Epidemiologists are health research professionals who investigate and identify the cause and pattern of diseases in human beings. When an outbreak occurs or a disease emerges, epidemiologists are sent to conduct research and assessment. While these investigators do not provide healthcare directly to patients, they are devoted to the discovery and development of cures and vaccines utilized by everyday doctors.
Here is what you need to know about the epidemiologist's resume. To start out, let's review the three types of resumes you can employ to apply for the position:
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Job Duties of an Epidemiologist
Epidemiologists reduce the risk and occurrence of adverse health outcomes in a large population through research, community work and health policy. Some of the duties of an epidemiologist include:
Overseeing public health programs that include statistical analysis, planning, surveillance systems and public health improvement.
Investigating diseases, such as COVID-19 or parasites to determine factors of infection, including cause, progress, life cycle risk or transmission mode.
Planning and directing studies to investigate human or animal disease, finding preventive ways and treatments.
Collecting and analyzing data through bodily fluids and use of observation, surveys, interviews and other tools to determine evolution, physiology and remedies for sicknesses.
Communicating collected data or findings to health practitioners, policymakers, health officials, government officials and other related medical officials.
Managing or conducting programs and monitoring their progress, analyzing data and seeking ways to improve public health.
Supervising technical, professional and clerical personnel.
Epidemiologists Median Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, epidemiologists earn an annual median salary of $74,560 in the U.S.
Top Skills for Epidemiologists
An epidemiologist is responsible for the study and evaluation of infectious diseases. Epidemiologists lead investigations into outbreaks or potential bioterrorism events and establish prevention and control procedures. One of the primary responsibilities of this job is to study the variables that influence the distribution of disease in communities. As an epidemiologist, you should love solving problems, tracking patterns, working collaboratively and researching.
Let's dissect other main skills you'll need to become an exceptional epidemiologist:
- Study design: Epidemiologists must have the ability to design, implement, lead and support large and small epidemiological studies, often on infectious diseases, with industry and academic research collaborators. More specifically, your duties involve developing clinical modules that define relevant medical records data, creating survey questions and working with case report forms (CRFs).
- Research and reporting skills: Epidemiologists are researchers and must apply scientific methods, techniques, data collection and analysis to interpret and evaluate technical information. You must research the correlations between diseases and demographic information such as social and economic factors while documenting your findings. These reports can include writing research papers, including contributions to scientific peer-reviewed publications.
- Knowledge of medicine and laws: Understandably, strong knowledge of public health issues is crucial for anyone pursuing a career in epidemiology. As a professional in disease control, epidemiologists must know laws and regulations governing communicable diseases. You'll develop and conduct training to inform staff of proper compliance with various disease control regulations in this role. You must also respond to inquiries from health care professionals and public members regarding environmental or infectious diseases.
- Problem-solving skills: You must demonstrate the ability to assess problems and develop solutions. You will monitor epidemic outbreaks and propose methods of containment and evaluate disease control programs in many settings such as: health care facilities, day care institutions, nursing homes and other public facilities.
- Data collection and analysis: Epidemiologists gather and analyze statistical data, disease properties, medical assessments, laboratory findings and other information to identify trends and methods of prevention or containment of an epidemic. You will manage complex data sets from multiple sources as well as coordinate and oversee the investigation to meet institutional review board, privacy and human protection requirements. In addition, you will assist with the development, maintenance and analysis of a standard data collection system.
- Strong communication skills: An epidemiologist must also make proper use of their communication skills to convey information, develop training and educational programs, draft news releases and hold press conferences. You must learn to make use of both your oral and written communication skills. In fact, writing will be particularly helpful in assisting you with drafting grant documentation and proposals for potential funding sources.
- Collaboration skills: As a lead researcher in epidemiology, you won't be working alone, but with networks of external investigators and internal project team members. You must have strong interpersonal skills to collaborate and work with diverse stakeholders in a professional setting and conduct in-person and video meetings.
Educational Requirements for Epidemiologists
DegreeTo work as an epidemiologist on an entry level position, you must graduate with a master's degree in Biology, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Public Health, Environmental Science or a related discipline, plus hold three years of investigative experience. Senior roles, on the other hand, call for eight years of experience or a Ph.D. in the Science field with about three years of experience.
Many higher education institutions offer degrees in the field, such as Princeton University which has degrees in Global Health, Health Policy and Molecular Biology. Meanwhile, Berkeley offers master's and doctoral degrees in Epidemiology, including a dual degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics a Health and Social Behavior, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, Environmental Health Sciences and Health Policy and Management.
Likewise, NYU has a masters of Science degree in Biomedical Informatics, Bioinformatics and other graduate degrees in Environmental Health Sciences, Biostatistics and Epidemiology offered by their Department of Environmental Medicine and their School of Global Public Health. They also offer a master's and a doctorate in Public Health and an M. S. in Quantitative Management.
CertificationsWhile employers don't ask for licenses or certifications in epidemiology, some are useful to validate your qualification for the role.
These are some of the available certificates to further develop your knowledge as an epidemiologist:
- Universities and colleges: Higher education institutions usually have a continuing education program offering undergraduate, professional and graduate certifications. Berkeley, for example, has a certificate program in Data Science, a post-baccalaureate Health Sciences program and a professional program in Health Informatics and Health Advocacy. NYU also has advanced certificates in Public Health, Health and Human Rights, Applied Global Public Health and Public Health Data Science.
- Online educational companies: While many universities and colleges offer their certification programs, companies like edX provide online courses in collaboration with prestigious institutions, organizations and companies. Among some of the classes offered are: Biostatistics, Data Analytics and how to measure health outcomes. They also offer a few courses more directly linked to epidemiologists. Coursera is another well-recognized platform that provides classes and specializations in Epidemiology for Public Health, Infectious Disease Modeling, Study Designs in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Public Health.
- Organizations and associations: Professional associations and some organizations also offer training and educational programs with certifications. For instance, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has various courses in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC). On the other hand, the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology offers the a-IPC certification, an entry-level certification that is ideal for those candidates who don't qualify for the CIC yet.
- Internships and fellowships: Arguably, the best way to evidence your qualifications for a role is to have firsthand experience. Due to this, applying for internships and fellowships might be the best decision to accrue experience. An excellent place to begin searching for opportunities is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Likewise, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) offers internships and fellowships designed for current graduate students or recently graduated students in the public health sector. The American Public Health Association (APHA) has a wide selection of internships and fellowships to choose from. Also consider checking with your institution for active programs they suggest for your career plans.
Epidemiologist Resume-Writing Tips
Here are some tips to remember when crafting your resume for an epidemiologist position:
- Prevent any ambiguity by chronologically mentioning your work and education details. Structuring and organizing a resume in chronological order will minimize any confusion, allowing the interviewer to have a clear picture of education, work experience and timeline. Opting for reverse chronological order is also the best option to present relevant details regarding work and education.
- Explain your observational and problem-solving strategies. The field of epidemiology requires an individual to be highly responsive and alert. It is imperative to give a clear picture of how you identify problems to an interviewer. For example, while identifying diseases caused by nutritional deficiencies in low-income groups, explain solutions and management protocols devised to combat it.
- Express your passion. Add a summary of why you work in this particular field. What motivated you to become an epidemiologist and why do you wish to help? Keep it brief, as it should convey the message aptly and efficiently.
Is it necessary to have epidemiologists?
Epidemiologists are considered an essential part of the health care system of all nations. A group of experienced epidemiologists will help combat large-scale diseases like the coronavirus. As such, it is imperative for a country to employ their expertise so as to prepare to face potential outbreaks.
Are statistics and epidemiology closely related?
Statistics are a crucial part of epidemiology. They help project outcomes from data as well as possible solutions. Statistics are also an important data gathering tool employed in the profession which can lead to potential discoveries and enhancements in health care.