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The role of an Infection Control Practitioner

A gloved hand holding medical samples

An Infection Control Practitioner is a highly-skilled and sought-after healthcare professional who is responsible for the prevention, investigation, observation and reporting of infectious diseases across a wide range of environments. With an extensive number of applications and areas of expertise, it can sometimes be difficult to discover the key facts about this wide-ranging role.

Is this a career you’re considering? Learn more…


Who can perform this role?

Those who choose to progress to a senior infection control role are usually already working within the healthcare profession (often as a specialist Infection Control Nurse, environmental health officer or other healthcare professional with responsibility for infection control).

However, in order to gain a promotion to a more senior role like an Infection Control Practitioner, a postgraduate qualification is also required. A postgraduate qualification in infection control is valuable for many, as the prevention and control of infections is the responsibility of all healthcare professionals.


What are the responsibilities?

Depending on the role, an Infection Control Practitioner will have varying responsibilities. All practitioners are required to have the latest knowledge and understanding of infection control practice, and to be able to develop and implement proactive strategies to reduce the spread of infections. They may also perform a reactive role by being able to respond appropriately to an outbreak of infection within a community. Practitioners may engage with policy makers and other clinicians on matters relating to infection control policy and training.

Responsibilities in other areas can also include leading vaccine coordination projects, health data analysis, policy creation, patient education, healthcare professional training and scientific research.


Where can I expect to work?

Infectious diseases do not respect borders. As travel between countries becomes increasingly accessible, infectious diseases can spread more rapidly across borders than ever before. As such, the control of infectious diseases is truly a global concern. The demand for infection control awareness has increased in recent years due to the rise in antibiotic resistance, increasing cases of HIV and outbreaks of Ebola and the Zika virus

Due to this worldwide concern, practitioners can expect to have the freedom to work in almost any country and in many health-related environments including hospitals, communities, nursing homes, schools and more.

Many worldwide organisations also regularly recruit Infection Control Practitioners, including the NHS, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, Public Health England and the World Health Organization.


What is the salary and demand for this role?

Salary and demand expectations will naturally vary depending on your experience and location. However, “the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted employment growth of 19% for registered nurses between 2012-2022, attributing the rapid growth to an aging population, an emphasis on prevention and scientific advances in the healthcare industry (”1

This same source also reported the median salary of registered nurses to be £50,362 ($66,220) in 2013.


How can I get into this career?

We’re so glad you asked! Here at University of Essex Online, our MSc Infection Control is the perfect pathway to this career. Delivered as an online course, the MSc Infection Control course gives you the flexibility to study whilst you continue to work full-time. It also allows you to interact with other infection control specialists spread throughout the UK and internationally.


Want to learn more? Download our prospectus today