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Epidemiologist - Career Requirements, Employment, And Compensation

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A career in epidemiology generally requires a master's or doctoral degree in public health. Epidemiologists work in many different settings: universities, industry, government, and nongovernmental research or health organizations. Those with master's degrees generally start as project officers or staff members, coordinating data collection and analysis for health studies and as they grow in experience they will advance within their organizations. The doctoral degree often leads to academic careers on university faculty and leadership positions in other research organizations and industry. Physicians who earn master's or doctoral degrees in public health also often fill these positions. Epidemiologists who receive additional training (usually as doctoral or postdoctoral students) in human and statistical genetics are often called "genetic epidemiologists," in recognition of their specialty within epidemiology. Compensation varies widely, depending on the level of education, employment setting, and experience. In 2001 the starting salary for a new graduate with a master's degree and no previous work experience might be in the $30,000 to $40,000 range; a Ph.D. or M.D./M.P.H. with several years' experience might earn over $100,000 in industry.

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