Standard Occupational Classification #19-1041 Epidemiologists
SOC Definition- Epidemiologists #19-1041 - Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, and other health outcomes and develop the means for prevention and control.
Epidemiology studies the causes, and effects of disease in defined populations to identify trends that can improve public health by identifying the risks of disease. Epidemiologists work in the field to discover the causes of disease or injury, who is at risk, and how to lower or end the incidence of known dangers and diseases. They monitor demographic and social trends and account for a variety of hereditary, behavioral, environmental and health care variables that require interdisciplinary work in statistics, biology including biochemistry and molecular biology and clinical research practices.
Epidemiologists are classified as life science occupations in the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifications with the majority working in the state and local government. For Epidemiologists 54 percent work in government, 17.8 percent in health care, mostly at hospitals, 11.8 percent in scientific research and management consulting, 9 percent in colleges and universities doing teaching and research and almost five percent in the pharmaceutical industry as part of manufacturing.
National employment as Epidemiologists was 5,420 in 2014. Jobs are up since 2000 when jobs were 2,480. The average annual job increase equals 214 per year since 2000 at a growth rate of 5.74 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting job growth for Epidemiologists at 50 per year through 2022 with a growth rate of 1.12 percent a year.
Job openings make a better measure of new hiring than job growth. Job openings are job growth and the number of net replacements. Net replacements are people who permanently leave an occupation for another occupation or retirement and must be replaced before there can be job growth. Job openings for Epidemiologists are forecast to be 160 a year through 2022.
The recently updated BLS Education and Training Classification assignments lists MA degree skills as necessary for entry into jobs as Epidemiologists. However, percentages from survey data are published for Epidemiologists showing an educational distribution where 5.8 percent have a BA degree, 92.9 percent have advanced degrees with 64 percent holding doctorates, only .6 percent have some college, but no degree, and .4 percent have an associate’s degree. Less than one percent have high school skills only. Previous experience is considered unnecessary, but moderate on-the-job training is expected to be necessary for new hires.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports degree data for America’s colleges and universities that can be compared with job growth and openings. There was 1 BA degrees granted in 1 program in June 2012, the last year of complete degree data. There were also 881 MA degrees granted in 1 program in Biology and Biomedical Sciences and 268 PhD degrees. However, many work in epidemiology with doctorates in public health, clinical practice or with MD degrees. Degrees are up in 2012 from previous years. The ratio of relevant BA degree to openings equals 7.18, or 1,149/160, assuring 7 qualified candidates to fill each job opening.
The basic wage data from the BLS occupational employment survey includes a wage distribution. Averages are not used much in wage data. A few high wages pull up the average and make it unrepresentative. Instead a distribution range of wages is published with the 10th, 25th, median, 75th, and 90th percentiles of wages. A 10th percentile wage means 10 percent working in this job have wages equal to or less than the 10th percentile wage and so on. Annual wages are converted to hourly wages by dividing annual wages by 2080
The entry wage for the national market in the 10th percentile for Epidemiologists is reported as $43,530 in 2014. The 25th percentile wage equals $53,070. The median wage is $067,420, the 75th percentile wage equals $000 and the 90th percentile wage is $112,360.
The wages of epidemiologists have kept up with inflation for the last decade. For example, to have the buying power of the 2006 median wage of $56,670 in 2014, the epidemiologist’s wage would need to be $66,546.67. Instead it was $67,420, a 1.31 percent increase in the real wage for those eight years.