Epidemiologists study the cause, spread, and control of diseases affecting groups of people or communities. They use statistics, research, and field investigations to try to connect incidences of a disease 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 4,850 epidemiologists are employed in the United States.

Quick Facts
Duties Study the cause, spread, and control of diseases affecting groups of people or communities
Alternate Title(s) Infection Control Specialists
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Fair
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but many epidemiologists work for the CDC, which is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.
Education and Training
  • Master's Degree
Related School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Health
Experience Advanced degrees, plus a fellowship, are required
  • Computer
  • Math
  • Scientific
Personality Traits
  • Curious
  • Problem-Solving
  • Scientific
Licensure/Certification Required
Special Requirements None
Career Ladder
  • State Epidemiologist or Professor
  • Experienced Epidemiologist
  • Entry-Level Epidemiologist