Blog

COVID-19 Pandemic: 5 Careers You Should Know About

POSTED on 07/29/2020 by Be Something Amazing

Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists are scientists that study diseases within populations of people. They investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, or health outcomes. They also may develop means for prevention and control. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, epidemiologists are essential to determine how quickly the disease is spreading and helping to predict what will happen with the disease in the future. Epidemiologists also help us understand the origins of the disease and can help identify risk factors that can be used to help individuals make decisions about behavior (like hand washing and social distancing). 

Average Salary:  $70,990

Patient Contact: Low

Employment Outlook: From 2014 to 2024, epidemiologists can expect to see a growth in demand of 6% for their skills. This is higher than the national average for most other professions.

Education: Master’s degree, 5-7 years

Pulmonologist

A pulmonologist is an internal medicine physician that specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions and diseases that affect the lungs, bronchial tubes, and the respiratory system. Conditions related to the lungs can also directly affect the chest and therefore pulmonologists must also be trained in diagnosing and treating diseases such as asthma, emphysema, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. 

Pulmonologists work closely with respiratory therapists to help treat and combat COVID-19 in patients, especially those with underlying respiratory conditions. 

Average Salary:  $331,676

Patient Contact: High

Employment Outlook: From 2018 to 2028, all physicians and surgeons, including pulmonologists, can expect to see a growth in demand of 7% for their skills. This is higher than the national average for most other professions.

Education: Medical School, 8-10 years

Respiratory therapist

A respiratory therapist is a certified medical professional who specializes in pulmonary medicine in order to work therapeutically with people suffering from pulmonary disease. RT’s consult with patients to develop a treatment plan and perform various diagnostic tests. RT’s work with a variety of different breathing issues such as chronic respiratory disease, asthma, or emphysema. 

RT’s have been critical during the COVID-19 pandemic as they are working on the front lines treating patients who have been put on ventilators and are suffering from low lung function. RT’s are there every step of the way once a patient is deemed to have issues with their lungs. They administer treatment and are allowed autonomy to alter treatments if necessary, until the patient recovers. 

Average Salary: $63,950

Patient Contact: High

Employment Outlook:  From 2018 to 2028, Respiratory Therapists can expect to see a growth in demand of 21% for their skills. This is much higher than the national average for most other professions.

Education: Associates degree, 2-4 years

Occupational therapist

Occupational Therapy is a form of rehabilitation that helps people with health challenges re-engage in meaningful daily activities. OT’s focus on education, training, and participation in everyday activities rather than relying on pharmaceutical or surgical interventions. OT’s have a holistic perspective where they focus on adapting the environment to fit their client. An OT’s job can be very diverse, ranging from working with children with disabilities to providing support for older adults who are experiencing physical and cognitive changes. 

OT’s are required to have an undergraduate degree that is focused in the sciences and they then go onto either complete a masters or a doctorate in Occupational Therapy. After completing their degree, it is required to pass the national board exam and apply for licensure to practice in the state of their choice.  

OT’s are not necessarily front line workers in the COVID-19 pandemic, however they are essential to helping patient recover after they have recovered from the virus. OT’s are also important during quarantine, even to patient who haven’t been infected. These patients daily lives have been changed due to social restrictions and they are having to learn how to adapt to a new way of living. OT’s are there to help individuals, families, and communities socially and environmentally adapt to changes. They also assist in mental health, assistive technology, and telehealth. 

Average Salary: $86,210

Patient Contact: High

Employment Outlook: From 2014 to 2024, Occupational Therapists can expect to see a growth in demand of 27% for their skills. This is much higher than the national average for most other professions. 

Education: Master’s or Doctorate degree, 6-8 years

Infection Control Practitioner 

An infection control practitioner is responsible for disease prevention in hospitals and healthcare facilities. They are often a registered nurse and must have strong research and investigative skills. This position requires knowledge of epidemiology and application of public health practices in an acute care hospital environment. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, need for infection control practitioners is at an all time high. They are working in hospitals to educate staff on best practices for infection prevention and making sure that the hospital is up-to-date on infection prevention methods. They also work with and educate patients on how to best prevent infection when hospitalized and how to prevent recurrence when they go back home. 

Average Salary: $91,300

Patient Contact: Medium

Employment Outlook: From 2014 to 2024, infection control practitioners can expect to see a growth in demand of 10% for their skills. This is much higher than the national average for most other professions.  

Education: Master’s degree, 5-7 years