes of $81,235. This yearly salary equals $6,770 monthly or $39.06 hourly, ranking it in the top ten epidemiology careers as far as income is concerned.
| Monthly|| $6,770|
| Annual|| $81,235|
11. Nutritional EpidemiologistMost of us have heard the saying, "You are what you eat," at some point in our lives. Although many people believe that, not everyone can explain why the saying is true. If you are interested in how diet and nutrition impact health, the study of nutritional epidemiology could be worth considering.
What Does a Nutritional Epidemiologist Do:
Nutritional epidemiologists study how dietary and dietary factors related to the occurrence of disease on population health. This specialized type of epidemiologist uses knowledge of nutritional science to understand human nutrition and explain the fundamental underlying contributions that nutrition has on overall health and wellness. Nutritional epidemiologists use nutritional science to develop nutritional epidemiology studies and interventions.
Where Do Nutritional Epidemiologists Work:
Nutritional epidemiologists work in positions in a wide variety of settings ranging from local, state, and federal nutrition and healthcare agencies and federal and national public health departments. Some may work in nonprofit or charitable organizations, the healthcare industry, or the food production industry. Like other different types of epidemiologists, nutritional epidemiologists may work in laboratories and perform studies to discover the link between nutrition and disease.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Nutritional Epidemiologist:
The required education to become a nutritional epidemiologist varies, depending on the work setting. At a minimum, anyone considering becoming a nutritional epidemiologist is encouraged to earn a Master of Science degree in a field such as nutrition, nutrition data science, nutritional sciences, or nutrition interventions. Harvard University offers a Master of Public Health
with Nutrition specialty and a Ph.D. in Population Health Sciences
with concentration options including nutritional epidemiology and public health nutrition.
What is the Job Outlook for a Nutritional Epidemiologist:
Although nutritional epidemiology is one of the newer fields in medical research, it continues to grow. The growth of this type of epidemiology can be attributed to the relevance of nutrition to present-day health issues. Findings from nutritional epidemiological studies are used to guide the development of dietary recommendations focused on preventing certain conditions such as cancer and other diseases.
What is the Average Salary of a Nutritional Epidemiologist:
Nutritional epidemiologists earn approximately $36 per hour, an average of $6,240 monthly or $74,880 annually.
| Monthly|| $6,240|
| Annual|| $74,880|
12. Pharmaceutical EpidemiologistHave you considered a career in the pharmaceutical industry but been undecided about which career path to take? Maybe medicine interests you, but research does, too. If so, pharmaceutical epidemiology is a branch of epidemiology you may find rewarding.
What Does a Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist Do:
A pharmaceutical epidemiologist helps promote public health by addressing specific disease trends within communities. Pharmaceutical epidemiologist is the type of epidemiologist who conducts research on the effects of pharmaceuticals on human health and wellness. Pharmaceutical epidemiologists use clinical studies and research to examine how social trends may cause diseases to spread or cause an increased risk of worsening health conditions in the population. Although substance abuse is not a contagious disease, the pattern of substance abuse can follow the same patterns as other diseases. Pharmaceutical epidemiologists track trends to predict outcomes of illness, disease, and non-communicable health issues.
Where Do Pharmaceutical Epidemiologists Work:
Pharmaceutical epidemiologists spend a great deal of their time working in laboratories examining chemical responses of tissue samples. They gather data in the field and study social trends that lead to an increase and spread of substance abuse among various populations.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist:
Pharmaceutical epidemiologists, like other types of epidemiologists, should have at least a master’s degree. However, many people in this specialty field of epidemiology hold doctorate degrees. Although they are not required, pre-medical courses are appropriate for students who wish to pursue this career. If pharmaceutical epidemiology interests you, a graduate degree in epidemiology with a pharmaceutical specialization is an excellent academic path to choose.
What is the Job Outlook for a Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist:
Job opportunities for individuals who pursue pharmaceutical epidemiology as a career continue to rise. Some suggest the increase in jobs for this division of epidemiology can be linked to public awareness regarding matters of health, illness, and disease. A combination of public awareness and improved technology which enables in-depth studies do indicate the job outlook for pharmaceutical epidemiologists is promising.
What is the Average Salary of a Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist:
Pharmaceutical epidemiologists are currently ranked as the #2 income earner among the different types of epidemiologists, earning approximately $94,218 annually.
| Annual|| $94,318|
13. Psychiatric EpidemiologistAre you fascinated with the way the human mind works? Have you considered a career that deals with mental or psychiatric issues, but you don’t know where to begin? Did you know that mental and behavioral health disorders are among the leading causes of disability worldwide? There is a branch of epidemiology that is dedicated to understanding the relationship between mental health and physical health, and if these topics interest you, it could be a great option for your career.
What Does a Psychiatric Epidemiologist Do:
Psychiatric epidemiologists use biostatistical and epidemiologic tools to develop an understanding of the occurrence and spread of mental and behavioral health disorders. They investigate the cause and consequences these disorders have on people from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. A psychiatric epidemiologist then takes the data they collect and works to develop effective strategies to treat or prevent mental health disorders and promote effective mental health.
Where Do Psychiatric Epidemiologists Work:
Psychiatric epidemiologists work in a variety of settings. The most common positions filled by psychiatric epidemiologists involve academia and research. Individuals who choose a career as this type of epidemiologist may work in behavioral research hospitals or inpatient psychiatric facilities where they observe clients with psychiatric diagnoses and conduct research to help promote a better understanding of psychiatric illness and mental health.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Psychiatric Epidemiologist:
Because their work typically involves education and instruction at college or university levels and in research, most psychiatric epidemiologists must earn at least a Master of Science degree with a concentration in psychiatry and/or epidemiology with a subspecialty in behavioral science. The Bloomberg School of Public Health at The Johns Hopkins University offers a Master of Public Health degree with the option for a Psychiatric Epidemiology concentration that is an excellent option for anyone considering this career path.
What is the Job Outlook for a Psychiatric Epidemiologist:
Behavioral and mental health disorders are one of the major contributing factors to disability worldwide. With increased awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness, it seems natural to anticipate a steady increase in the need for this type of epidemiologist.
What is the Average Salary of a Psychiatric Epidemiologist:
The United States Census Bureau reports the average individual income for people in the United States is $33,140. Psychiatric epidemiologists earn approximately $70,862 annually, almost twice the average individual income of other income earners in the U.S.
| Annual|| $70,862|
14. Social EpidemiologistHave you ever considered there may be a relationship between societal advantages and disadvantages and the occurrence of illness or disease? If so, what effect could social factors have on the health of individuals and populations? If you have ever asked yourself these questions, you may find that a career as a social epidemiologist interests you.
What Does a Social Epidemiologist Do:
Social Epidemiologists study how social factors or characteristics contribute to and affect patterns of health and disease over time. This type of epidemiologist examines issues such as social relationships, social inequality, social capital, and the effects of work stress on individual and population health.
Where Do Social Epidemiologists Work:
Social epidemiologists collaborate with multi- and interdisciplinary teams of researchers on local and global levels. Some social epidemiologists work in field positions observing populations and gathering data to determine which social factors may influence physical health and wellness.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Social Epidemiologist:
Most social epidemiologists complete programs in public health with heavy course loads, including Interventional Epidemiology, Health Disparities, Socioeconomics in Health and Disease, and Minority Health. Although graduate degrees are common among this type of epidemiologist, there are other options. For example, the University of Michigan offers a Certificate in Social Epidemiology. Students must complete twelve credit hours, including the following classes: Principles of Epidemiology for Public Health, Social and Economic Determinants of Population Health, and Epidemiology of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders.
What is the Job Outlook for a Social Epidemiologist:
As long as there is any number of people making up any population, there will be social determinants that influence aspects of life, including health and wellness. Because social epidemiologists work to find the link between social factors, illness, and disease, there is a strong likelihood for this type of epidemiologist to have a good job outlook.
What is the Average Salary of a Social Epidemiologist:
Social epidemiologists can generally expect to earn an average annual salary of $67,782. Although this income is ranked on the lower end of the income spectrum for all types of epidemiologists, it is still almost twice the average income for individuals in the U.S.
| Monthly|| $5,650|
| Annual|| $67,782|
15. Veterinary Epidemiologist Are you someone who likes to get information and come up with solutions to problems? Do you have an interest in animals or nature? Has it crossed your mind that there may be a connection between animal populations and human illness or disease? You may be surprised to know there is a type of epidemiologist who combines these strengths to respond and prevent disease outbreaks in the animal population, which could potentially affect the human population.
What Does a Veterinary Epidemiologist Do:
Veterinary epidemiologists, another type of epidemiologists, study the patterns of disease and their spread among animal species. They use the principles of field epidemiology and best practice measures to implement and analyze measures for disease control in animal populations. This type of epidemiologist recognizes diseases in one species often affect other species, and they understand there is an overlap between animal and human health. The focus of practice for veterinary epidemiologists is on disease surveillance, response, and prevention by collecting and analyzing data to understand and prevent the risk of widespread illness.
Where Do Veterinary Epidemiologists Work:
Veterinary epidemiologists often work in positions that require them to promote safe food supplies for humans by monitoring and preventing the spread of illness among farm livestock.
What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Veterinary Epidemiologist:
The minimum educational requirement to become a veterinary epidemiologist is to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. After graduating with a DVM and passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam, a candidate can pursue board certification as a veterinary epidemiologist. Candidates may choose between a traditional board certification or a training program through the Food and Drug Administration. They possess both a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and a master's in public health or a similar field.
What is the Job Outlook for a Veterinary Epidemiologist:
Although the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics does not list projections for veterinary epidemiologists as a separate specialty, it does project the veterinary profession will experience a growth of up to thirty-five percent by 2028. There are approximately 5,100 people practicing as epidemiologists in the United States, 75 are veterinary epidemiologists. As medical research grows and links between environmental, animal, and human health are explored and better understood, the need for qualified veterinary epidemiologists is expected to increase, contributing to a positive job outlook for those who choose this profession.
What is the Average Salary of a Veterinary Epidemiologist:
Veterinary epidemiologists are still one of the lesser-known types of epidemiologists. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge their contribution to the health and wellness of all species. They earn an average yearly income of $62,801.
| Monthly|| $5,230|
| Annual|| $62,801|
Key Factors to Consider While Deciding What Type of Epidemiologist You Should Be
Now that you have learned about all the different types of epidemiologists, if you still feel an epidemiology career is in your future, it is time to decide which specialty you prefer. As you consider an epidemiology career, there are several factors you can consider to help you decide. Consider your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and personality. Remember, everyone is different, and there are plenty of epidemiology specialties. So, take your time and pick the one that best fits your goals. Let's look at a few key factors to consider as you choose an epidemiology specialty.
1. What type of work setting do you prefer?
There are as many diverse work settings as there are types of epidemiologists. If you want to work in a laboratory and conduct research, becoming a molecular epidemiologist or genetic epidemiologist may be a good option for you. On the other hand, if you are interested in examining the way social factors or psychological factors affect health, the role of a social epidemiologist or psychiatric epidemiologist is an excellent option to consider.
2. Do you enjoy working independently, or would you rather work together with a team?
While all epidemiologists work together for the common good of diverse populations, different types of epidemiologists have varying degrees of autonomy in practice. For example, field epidemiologists and environmental epidemiologists may work as part of a collaborative team of public health professionals who literally work "in the field," collecting data and specimens to study. Pharmaceutical and molecular epidemiologists may have a more independent role in conducting research in a lab.
3. Do you like medical research and have an interest in how genes and molecules are affected by illness or disease?
If that sounds like you, genetic or molecular epidemiology could be a good fit for you.
4. Does working in a fast-paced, challenging environment keep you going?
If so, disaster epidemiology could be an excellent choice for you. Disaster epidemiologists work to predict the potential for natural and man-made disasters and work on the ground when disasters occur to try and combat the effects disasters may cause.
5. How much time do you want to spend on your education?
Although a master's or doctoral degree is often the preferred degree for most epidemiology careers, there are options, such as Certificate programs in specific subspecialties. If you want to become an epidemiologist but are limited on the amount of time, you can commit to studies at this time, research the different types of epidemiologists and consider enrolling in a certificate program in your preferred specialty to get you started.
Summing It Up
In this article, we have answered questions like, "How many different types of epidemiologists are there?” and “What are the different types of epidemiologists?” The field of epidemiology offers many career paths like the 15 different types of epidemiologists shared in this article. With colleges and universities offering graduate and certificate programs for those interested in an epidemiology career, the possibilities are limitless.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED
1. What Are the Most Common Types of Epidemiologists?
There are many different types of epidemiologists and sub-specialties for almost anyone interested in the field. Some of the most common types of epidemiologists are Social, Infection Disease, Clinical, Nutritional, and Environmental epidemiologists.
| S. No.|| Type of Epidemiologist|
| 1|| Social Epidemiologist|
| 2|| Infectious Disease Epidemiologist|
| 3|| Environmental Epidemiologist|
| 4|| Clinical Epidemiologist|
| 5|| Nutritional Epidemiologist|
2. What Are the Least Common Types of Epidemiologists?
Although some types of epidemiologists are less common than others, that does not mean they are any less essential. In most cases, the lesser-known types of epidemiology are relatively new to the field. Some of the least common include Pharmaceutical, Disaster, and Injury epidemiologists.
| S. No.|| Type of Epidemiologist|
| 1||Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist|
| 2||Disaster Epidemiologist|
| 3||Injury Epidemiologist|
3. What Types of Epidemiologists Get Paid the Most?
The highest-paid epidemiologists include those who specialize in applied, injury, chronic disease, pharmaceutical, and infectious disease epidemiology. These epidemiologists earn wages between $86,532 and $113,482 annually.
| Rank|| Type of Epidemiologist|| Hourly|| Annual|
| 1|| Infectious Disease Epidemiologist|| $54.56|| $113,482|
| 2|| Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist|| $45.35|| $94,318|
| 3|| Chronic Disease Epidemiologist|| $43.73|| $90,960|
| 4|| Injury Epidemiologist|| $43.17|| $89,790|
| 5|| Applied Epidemiologist|| $41.60|| $86,532|
4. What Types of Epidemiologists Get Paid the Least?
Even the lowest-paid epidemiologists make an average of $30.19 to $34.07 hourly, a yearly salary between $62,801 and $70,862. The type of epidemiologists who make the five lowest incomes include psychiatric, environmental, social, field, and veterinary epidemiologists.
| Rank|| Type of Epidemiologist|| Hourly|| Annual|
| 1|| Veterinary Epidemiologist|| $30.19|| $62,801|
| 2|| Field Epidemiologist|| $31.87|| $66,289|
| 3|| Social Epidemiologist|| $32.59|| $67,782|
| 4|| Environmental Epidemiologist|| $34.07|| $70,861|
| 5|| Psychiatric Epidemiologist|| $34.07|| $70,862|
5. What Types of Epidemiologists Are in High-Demand?
Because of the prevalence of illness and disease, there is a great need for many different types of epidemiologists. The types of epidemiologists in highest demand are Applied, Environmental, and Academic Research Epidemiologists.
6. What Types of Epidemiologists Are in Least-Demand?
Although all types of epidemiologists play an essential role in promoting health and wellness, some specialties are not in high demand. Veterinary epidemiologists and psychiatric epidemiologists are among the least in-demand epidemiology specialties.
7. What Type of Epidemiologists Have the Least Stressful Work Environment?
Epidemiology requires extreme focus and attention to detail, which can feel overwhelming or stressful at times. Of the different types of epidemiologists, veterinary epidemiologists seem to have the least stressful work environments. It could be arguable that the focus of veterinary epidemiology limits the one on one contact with other people and relies much on animal research that makes the environment less stressful.
8. What Type of Epidemiologists Have the Most Stressful Work Environment?
Disaster epidemiologists are believed to have the most stressful work environment. This is primarily due to the need for this type of epidemiologist to study the cause of disasters, often in places where they occur, and the expectation that they should find effective ways of predicting potential future disasters. Those who choose to work in disaster epidemiology must learn that their job is research and planning and that, even with the best efforts, it is not possible to predict every disaster, natural or man-made.
Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.