What Does a Career in Statistics Look LIke?

by TBS Staff

Updated May 23, 2023 • 3 min read

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Statisticians analyze data and use statistical techniques to solve business, healthcare, and technology problems. Businesses increasingly depend on statistical analysis to improve efficiency and increase profits, leading to a high demand for statisticians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 31% increase in statistician jobs by 2028.

Essential Career Information

Median Annual Salary $87,780
Employment Growth Forecast from 2018-2028 31%
Annual Salary of the Highest 10% $139,350
Number of New Jobs from 2018-2028 13,600
Annual Salary of the Lowest 10% $53,000
Average Entry-Level Education Requirements Master's Degree

Source: BLS

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What is a Statistician?

Statisticians collect, analyze, and interpret data to solve problems in a variety of industries, including government, healthcare, and research and development. Government statisticians may analyze data on the unemployment rate, the spread of diseases, or the number of endangered species.

In healthcare, statisticians may work for pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, or public health agencies, designing studies to test the effectiveness of drugs or track the spread of infectious diseases. Research and development statisticians design experiments to test products, analyze consumer data, and conduct price analyses on consumer goods.

Statisticians can also work in academia as professors, training undergraduate and graduate students on statistical analysis and conducting advanced research in the field. In every field, statisticians draw on analytical, problem-solving, and mathematics skills. They bring precision and accuracy to their jobs and rely on communication skills to propose solutions to decision-makers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of a statistician?

Statisticians help organizations make informed decisions by analyzing data and presenting it to managers, executives, and other stakeholders within an organization.

What work do statisticians do?

Statisticians gather data, analyze numerical information using statistical techniques, and draw conclusions from their analysis. They then present the results to organizations and stakeholders.

What does it take to be a statistician?

Statisticians need strong analytical skills to effectively analyze data. They also need problem-solving skills to propose effective solutions based on their analysis. Most positions require a master's degree.

Are statisticians in high demand?

Yes, demand for statisticians is much faster than average, with 31% projected job growth by 2028. The average statistician salary exceeds $85,000.

What Does a Statistician Do?

Statisticians solve problems through the application of statistical theories and techniques. They start by collecting data through surveys, experiments, and opinion polls. They rely on sampling methods to collect data from representative groups, determining the size and type of the sample based on statistical methods.

After collecting data, statisticians use software to analyze it, looking for any trends. They also determine the margin of error in a survey to understand the validity of the data. Statisticians then draw conclusions and present their findings in reports, charts, and graphs. Statisticians often collaborate with engineers, scientists, industrial designers, and other professionals to solve problems.

Because statisticians work in so many industries, they often specialize their skills. A research biostatistician, for example, uses statistical theory to understand public health, health science, and medical research problems. They help medical researchers design medical studies and determine the statistical significance of clinical correlations. A survey statistician specializes in designing and interpreting survey results, while a biometrician uses statistical methods to understand biological data.

Statistician vs Mathematician

Both statisticians and mathematicians work in data science and analytics and typically need a master's degree. Mathematicians often work on more theoretical problems, while statisticians apply mathematical techniques to practical issues. For example, mathematicians may identify new mathematical formulas or research mathematical principles, while statisticians apply these formulas and principles to answer specific questions.

How to Become a Statistician

Most statistician jobs require a master's degree for entry-level careers, though some employers, including the federal government, hire candidates with a bachelor's degree. During a bachelor's degree in mathematics or statistics, students take classes on topics like algebra, applied mathematics, statistics, and calculus. A master's degree in applied mathematics or statistics can help statisticians advance their careers. Master's students take classes on topics like quantitative design, survey methodology, and statistical theory.

Prospective students considering statistician degrees at any level benefit from attending an accredited institution. Colleges with regional accreditation meet the highest standards for liberal arts and research education. Some fields also offer programmatic accreditation. For example, the Council on Education for Public Health accredits biostatistics programs.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

A bachelor's degree in mathematics or statistics prepares graduates for some entry-level statistician jobs, including for the federal government. During a bachelor's degree, math and statistics majors build problem-solving and critical thinking skills through classes like linear algebra, calculus, and mathematical theory. In addition to math and statistics classes, students take general education courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences

Pursuing specialized classes in health sciences, marketing, or engineering trains statisticians for specific careers after graduation. A bachelor's degree generally takes four years of full-time study to complete.

Master's Degree Programs

A master's degree in statistics meets the entry-level education requirement for most statistician jobs. During a master's program, students take advanced coursework in mathematical modeling, statistical methods, survey design, and data analysis. Many programs also incorporate classes in data science, analytics, and probability.

A master's degree in statistics generally takes two years for full-time students to complete. Some programs may offer an accelerated route to the degree. Working professionals may benefit from the flexibility of an online program. Graduates can pursue careers as biometricians, biostatisticians, environmental statisticians, and survey statisticians. A master's degree also prepares graduates for doctoral programs in statistics.

Doctoral Degree Programs

A doctorate qualifies graduates for top positions in the field. Professionals with a doctorate in statistics can work as tenure-track professors or pursue leadership roles in a business or organization. Doctoral coursework in statistics emphasizes quantitative methodology, hypothesis testing, and modeling techniques.

Most doctoral programs require 4-5 years, including 2-3 years of coursework followed by two or more years of dissertation work. Doctoral students take specialized coursework in their field, including research classes. Graduates often pursue opportunities in research and academia.

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