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Healthcare In Five: Infection Control Specialist

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately 99,000 deaths occur across the United States due to healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). While enhanced safety procedures and healthcare protocols have helped to decrease the number of HAIs, hospitals continue to explore new, data-driven solutions to keeping patients and healthcare workers safe. Infection Prevention Specialists and Infection Control Specialists are responsible for driving these changes.


What Is an Infection Prevention Specialist?

Infection Prevention Specialists are specialized healthcare professionals who work in small, medium, and large healthcare practices to prevent the spread of infection within those practices. Using various data, research, investigative, and analytic tools – these specialists can identify, control, and prevent infections using preventative measures, policy reviews, and implementing health-safety protocols.


What do Infection Control Specialists do?

Infection Prevention Specialists collaborate with healthcare’s administrative and clinical side to identify, control, and prevent diseases from spreading inside healthcare settings. Infection Control Specialists employ various tools and methods to help achieve these goals – including data analysis, investigative research, public and private policy reviews, public health trend reviews, and environmental health analysis. Here are some of the daily skills infection preventionists use in their career:

  • Critical analysis of current healthcare data and public health trends.
  • Synthesizing epidemiologic literature to implement the latest health-safety practices.
  • Understanding and applying principles of ethical conduct to infection prevention.
  • Analyzing quantitative and qualitative data to produce improved patient safety outcomes.
  • Interpret results of data analysis for public health research.


Where do Infection Prevention Specialists Work?

Infection Prevention Specialists work throughout the healthcare continuum but are mostly found in larger healthcare practices such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. These specialists also branch into non-healthcare-related fields, finding work in large corporations, public and private school districts, large athletic organizations, and public health institutions at the local, state, and federal levels. Here are some of the different places Infection Prevention Specialists can find work:

  • Hospitals
  • Primary care/specialty care offices
  • Pediatric care facilities
  • Ambulatory care
  • Home care
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Local, state, and federal public health positions
  • Corporate offices
  • Large athletic organizations
  • Public and private school districts


How to Become an Infection Prevention Specialist

Becoming an Infection Control or Infection Prevention Specialist requires a graduate level of education. While degrees in public health are common among those entering the field – new, more specialized programs are available for those interested in working in infection prevention. In addition, graduate degree programs in Infection Prevention and Epidemiology provide a more enhanced understanding of the practice and better prepare future specialists to serve in these roles.

  1. Graduate high school.
  2. Earn a bachelor’s degree in a healthcare-related field.
    1. Healthcare administration, epidemiology, nursing, and public health are some paths.
  3. Pursue an advanced degree in Infection Prevention and Epidemiology


What Is the Career Outlook of an Infection Prevention Specialist?

Infection Prevention Specialists are in high demand, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. With more medical and non-medical institutions pursuing specialists to keep patients and employees safe – jobs within the career field are expected to grow at an estimated rate of 26% between 2021 and 2031. Those seeking employment within the Infection Prevention career field can also expect their salary to reflect the specialty of their work and the advanced degree level, with a median pay of $78,830.

Infection Prevention and Infection Control Specialists play a critical role in the health and safety of those working in our nation’s healthcare institutions. Become an Infection Prevention or Infection Control Specialist today by learning advanced data analysis, policy review, and research investigation skills with a Master of Science in Infection Prevention and Epidemiology from the University of Providence.