Epidemiology is not a licensed profession per se, but many people do enter the field with licenses in health care professions. Master’s and PhD programs often favor candidates who have undergraduate degrees in either health or science. Candidates with licenses and/ or advanced degrees may have opportunities for shortened programs.
Become an Epidemiologist
- Career Plan: How to Become an Epidemiologist
- Schools offering: Health, Science or Math programs – Undergraduate
Epidemiologists who work in health care settings may pursue voluntary certification through the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology. This is outside confirmation that they have professional level skill. Epidemiologists are eligible if they have either a bachelor’s degree or a health care license, work in a health care setting, and count infection prevention or control among their main duties. Another requirement is having “sufficient experience” in several aspects of infection control, including surveillance of potential outbreaks and analysis and interpretation of infection-related data. The CBIC stresses that the exam was intended for those with at least two years of experience, but this is not an actual mandate.
Candidates should include a supervisor reference in their application package. Self-employed candidates should include references from three clients. Initial certification requires a multiple choice examination, taken at a testing center.
Recertification is done every five years and requires another examination. This time professionals have a choice: retake the original exam or take the Self-Assessment Recertification Exam, which is open book, but billed as difficult and designed for professionals with at least seven years of experience. The SARE can be taken online in one’s home.