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7+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2016
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I'm looking for advice from current MPH or PhD Epidemiology students or graduates on career paths. I'm confused about what's out there in regards to what jobs are available for masters graduates and what those pay vs phd graduates.

I'm interested in pharmacoepidemiology but a little confused on the steps required for me to get there eventually. I'm starting my MPH Epi at GWU this summer.

Any and all advice is appreciated :)

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I think the important things are to get to become familiar with the methods employed in pharmacoepi is different than etiology epi. A real focus on time-varying methods. Understanding the big limitations of most pharacoepi studies that are conducted in EMR, claims, or other data sources.

That and try and get an internship right away with a drug company or some faculty who focuses on drug research. That experience will set you apart. Other than that, a PhD should be on your radar. While it's not a 100% requirement, everyone but 1 person in my department (~30 people) all have PhDs. Show your ability to conduct research (work with professor, publish, present at conferences) and work with teams of people.

Personally, I actually went a completely academic route. MPH to PhD to a postdoc. But it wasn't necessarily focus on pharmacoepi. Solid epi training, will take you far, though. I was productive during my time, publishing almost 30 papers and abstracts, gave several talks at conferences, and won several awards from scientific organizations. From the time I started my MPH to when i got my current job, it was 2006 (MPH start) to 2015 (job start). So it's a long journey. But be patient. It's not going to happen quickly.

Another option, many CRO's hiring MPH with limited experience. CRO are contract researchers that work with pharma companies all the time. So they're another avenue to get experience if you don't want a PhD.

Hope that helps!