Professional profiles for epidemiologists vary a lot between countries. At the European level there is currently no formal recognition of epidemiology as a professional specialisation. Still, disease prevention and control depends reliable epidemiological evidence as basis for public health action. 

The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) has developed core competencies for field epidemiologists in the European Union (EU) through a process of consultations with all EU Member States, the EAN, the US CDC,TEPHINETASPHER and the World Health Organization (WHO).

This has resulted in a list of core competencies for field epidemiologists working at all the levels from subnational (provinces, districts, regions) to national and supra-national (European and international) in the public health administrations of the EU.

Category Area domain

Specific for the profession

Public health

1. Public health science

2. Public health policy

Applied Epidemiology

3. Risk assessment

4. Public health surveillance

5. Outbreak investigation

6. Epidemiological studies

7. Infectious diseases

8. Laboratory issues

9. Public health guidance

Common to other professions


10. Probability

11. Inferential statistics

12. Sampling

Applied Informatics

13. Internet

14. Statistical and other data analysis

15. Editing and presentations


16. Risk communication

17. Written communication

18. Oral communication

19. Use of new technologies


20. Planning and use of resources

21. Team building and negotiation
Capacity development

22. Mentorship

23. Training


24. Protection of individuals

25. Confidentiality

26. Conflicts of interests


  1. CORE COMPETENCIES for public health epidemiologists working in the area of communicable disease surveillance and response, in the European Union. Technical document. ECDC, Stockholm, January 2008