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Clinical Epidemiologist: Job Description, Duties, Outlook and Salary

Clinical epidemiologists require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the degree program, job duties and average salary to see if this is the right career for you

A clinical epidemiologist studies diseases and provides information to public health networks about disease prevention and control. These professionals work in a variety of environments, such as an office, lab, or a medical setting with doctors. A master's degree with a specialization in public health is the common education requirement for clinical epidemiologists.

Essential Information

Epidemiology is the study of diseases. Some epidemiologists complete all their research in laboratories; however, clinical epidemiologists often work for public health organizations and respond to disease outbreaks and help determine precautionary measures and responses. Clinical epidemiologists are often required to have a master's degree in public health.

Required Education Master's degree, usually in public health
Projected Job Growth 6% for all epidemiologists from 2014-24*
Median Salary $69,450 for all epidemiologists (2015)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Clinical Epidemiologist

Clinical epidemiologists conduct research, as well as oversee public health programs and train other healthcare workers on communicable disease control. Accordingly, clinical epidemiologists typically work in an office or laboratory setting, as well as out in the in the field meeting with doctors and other healthcare professionals. Clinical epidemiologists may also prepare and present healthcare programs on proper procedures in case of a disease outbreak.

Duties

The day-to-day duties of a clinical epidemiologist include consulting with healthcare departments or medical facilities about communicable disease control and training others about communicable disease control measures. They may also be responsible for developing procedures and policies regarding disease control for hospitals, nursing homes and schools. These experienced professional use their knowledge to help public health departments with complex disease control issues like outbreaks from food parasites.

In addition to these roles, clinical epidemiologists conduct research on disease outbreaks and case studies in order to determine and fine tune response protocol. They setup the study by writing a specific plan outline, including the sample population, analytical measures and concepts used for data interpretation.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment of all epidemiologists was expected to grow by 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. The median annual salary for epidemiologists was $69,450 as of May 2015, according to the BLS. The middle 50% earned between $55,790 and $88,050. Epidemiologists employed in the area of scientific research and development earned some of the highest wages among all workers, with annual salaries of $108,630.

Because clinical epidemiologists often provide consulting and training services to various healthcare professionals, possessing excellent interpersonal skills is important for this career. These professionals need to act quickly when faced with public outbreaks of disease, such as dealing with problems related to parasites in food. They also develop policies for public spaces that are vulnerable to the spread of disease, such as a nursing home or school.


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