Infection control professionals include epidemiologists, health care administrators, nurses and microbiologists who have substantial knowledge of patient care practices and risk prevention. Infection control is a relatively new field, according to the website BNET, and practitioners working in this area are often responsible for ensuring the general public’s safety through educational campaigns. Infection control professionals also enforce policies and recommend the proper procedures for treating patients with infectious diseases. These individuals most often work in hospitals, government agencies and laboratories.
Epidemiologists research human diseases and conditions, and develop preventive mechanisms to control diseases that spread. The minimum education requirement for epidemiologists is a Ph.D. in biological science or a Doctorate in Medicine. Epidemiologists engage in advanced research projects to be used in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases. Epidemiologists who specialize in infection control work in laboratories, state health agencies and hospitals; they can also work as researchers and educators. In 2009, the median salary for epidemiologists was $61,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Health Care Administrator
Individuals with strong business and management skills can work in administrative fields at various infection control facilities. Health care administrators employed at hospitals oversee patient safety regulations and compliance programs. The minimum education requirement for health care administrator jobs is a master’s degree. Depending on the position, infection control administrators can either work as specialists in charge of a specific clinical area or as generalists. In 2009, the average salary for health care administrators was $81,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Registered nurses who specialize in epidemiology can work alongside medical doctors at hospitals and clinics. Infection control nurses are trained in the principles of epidemiology, and are responsible for educating employees about infection control and reporting cases of infectious disease outbreaks. Nurse epidemiologists can find employment opportunities at government agencies such as the Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control. The minimum education requirement for nurse epidemiologists is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school of nursing. In 2011, nurse epidemiologists earned an average annual salary of $51,000, according to the career website Simply Hired.
Microbiologists study the relationship between diseases and organisms. Clinical microbiologists play a key role in hospital infection prevention and health care epidemiology programs. Clinical microbiologists work in hospital laboratories, and specialize in infection prevention. In addition to their clinical duties, microbiologist who specialize in infection control recommend policies and procedures for various prevention programs. The minimum education requirement for microbiologist jobs is a master’s degree or Ph.D. In 2009, the median salary for microbiologists was $66,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Epidemiologists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical and Health Services Managers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009: Microbiologists
- Duke University: Human Resources: Infection Control Nurse
- BNET; For Your Next Career Move, Why Not Infection Control?; Joan Howie
- Simply Hired: Average Nurse Epidemiologist Salaries
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