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Career and Education Opportunities for Epidemiologists in Seattle, Washington

Epidemiologists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Seattle, Washington area. Currently, 280 people work as epidemiologists in Washington. This is expected to grow by 14% to about 320 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for epidemiologists, which sees this job pool growing by about 15.1% over the next eight years. In general, epidemiologists investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, and other health outcomes and develop the means for prevention and control.

Epidemiologists earn about $32 hourly or $68,270 annually on average in Washington and about $29 per hour or $61,360 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Sciences, people working as epidemiologists in Washington earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Life Sciences nationally. Epidemiologists work in a variety of jobs, including: communicable disease specialist, clinical laboratory scientist, and pharmacoepidemiologist.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as an epidemiologist. Given that the most common education level for epidemiologists is a Master's degree, it will take about six years to learn to be an epidemiologist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with a Bachelor's degree.


Epidemiologist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, epidemiologists investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, and other health outcomes and develop the means for prevention and control.

Epidemiologists formulate and direct studies to investigate human or animal disease, preventive methods, and treatments for disease. They also communicate research findings on various types of diseases to health practitioners and the public. Equally important, epidemiologists have to furnish expertise in the layout, management and evaluation of study protocols and health status questionnaires, sample selection and analysis. They are often called upon to oversee public health programs, including statistical analysis, health care planning and public health improvement. They are expected to investigate diseases or parasites to establish cause and risk factors, progress or mode of transmission. Finally, epidemiologists educate healthcare staff and the public about infectious and communicable diseases, including disease transmission and prevention.

Every day, epidemiologists are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to read and understand documents and reports. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for epidemiologists to monitor and report incidents of infectious diseases to local and state health agencies. They are often called upon to confer with and advise physicians, educators, researchers, government health officials and others regarding medical applications of sciences, such as physics and chemistry. They also standardize drug dosages, methods of immunization, and processes for manufacture of drugs and medicinal compounds. They are sometimes expected to teach principles of medicine and medical and laboratory procedures to physicians and technicians. Somewhat less frequently, epidemiologists are also expected to supervise professional, technical and clerical personnel.

Epidemiologists sometimes are asked to ready and analyze samples to study effects of drugs or microorganisms on cell structure and tissue. They also have to be able to formulate, administer and evaluate health safety standards and programs to further optimize public health, conferring with health department, industry personnel, physicians and others And finally, they sometimes have to teach principles of medicine and medical and laboratory procedures to physicians and technicians.

Like many other jobs, epidemiologists must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • Medical Scientist. Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.
  • Microbiologist. Investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Park Ranger. Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.
  • Zoologist. Study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.


University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Epidemiology which graduated thirty-one and fifteen students respectively in 2008.


Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.