Epidemiologist and Scientist Examining Brain Scan

Epidemiologists study the cause, spread, and control of diseases and injuries that affect groups of people or communities. They use statistics, research, and field investigations to try to connect incidences of a disease or injury with characteristics of populations and communities. Some epidemiologists focus on infectious diseases, which are caused by bacteria and viruses and include HIV, chicken pox, rabies, and meningitis. Others focus on noninfectious diseases including heart disease, lung cancer, breast cancer, and ulcers. Approximately 5,460 epidemiologists are employed in the United States.

Next Section: History

Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Applied Epidemiologists, Chronic Disease Epidemiologists, Environmental Epidemiologists, Infection Control Specialists, Infectious Disease Epidemiologists, Research Epidemiologists
Duties Study the cause, spread, and control of diseases affecting groups of people or communities
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide; many epidemiologists work for the CDC, which is headquartered in Atlanta
Minimum Education Level
  • Master's Degree
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Health
Experience Internship or fellowship
Personality Traits
  • Curious
  • Problem-Solving
  • Scientific
  • Math
  • Research
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • State Epidemiologist or Professor
  • Experienced Epidemiologist
  • Entry-Level Epidemiologist