What Can I Do With an Epidemiology Degree?

epidemiologistEpidemiology involves investigating the incidence, cause, and effects of a variety of health conditions in particular groups of people. It is a key aspect of public health, and it helps with the implementation of policies and regulations. Professionals working in the epidemiology field strive to identify risk factors and they help develop preventive medicine approaches. Students thinking about entering the field commonly ask what can I do with an epidemiology degree? Graduates land many different positions such as epidemiologist, epidemiology field officer, environmental health specialist, and epidemiology analyst.


An epidemiologist conducts research regarding the causes and effects of illness and disease to assist with the development of public health policies and disease management tactics worldwide. He or she strives to prevent the spread and reappearance of illness and disease. An epidemiologist also evaluates medical conditions that occur from exposure to organisms, such as food poisoning. Epidemiologists work in various specialties, such as environmental, genetic, social, and psychological areas. Majority work for local, state, and national government organizations. Most employers require a minimum of a master’s degree in epidemiology. The median yearly wage for epidemiologists is around $63,000.

Epidemiology Field Officer

An epidemiology field officer works to improve the epidemiologic capacity for public health awareness and reaction. He or she helps create or improve surveillance systems that provide necessary information to inform public health awareness and lead response tasks. He or she also looks into major health issues and works with essential partners, like emergency responders, public health education agencies, and healthcare providers. Epidemiology field officers typically work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they are assigned to local, state, and territorial health agencies upon request. The median annual pay for epidemiology field officers is about $78,000.

Environmental Health Specialist

An environmental health specialist works to protect the environment by recognizing problems and developing resolutions that reduce or remove hazards that could harm environments and their inhabitants. He or she evaluates environmental conditions to identify violations. He or she also monitors the impact of development activities. An environmental health specialist modifies current policies and works to incorporate new regulations to prevent current and future environmental effects. Many employers prefer a master’s degree in epidemiology or related field. They average salary for environmental health specialists is $55,000 per year.

Epidemiology Analyst

An epidemiology analyst collects and enters information to perform data analyses, maintains study databases, and recruits eligible participants of studies. He or she also interviews individuals and verifies medical information. An epidemiology analyst provides support and maintenance to databases and creates analytic plans for research studies. Some provide analytic advice to other professionals and look into any issues with information. This position typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree in epidemiology or related area. The mean pay for epidemiology analysts is around $68,000 annually.

Epidemiology is a great field for individuals interested in making a difference in the public health field to help prevent disease and illness. Any of the above positions will likely provide professionals with a rewarding and lucrative career. A degree in epidemiology is the jumping off point to working in the epidemiology field.