Although employment rates are slowly on the rise, the concern over finding a secure position is still valid. Some industries are experiencing much better growth, and job opportunities in a variety of fields can offer stable positions with advancement opportunities. Public health careers can provide openings to many specialties, and it is expected that jobs in these fields will continue to increase.
If you are considering entering into a career that can allow you to find stability and be of service to the community, then public health careers could have opening to suit your needs. The job of communicable disease analyst can allow you good entry level pay, as well as the chance to make an impact on public healthcare needs.
What Is A Communicable Disease Analyst?
Communicable disease analysts help other healthcare professionals and providers understand how illness spreads within a community or a work environment. This job position would also allow you to suggest changes which can keep the public healthier, and cut down on the need for interventive services by focusing on preventive measures instead.
By analyzing data about how disease moves through a community, you will also be able to better allocate resources, and teach preparedness for such events as flu epidemics. Much of this job will involve collecting and evaluating data in order to establish trends of infection within communities, through both social and environmental interactions.
As a communicable disease analyst, the following duties will be a part of your job:
- Collecting samples from the environment, public buildings, and people within the community.
- Analyzing demographic data relating to disease.
- Plotting trends of disease spread and severity within the population.
- Identifying vectors and tracking spread.
- Developing methods to halt infectious trends.
- Identifying new strains of disease.
- Educating the community on prevention methods.
Communicable disease analysts will also need to develop personal traits that can assist you with your job performance:
- Lab techniques: You will need to be able to use lab equipment and techniques to analyze biological samples, as well as computer software to chart disease trends.
- Critical thinking skills: You will need to be able to extrapolate possibilities for the community from the data that you are analyzing. This may include looking for unknowns in the spread of disease as well as considering implications of current protocols.
- Good communication: Verbal and written communication skills are highly important. You will need to be able to present your findings in reports, as well as interact with the public and community officials to educate them about prevention and causes of disease.
- Attention to detail: Much of your research is based on evaluating data. This can include statistical information as well as narratives and lab results.
- Good problem solving skills: Along with tracking the spread of disease, you also need to be able to come up with solutions that can be implemented within the community to minimize contagion risks.
Nature Of The Work
This line of work features both lab and office duties as well as in the field investigations. In the field you may be inspecting workplaces and public buildings in order to identify practices which could contribute to the spread of disease. This may also include observing practices in basic community services such as water supply and waste management. The information that is collected from observation and from speaking with the public will then be compared to historical trends in the spread of disease.
Further data may be collected from archived records, as well as from samples that are draws from sub populations of the community. In the lab, you will be required to examine the implications of this information, and to formulate ways of minimizing risk and promoting prevention. Findings and suggestions may be submitted as reports, or as communications with public health officials and healthcare providers.
Education And Training
This line of work will require that you have Bachelor’s degree as the minimum for an entry level position. Course work should focus on biology, chemistry, health and wellness, and statistics. This background should also include lab work and research, which may be completed as a part of classes or as a separate internship.
Many communicable disease analysts will also continue their education with graduate work, in order to gain greater familiarity with research practices and lab techniques. Some candidates will also complete computer training courses in order to better utilize the software that helps to organize statistics and plot trends. Some certification courses may also be required, especially if your position involves considerable field work in industrial settings.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics rates this position as having an above average growth potential over the next ten years. It is expected that employment in this field will increase by as much as 13%, especially as healthcare trends become more focused on community preparedness and prevention. An entry level salary starts at around $35,000 although the average salary for this position is closer to twice that. If you are interested in helping the public to minimize disease threats while working in a career that offers financial and position stability, then the post of communicable disease analyst can be a rewarding job choice.