In today’s tough economic times it’s important to find a job that actually rewards you professionally and financially. For most, this means spending time considering what they want from a job and how it can benefit their future. The health field has held some of the best opportunities out there, but it’s common for those who would be interested in a career in the field to shy away from it because they don’t feel up to delivering one on one patient care. Becoming a disease ecologist allows anyone to enter a role in the medical field without having to provide bedside care.
Entering a role as a disease ecologist can offer a tremendous amount of benefits to those who are able to handle the responsibilities. It’s a diverse job field and one that can lead in numerous directions. If you want to know more about what it has to offer, continue reading to learn all there is to know about this exciting, rewarding profession.
What Is a Disease Ecologist?
A disease ecologist is a professional in the public health field who focuses on studying the overall patterns of disease within populations. Their ultimate goal is to understand the various principles that drive forward those patterns. By taking a close look at the interactions between different population groups, the different risk factors, and other bits of information, disease ecologists can help to formulate new processes and ideas that can improve the prevention of disease outbreaks in various ways.
Different job duties a disease ecologist will have to focus on include:
- Collection of data and information related to disease outbreaks
- Tracking down the source of various diseases and their outbreaks
- Study of drug resistance and the overall communicability of viruses
- Developing reports as to the different areas that are studied by them
- Use of computer models to help predict outbreaks and health related trends
- Field research that directly leads to improvement of their understanding of current health issues
- Preparation of reports delivered to public organizations or government agencies related to how to improve overall health and well-being of a group of people
In short, these professionals gather data and then use that data to predict future health related issues, determine what factors will have an effect on disease, and how to develop programs and initiatives that combat those potential outbreaks in various ways.
As with any other professional career, there are various skills, talents, and personal characteristics that can help one excel as a disease ecologist. The following strong points will have a direct impact on improving one’s ability to excel in this field.
- Ability to Work With Others – A disease ecologist regularly works with others in the medical and public health fields, and as such should be able to work well with others.
- Strong Math Skills – The job requires regular completion of math related tasks and relies heavily on statistics. As such, strong math and statistical skills are needed.
- Good Communication Skills – Those in this profession must communicate results of their studies on paper as well as through spoken presentations. Good all-around communication skills are a must
Nature of the Work
The regular day to day duties of a disease ecologist usually begin with the collection of data and information, often through surveys, field work, and more. Once data has been collected the disease ecologist will use a variety of tools and techniques to develop predictions and models as to the source and the future spread of disease.
They will also complete detailed reports and prepare presentations for government agencies and those in the public sector in order to adequately develop plans and strategies to improve the overall public health.
Education and Training
In order to enter the field of disease ecology, you’ll need to hold a graduate level degree in the field. A PhD is the preferred degree of those looking for professionals in the field, though the specific degree could focus on a wide range of fields including microbiology, zoology, entomology, and more.
Average salaries according to SpringerPub.com are about $40,000 to $65,000, though those in certain areas of study can earn as much as $111,000 annually depending on their field of study, their employer, and their location within the country.