Is Epi for Me?
April 11, 2011 7:31 PM Subscribe
What do you know about careers in epidemiology or biostatistics? Please help me decide if epi would be a good career fit, and whether I should pursue an MPH or MS in the field.
posted by oiseau to work & money (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
After graduating with my BA and spending a couple years in an unrelated field, I'm thinking about going to graduate school to study epidemiology/biostatistics. I enjoy tasks that have a research/investigative aspect, find satisfaction in solving math problems, and like learning about the health of populations and the biological or socioeconomic causes of disease. Reproductive health, infectious disease, illegal drug use, and environmental health are of particular interest, (although I'd certainly hope to have that narrowed down if I decide to apply to grad school!). I tend to be most comfortable working with tangibles or visuals: facts, data, charts, maps, people, or objects. Short-term projects, or a wide variety of projects and tasks, are ideal. Usually I lose interest and focus in endeavors that last for several months or that involve a lot of advance planning. When it comes to working with others v. working alone, I think I’m fairly average: Sitting alone in a cubicle all day is terribly dull, but too much interaction (especially with large groups) makes my head spin a bit.
Based on the above, do you think epidemiology would be a strong career fit for me? Or maybe I should look into something else entirely? I’ve also considered pursing an MD, but it seems like med school grads are coping with huge debt loads and a bureaucratic and controlling health care system.
I'd also love to hear from any epidemiologists (or those of you who know epidemiologists) about what your job is like. What types of tasks do you do on a day-to-day basis? What are the best and worst aspects of your job? Do you enjoy your career and the field? Are there enough job openings and advancement opportunities?
A few other details that might be relevant: I'm 25, not married, and have no debt.
I'm open to any suggestions or advice! Thanks!