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The work of an epidemiologist is diverse and challenging, ranging from long-term projects on diseases like AIDS and cancer that may never be cured to fighting emerging and quick-spreading infections like swine flu and SARS. Epidemiology is an interdisciplinary field that requires extensive education. In 2010, the average salary range for epidemiologists is $44,104 to $72,982 a year.


United States Government
The United States federal government employs epidemiologists in an effort to study and prevent the spread of diseases. In the wake of SARS, the avian flu and the swine flu, the government has increased its funding for epidemiology research and development. Epidemiologists in government employ can expect to combine fieldwork with research in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention throughout the country. Federally employed epidemiologists are charged with protecting public health in the United States, and are expected to predict and prevent the spread of disease and monitor emerging infections.

Non-Governmental Organizations
A number of Non-Governmental Organizations hire epidemiologists in an effort to study, understand, and prevent the spread of diseases in developing nations. NGOs like the World Health Organization use a combination of laboratory and fieldwork to understand the nature of epidemics in developing nations, considering factors such as living conditions, poverty, starvation, contaminated water supplies, prostitution, and intravenous drug use. UNAIDS, a program headed by the United Nations in collaboration with a number of other organizations, such as the World Bank, hires epidemiologist to understand and control the spread of AIDS throughout the world.

Academic and Research Epidemiologists
Academic epidemiology is an interdisciplinary field that combines fieldwork and research with professorial duties. Professional academic and research epidemiologists can expect to spend countless hours in research facilities, working toward the publication and presentation of findings through papers and conferences. Teaching courses to future epidemiologists, some of whom will be working as junior members of the research team, is also required of academics. Academic and research epidemiologists can expect to look for work at institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Harvard University, and the American Cancer Society.


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