Epidemiologists centre their research on origin and causes for illness eruption in humans. They determine the way in which diseases are spread out and propose risk preventive measures to health policy organisms.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to epidemiologist:

epidemiology scholar
epidemiology researcher
epidemiology research analyst
epidemiology science researcher
epidemiology research scientist
epidemiology scientist
epidemiology analyst

Minimum qualifications

Master’s degree is generally required to work as epidemiologist. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Epidemiologist is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Epidemiologist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to epidemiologist.


Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of epidemiologist. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of epidemiologist with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of epidemiologist.

Preventive medicine: The measures taken for disease prevention in a specific area or a group of people.
Biometrics: The science that statistically analyses human characteristics such as retina, voice or DNA for identification purposes.
Communicable diseases: Communicable diseases is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
Project management: Understand project management and the activities which comprise this area. Know the variables implied in project management such as time, resources, requirements, deadlines, and responding to unexpected events.
Statistics: The study of statistical theory, methods and practices such as collection, organisation, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data. It deals with all aspects of data including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments in order to forecast and plan work-related activities.
Public health: The principles of health and sickness affecting the population, including the means for health promotion and prevention and community and primary care.
Epidemiology: The branch of medicine that deals with the incidence, distribution and control of diseases. The disease aetiology, transmission, outbreak investigation, and comparisons of treatment effects.
Scientific research methodology: The theoretical methodology used in scientific research involving doing background research, constructing an hypothesis, testing it, analysing data and concluding the results.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of epidemiologist.

Apply statistical analysis techniques: Use models (descriptive or inferential statistics) and techniques (data mining or machine learning) for statistical analysis and ICT tools to analyse data, uncover correlations and forecast trends.
Perform scientific research: Gain, correct or improve knowledge about phenomena by using scientific methods and techniques, based on empirical or measurable observations.
Apply scientific methods: Apply scientific methods and techniques to investigate phenomena, by acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
Gather experimental data: Collect data resulting from the application of scientific methods such as test methods, experimental design or measurements.
Take disease prevention measures: Develop, define, implement and evaluate actions to prevent diseases and infections, striving for the enhancement of the health and quality of life for all citizens.
Report analysis results: Produce research documents or give presentations to report the results of a conducted research and analysis project, indicating the analysis procedures and methods which led to the results, as well as potential interpretations of the results.
Prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases in the community: Cooperate with public health services and local communities in order to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases, recommending pre-emptive measures and treatment options.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of epidemiologist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Sas language: The techniques and principles of software development, such as analysis, algorithms, coding, testing and compiling of programming paradigms in SAS language.
Microbiology-bacteriology: Microbiology-Bacteriology is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
Biological chemistry: Biological chemistry is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
General medicine: General medicine is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
Virology: The structure, characteristics, evolution and interactions of viruses and the diseases they cause.
Laboratory techniques: Techniques applied in the different fields of natural science in order to obtain experimental data such as gravimetric analysis, gas chromatography, electronic or thermic methods.
Immunology: Immunology is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
Biology: Tissues, cells, and functions of plant and animal organisms and their interdependencies and interactions with each other and the environment.
Professional documentation in health care: The written standards applied in the health care professional environments for documentation purposes of one`s activity.
Statistical analysis system software: Specific software system (SAS) used for advanced analytics, business intelligence, data management, and predictive analytics.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of epidemiologist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Educate on the prevention of illness: Offer evidence-based advice on how to avoid ill health, educate and advise individuals and their carers on how to prevent ill health and/or be able to advise how to improve their environment and health conditions. Provide advice on the identification of risks leading to ill health and help to increase the patients’ resilience by targeting prevention and early intervention strategies.
Inform policy makers on health-related challenges: Provide useful information related to health care professions to ensure policy decisions are made in the benefit of communities.
Perform laboratory tests: Carry out tests in a laboratory to produce reliable and precise data to support scientific research and product testing.
Manage clinical risk: Improve the quality and safe delivery of healthcare, placing special emphasis on identifying those circumstances that place clients, their families and carers, staff, students and others at risk of harm and act to prevent or control those risks.
Assist in clinical trials: Work with fellow scientists on clinical trials in order to improve medical methods for preventing, detecting, diagnosing, or treating diseases.
Analyse blood samples: Analyse blood samples using computer-aided and manual techniques, looking for white or red blood cell abnormalities and other risk factors.
Develop scientific theories: Formulate scientific theories based on empirical observations, gathered data and theories of other scientists.
Manufacture medicines: Formulate and compound medicines performing pharmaceutical calculations, selecting the appropriate route of administration and dosage form for the medicine, the appropriate ingredients and excipients of the required quality standard, and preparing pharmaceutical products.
Develop scientific research protocols: Develop and record the procedural method used for a specific scientific experiment in order to enable its replication.
Develop vaccines: Create drugs that provide immunity against particular diseases by doing research and laboratory testing.
Archive scientific documentation: Store documents such as protocols, analysis results and scientific data using archiving systems to enable scientists and engineers to take methods and results from previous studies into account for their research.
Contribute to public health campaigns: Contribute to local or national public health campaigns by evaluating health priorities, the government changes in regulations and advertising the new trends in relation to health care and prevention.
Write scientific papers: Present the hypothesis, findings, and conclusions of your scientific research in your field of expertise in a professional publication.
Develop communicable disease control policies: Develop policies, guidelines, operational research, and strategies for the control of infectious diseases that can be transferred from human to human or from animal to human.
Advise on legislative acts: Advise officials in a legislature on the propositioning of new bills and the consideration of items of legislation.
Assess environmental impact: Monitor environmental impacts and carry out assessments in order to identify and to reduce the organisation’s environmental risks while taking costs into account.
Contribute to practice innovation in health care: Contribute to improving care in the daily practice, by adapting to new technological improvements or innovations related to devices, material, procedures or guidelines used in health care.

ISCO group and title

2131 – Biologists, botanists, zoologists and related professionals





  1. Epidemiologist – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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