Epidemiologist - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Epidemiologist

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Job Description

 

Epidemiologists are called to action when influenza outbreaks, food poisoning or any other form of disease attacks a community and affects the masses.

The job of the epidemiologist is to investigate the cause of the diseases and suggest procedures that can be implemented to limit the damage and control the spread of the disease.

Epidemiologists are required to carry out thorough fieldwork in order to discover the root causes of illnesses or injuries.

Their job dictates them to find out the risk factors and suggest preventive measures that can be taken by the authorities and local health care facilities. The initial discovery and containment of any outbreak comes from an epidemiologist.

The approach taken and methods used by professionals vary depending on their academic background and their degree of expertise.

Statistical analysis is commonly used by epidemiologists. They are required to take into account a plethora of medical information including hereditary, environmental, health care and behavioral factors.

Techniques used by epidemiologists are based on biochemistry and molecular biology.

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Responsibilities

 

Epidemiologists are tasked with discovering the origin of a disease or agent that's harmful to humans, containing it, and resolving it.  

They're charged with investigating the scene of an incident and devising methods for containing its spread, in the case of virus or disease.

Much of their duties revolve around collecting and interpreting data in order to draw the right conclusions

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Skills

 

Communication

Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.

Active Listening

Offering your full attention to an individual person or group in order to fully understand problems and their nature.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 

Stress Management

Must be able to endure intense situations and handle pressure that comes with extreme situations you may encounter.

Trustworthiness

Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 

Perceptiveness

Gauging how people react and read their body language to decipher their feelings and predict their actions. They must be able to determine if people could be a risk to themselves or others and to distinguish truths from lies.

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Working Conditions

 

Epidemiologists divide their work hours between the office and the investigation fields. They typically work for health departments, hospitals, colleges, and universities and are required to work hectic and long hours when there is an outbreak.

The stressful work continues till the outbreak is contained and a temporary/permanent cure is found.Their field work may bring them in contact with infectious diseases or pathogens, but it is a rare case for one to become ill.

As of 2012, 52% of epidemiologists worked for state and local governments, with the rest finding employment with hospitals, colleges and universities, life science search and development centers, consulting services, and pharmaceutical companies.

 

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Salary Outlook

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