Pharmaceutical Epidemiology

As public health concerns expand to encompass issues that may arise from treatment modes, newer research positions are also being developed to address these issues.  The growth in employment in the public health sector is also due to the fact that many specialties address community health and welfare, along with medical services and practice.

Pharmaceutical epidemiologists help to promote public health by addressing very specific disease trend within communities.  This position is one of the highest paying jobs in public health, but is also offers many benefits to the population.  If you would like a career that not only gives you a great salary but also helps to understand the relation between people and drugs in the community, the position of pharmaceutical epidemiology could be a fascinating job.

What Is A Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist?

A pharmaceutical epidemiologist studies the cause, effects, and spread of substance abuse condition in a community.  The will conduct research on the effects of pharmaceuticals on human health and physiology, and also track social trends and habits that can lead to the spread of the condition.  Although substance abuse is not communicable, it can still follow vectors the way other diseases can, and pharmaceutical epidemiologists plot these trends in order to predict outcomes, but also to consider isolation and treatment.

Pharmaceutical epidemiologists would have the following expectations as a part of the job:

  •   Planning methods to study the cause and spread of addiction.
  •   Collecting samples from subjects and or raw materials.
  •   Tracking vectors to predict trends.
  •   Formulating intervention, isolation, and treatment protocols.
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Some professional skills that can also help pharmaceutical epidemiologists are as follows:

  •   Critical thinking: You will need to be able to connect factors in order to generate theories about cause and spread.
  •   Communication:  This job will require good written and verbal skills.  You will be required to present your conclusions to the board of health and to the public. 
  •   Observation:  You will need to be able to gather information by studying habits and looking for causality.
  •   Problem solving:  You will also need to come up with viable solutions for dealing with the health issue on a large scale basis.

Nature Of The Work

Pharmaceutical epidemiologists spend much of their time in the lab, examining chemical reactions in tissue samples.  You will analyze these results and then correlate them to your findings in the field.  Pharmaceutical epidemiologists will also gather data in the field, studying social trends that lead to the uptake and spread of substance abuse conditions.  You may also need to gather narrative data along with your observations, and then generate theories based on all of the evidence.  You will also spend time in the office, writing reports on your findings and submitting this along with treatment strategies to the department of health,  

Education And Training

In order to work as a pharmaceutical epidemiologist you must have at least a Master’s degree, although many people in this field also hold doctorate degrees.  Your undergraduate courses should focus on biology, pathology, and chemistry, although pre-medical courses would also be appropriate for this position.  Your graduate work should be specifically in epidemiology, with a specialization in pharmaceuticals.  The Master’s program should provide a practicum along with the class work, but you may be required to undertake a one year internship for lab work and clinical experience.

Special certification is not required for this position, but if you have completed a medical course of study before starting you specialization, you will also need to pass the board exam to become licensed as a doctor.

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Pharmaceutical epidemiologists can expect an entry level pay at around $42,000.  The average for annual wages for this position is about $65,000, although the top 10% makes as much as $105,000 per year.  This range varies not just by experience and education, but also by whether you are employed at a local, state, or federal level.  Federal employees will often be in the highest pay range, although some university programs for public health are comparable.

Opportunities in this field are expanding as higher than the national average.  A 10% increase in job creation is expected to happen between 2012 and 2022, which offers many applicants a chance to experience this career track. 

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