The Average Salary With a PhD in Epidemiology

Epidemiologists are paid to conduct research in laboratory environments.
Epidemiologists are paid to conduct research in laboratory environments. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Epidemiologists are medical scientists who study the origins and nature of infectious diseases and attempt to find cures. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,710 epidemiologists were employed in the U.S. in 2010. Most jobs for epidemiologists and other medical scientists need a Ph.D. Their salaries can vary and are affected by factors such as location and industry.

Average Salary

The average salary of an epidemiologist was $68,280 per year as of May 2010, according to the BLS. The median salary was $63,010, with the middle 50 percent earning salaries between $50,930 and $78,530 per year. The highest paid epidemiologists earned $98,380 or greater, while those at the bottom end of the pay scale earned $42,360 per year or less.


Who an epidemiologist works for plays a role in how much he is paid. The BLS indicates that the highest average salary for epidemiologists was in pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing. These epidemiologists earned an average of $104,470 in 2010, according to the BLS. The largest employers of epidemiologists were state government agencies. These agencies paid an average salary of $60,230 in 2010. The federal government also employed a significant number of epidemiologists, who earned an average of $61,060. Medical and surgical hospitals paid an average of $78,850 per year.


Where the epidemiologist works also plays a role in how much she makes. According to the BLS, largest number of epidemiologists worked in Massachusetts and earned an average salary of $87,200 per year. Massachusetts was also the top paying state for this profession. California was second. Epidemiologists in California earned an average salary of $83,150 per year in 2010.

Job Outlook

The BLS projects that the number of new jobs for medical scientists will grow by 40 percent during the period from 2008 to 2018. This is a rate of growth nearly four times the average for all other career fields. The bureau indicates that much of the growth in this field will be dependent upon the continued growth of the biotechnology field. This growth is expected to fuel research into the treatment of most major diseases like AIDS and various types of cancers.

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