Epidemiology is a fast growing field. In fact, jobs within this sector is expected to grow over 14% by the year 2016. This level of demand is substantially higher than the growth of the healthcare industry as a whole. At the same time, there is a great shortage of skilled talent in this sector. Epidemiology is a job field that most people do not even know about, let alone enter. Because of these convergent trends, a career in Epidemiology can be a financially and spiritually rewarding path to take.
An epidemiologist in the United States can have an annual salary ranging between $38,000 and $99,000. The average salary for an Epidemiologist in 2011 is $65,000 per year. Within the Epidemiology sector, salaries vary substantially based on the kind of work being done as well as the location. Work Experience gained over many years can also play a very significant role in determining an epidemiologist’s wage.
Salary differences due to role and experience
From the chart above, you can see that the salaries of Public Health Services Epidemiologists tend to be lower than that of Epidemiologists working in private health industry. Higher paid Epidemiologists tend to work much closer to the front lines of infection control research and investigation. Active, hands-on, roles like Infection Control RNs( Epidemiologist Nurse ) and Infection Control Practitioners tend to be paid significantly more than the average Epidemiologist working in a clinic.
Although infection control positions are still relatively low risk, there are some instances where an Infection Control Epidemiologist needs to work directly with materials and fluids which contain harmful pathogens. In these circumstances, many clinical precautions such as isolation chambers and bio-hazard containment clothing would be utilized to ensure the safety of the Epidemiology specialist.
Another area where Epidemiologists can earn high incomes is the Bio-Tech and Pharmaceutical industries. There are many lucrative research positions within these 2 sectors and career advancement is generally much faster than in the public health sector. While the pay is very high, Biotech and Pharmaceutical job opportunities are geographically limited since both industries are centered in California and the Boston-D.C Corridor.
The highest paid Epidemiology positions such as an Epidemiologist Director or an Infection Control Manager usually requires extensive knowledge of the field as well as years of experience in managing other Epidemiologists. In many cases, Epidemiologists in senior management roles also have additional specialized knowledge such as Environmental and/or Genetic Epidemiology.
Regional Salary Differences
States such as California, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have significantly higher average salaries for entry level Epidemiologists than most other states in the U.S. Another region of high income potential is Georgia. The Center for Disease Control(CDC) is located in Georgia, so there are always a relatively high demand for Epidemiologists there. Other states trend lower on the pay scale, however all regional health departments have a need for Epidemiologists. Most Universities with medical departments also need epidemiologists to help with research, data analysis, and clinical trials. So while the salary might be lower in other states, the demand for Epidemiologists may be relatively higher.