An epidemiologist is a medical scientist who specializes in studying disease outbreaks and pandemics. The job of an epidemiologist involves determining the factors that lead to the development of a virus, such as what environment it thrives in, whether it’s seasonal, and what types of people it affects – and then researching and developing proper countermeasures. Often, an epidemiologist will choose to either concentrate on research, or work at a clinic where they can directly treat patients suffering from the viruses they’re working on.
Even though a medical degree isn’t strictly required for becoming an epidemiologist, it’s of great benefit to candidates. However, in most cases, a degree in public health will suffice, even a Bachelor’s. Those who wish to work in laboratories and specialize in research must usually have a Master’s degree, and some places even require a PhD from candidates, when more delicate and complex viruses are involved in the research. The general career development outlooks for epidemiologist are very good, especially in recent years.
With an annual salary of between $43,000 – $73,000, the job of an epidemiologist is seen as a moderately well-paying one when the responsibilities attached to it are taken into consideration. One of the most frequent complaints from epidemiologists is related to their working hours, which can be very inflexible and inconvenient when researchers are chasing a tight deadline. Still, many express feelings that the job is still very rewarding psychologically, due to the nature of their work and the knowledge that they’re contributing something on a global scale.