Epidemiology deals with the incidence, distribution and control of diseases or illnesses relating to health. Epidemiologists are responsible for finding the cause of a disease, identifying people who are at risk and determining how to control or stop the spread to prevent it from happening again. Physicians, veterinarians, scientists, and other health professionals can train to be in other words “Disease Detectives”, following an epidemiologist career path.
Find out more in our guide about what you need in order to pursue a career as an Epidemiologist in the UK…
What does a healthcare professional in Epidemiology do?
An epidemiologist is an exciting and diverse role. Tasks include being responsible for conducting surveys in the community, creating reports to be used for project planning and helping plan appropriate responses to outbreaks. Appropriate responses may include case findings, vaccination campaigns or conducting mortality surveys.
Other responsibilities consist of building the capacity of the medical teams to analyse and interpret the results in order to support evidence-based decision making. Moreover, common duties will revolve around communicating findings to health practitioners, policymakers, and the public, examining the effectiveness of public health programs and interventions as well as supervising professional, technical, and clerical personnel.
How to become an Epidemiologist in the UK
To pursue a career in Epidemiology, it is often required a postgraduate degree, either a Masters or a PhD, in epidemiology or a related subject, such as public health, statistical science or biological science. Postgraduate course providers look for graduates with a good degree, normally a 2:1 or above, in quantitative science. A PhD is usually a minimum requirement for a career in academic research and enables further career progression.
If you don’t have a Masters degree in order to make your way into epidemiologist jobs in the UK, you can start as an information analyst or officer. That way you will develop your skills and knowledge in data and statistics management, and then study further to progress into an epidemiologist role. You can also get a job in public health or public protection and then move into a role as an Epidemiologist.
Skills required in Epidemiology
Common skills that employers often require, revolve around the following:
- analysing and interpreting complex data
- having a systematic work approach
- excellent verbal and written communication skills
- experience with statistical and database software tools
- liaising effectively with a range of health professionals and scientific specialists
- problem-solving and analytical skills
- multi-tasking skills and meeting deadlines
Salaries and career development
A career in epidemiology can prove challenging but very rewarding. Starting salaries in the UK may range between £24K and £30K. After gaining work experience, salaries can reach up to £40K. Specialist registration with the General Medical Council (GMC) or the UK Public Health Register can lead to salaries up to £105K.
Epidemiologists have the opportunity to tailor their careers to fit their specific interests in the field. In this profession keeping up to date with changes and new developments as well as continuing professional development (CPD) is essential.
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