Epidemiology is the study of the causes and spread of diseases among human populations. Genetic epidemiologists are specifically concerned with the genetic factors involved in diseases. They analyze DNA sequences to determine the relationship between genetic makeup and environmental factors. The goal is to minimize the likelihood of genetic illnesses among populations by figuring out what in the environment may be triggering them.
An increased focus on genetic science has created a greater demand for qualified individuals who can interpret genetic information and apply it to public health.
Working Conditions & Context
Genetic epidemiologists typically work in laboratories and offices, usually as part of a research team. They are most commonly employed by universities, hospitals, government agencies, and pharmaceutical companies. Some teach professionally in universities and medical schools.
Genetic epidemiology is an exacting science, and close adherence to scientific standards is a must. Individuals in this field are often expected to share their findings with their colleagues, either at conferences or in scientific journals. Communication skills are very important.
A typical Salary Range for this career is $35,620 - $101,030 annually.
The Median Income for this career is about $65,080 annually.
A Master's degree is the minimum an epidemiologist can expect to obtain, and even then it will take higher degrees to secure positions of significant responsibility or authority. Most positions require a Ph.D.
Some colleges offer a major in genetic epidemiology distinct from traditional epidemiology. Students pursuing such a major should also study biology, chemistry, mathematics, and related disciplines.
Certification & Licensing:
The American College of Epidemiology
The International Epidemiological Association
The Society for Epidemiologic Research
The International Genetic Epidemiology Society
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.