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Career as Epidemiologist

Career as a Epidemiologist

About Epidemiologist

Pursuing a career as an Epidemiologist is unlike any other profession in the healthcare industry as Epidemiology deals with the community as a whole, instead of one individual patient. The epidemiology career path is more investigative in nature, unlike other medical fields. Aspirants of the field would find themselves conducting surveys, understanding the living conditions of the people in a community, sources of diseases and illnesses, effects of diseases over a large scale and much more. Due to its investigative nature, pursuing a career as an epidemiologist requires candidates to have analytical and critical thinking skills, patience, mathematics reasoning, leadership skills and the ability to work under stressful conditions.

Eligibility to become Epidemiologist

If you wish to pursue the career as an epidemiologist in India then it is necessary that you complete basic academic training and qualifications prior to pursuing a career in the field. Here are the eligibility criteria to pursue a career as an Epidemiologist in India:

  • Basic academic qualification would be to have a B.Sc in Epidemiology or B.Sc or Bachelor of Public Health degree from a recognised university or college.

  • Additional academic qualifications include an M.Sc or Master in Public Health/Epidemiology or even a PhD in Epidemiology from one of the many universities or colleges in India.

  • Medical (MBBS, BDS, AYUSH) or Paramedical (Pharmacy, Nursing, or Allied Health Science course) graduates can also pursue a career in epidemiology.

  • Graduates of Allied Sciences such as Sociology, Economics, Nutrition, Social Work, etc can also pursue a career in the field.

  • Undergraduate or Postgraduate degrees of the above-mentioned fields are eligible to become an epidemiologist.

Skills Required to Become an Epidemiologist

In order to be an epidemiologist, a certain set of skillsets, which include:

  • Critical and Analytical thinking

  • Mathematical and Statistical proficiency for analytical research

  • Ability to work in a team but also Independently

  • Ability to work under immense pressure

  • Patience and Determination to search and find a conclusive result.

Types of Job Roles Epidemiologist

As an epidemiology graduate, you may find yourself applying for several job roles. Ranging from surveyors and statisticians to speciality epidemiologists, graduates will find a job role best suited for them in the current industry. Some of the more popular job roles applicable to an epidemiologist in India are as follows:

Community Health Workers: Community Health Workers are a crucial component of the field of epidemiology as they are responsible for connecting with the community, collecting, studying and researching various illness and diseases common to a community, provide health and safety lessons and strategies to the public and implement certain steps to promote better and healthier lifestyles.

Statisticians and Surveyors: As the name suggests, under such job roles, the main duty of an epidemiologist is to create surveys and questionnaires for the purpose of collecting appropriate data. Data collected through surveys and questionnaires help epidemiologists to further and deeply understand certain issues and root-causes of different medical illnesses in a community. With such data, new medical procedures, medicines and methods of providing healthcare to the public are studies and devised.

Speciality Epidemiologist: While epidemiologists do not work individually with separate patients, diseases and illnesses can be common across different communities. In order to further study, research and find authentic details of certain illnesses can help in fighting and curing people of certain diseases, which can also be fatal. Types of speciality epidemiologists include Infection Control Epidemiologist, Disaster Epidemiologist, Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist, Molecular Epidemiologist and much more.

Supervisory Epidemiologist: Like any other field, epidemiology requires personnel responsible for ensuring efficient and effective usage of assets and inventory, to produce quantified and quality data appropriate for the purpose of making the lives of the people better. Supervisory Epidemiologist is the post where such professionals look after and supervise the functioning of a team of epidemiologists. Further, Supervisory Epidemiologists carry out different tasks such as budget and personnel management, supervising the development of pharmaceuticals and other required managerial aspects of the field.

Academics: An underrated area in the field of epidemiology is pursuing academics or research in the field. While you can pursue a career as a teacher or professor distributing your knowledge of the field, a less-travelled path has been the field of research. You will be able to work with different organisations and students alike, furthering, your understanding of the field and publishing research papers which can further develop the field of epidemiology as an element of the healthcare industry.

Employment Sector/Industry for Epidemiologist

Pursuing a career as an epidemiologist can be possible in a number of different fields within the healthcare sector. Some of the employment opportunities include:

  • Government and Private Hospitals

  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industries

  • Government Health Departments

  • National and Global Disease Control Centres

  • National and Global Medical Research Centres

  • NGOs

Responsibilities of an Epidemiologist

Some of the major responsibilities of an epidemiologist in India are as follows:

  • Determine the cause and effects of diseases and disease-causing parasites

  • Ascertain the modes of transmission of diseases and disease-carrying parasites

  • Plan and undertake studies, research and investigations regarding human/animal diseases and the preventative methods that can be adopted

  • Communicate and brainstorm ideas with Physicians, Policy-makers and other healthcare professionals with regards to the preventative and curative measures that need to be taken; and many more

Planning to choose Epidemiologist as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Epidemiologist

As per the trends that have been witnessed in the country, epidemiologists can earn variable salaries. These salaries depend on different factors such as job profile, company/ organisation/ institution of employment and much more. Listed below are some of the salaries that are earned by epidemiologists in India.

Job Profile

Annual Entry-Level Salary (Approx)

Annual Middle-Level Salary (Approx)

Annual Senior-Level Salary (Approx)

Community Health Workers

₹1,60,000 - ₹2,65,000

₹3,65,000 - ₹6,45,000

₹7,00,000 - ₹9,00,000

Statisticians and Surveyors

₹1,55,000 - ₹2,35,000

₹3,00,000 - ₹5,55,000

₹6,00,000 - ₹8,90,000

Speciality Epidemiologists

₹3,00,000 - ₹4,00,000

₹5,25,000 - ₹7,00,000

₹7,65,000 - ₹10,20,000

Supervisory Epidemiologists

₹4,50,000 - ₹5,20,000

₹7,00,000 - ₹8,65,000

₹9,50,000 - ₹11,00,000

Data Analysts

₹1,00,000 - ₹2,70,000

₹3,65,000 - ₹6,70,000

₹7,00,000 - ₹9,65,000

Note: The numbers and salaries denoted above are just for reference purposes, as the actual annual packages will differ from company to company and other variable factors.

Books & Study Material to Become Epidemiologist

One of the better methods of excelling in one’s area of expertise is through learning, reading and gaining as much knowledge as one can. Many experts from across the globe have been able to write down their opinions, thoughts, expertise and understanding of the field, which can be accessed by aspirants across the globe.

  • Modern Epidemiology

  • Basic Epidemiology by R Beaglehole

  • Epidemiology for Public Health Practice Robert Friis

  • Epidemiology in Medical Practice by David Barker

  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen

Pros of becoming a Epidemiologist

  • The work for each case you would receive would be dynamic in nature.

  • The Investigative nature of the work profile provides a challenging aspect to the job

  • Job satisfaction of an epidemiologist is high as the job allocated for each case is mostly result-oriented.

Cons of becoming a Epidemiologist

  • Can be time-consuming and requires a lot of patience, as reaching a certain result or conclusion may require a lot of data collection, research, surveying and studying.

  • Certain cases can be stressful as diseases can be fatal and spread fast across a community, which may require epidemiologists to work fast in order to reduce further losses.

  • There are fixed work hours, however, the nature and importance of a case can lead to long and tedious working hours.

Paths for Being Epidemiologist

FAQs about Epidemiologist

What kind of jobs are there for an Epidemiology graduate?

The job profiles that an Epidemiology graduate will find her/himself applying for include Community Health Worker, Statistician and Surveyor, Supervisory Epidemiologist, Academic, Data Analysts, etc.

What does an Epidemiologist do?

The job of an epidemiologist is investigative in nature. Professionals in the field would find themselves conducting surveys, understanding the living conditions of the people in a community, sources of diseases and illnesses, effects of diseases over a large scale and much more.

Where does an Epidemiologist work?

An Epidemiologist can work at Government and Private Hospitals, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industries, Government Health Departments, National and Global Disease Control Centres, National and Global Medical Research Centres, NGOs, etc. 

Which course do I need to pursue to become an Epidemiologist?

To become an Epidemiologist, you can pursue courses like B.Sc in Epidemiology, B.Sc or Bachelor of Public Health or relevant. As additional qualification, you can also pursue M.Sc or Master in Public Health/Epidemiology or even a PhD in Epidemiology.

Is the job of an Epidemiologist good?

Where or not one finds the job of an Epidemiologist good depends on their personal preference. While the Investigative nature of the work profile provides a challenging aspect to the job, it can sometimes become time-consuming, as reaching a certain result or conclusion may require a lot of data collection, research, surveying and studying. 

How much does an Epidemiologist earn in India?

Depend on different factors such as job profile, company/ organisation/ institution of employment, epidemiologists can earn variable salaries. One can earn anywhere from INR 1.6 LPA to INR 12 LPA or more. 

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