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Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the study of how communicable diseases affect and spread among groups of people. The work of epidemiologists is vital for preventing and controlling disease among the public. Read on to learn more about the academic and career options in epidemiology.

Inside Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the branch of public health that analyzes epidemics, the large-scale spread of disease. Epidemiologists study the causes and dispersion of disease, and they look for ways to prevent or control illness on a large scale. Dealing with spreadable diseases is time sensitive and involves interaction with the public and media, and thus epidemiologists need excellent communication skills, good decision-making skills and the ability to multitask.

Education Information

There are epidemiology degree programs at the master's, doctoral and postgraduate certificate levels. Epidemiology courses focus on such epidemics as HIV and AIDS, food and waterborne illnesses, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Most applied epidemiologists are required to have a master's degree in public health. Epidemiology professionals working in research may need a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or other doctorate degree. Although professional certification is not required, the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. offers certification for those who meet the agency's requirements and pass a certification exam (www.cbic.org).

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