How to Become a Statistician
If you're good at math and are interested in science then you might like to become a statistician. Statisticians apply the principles of mathematics to practical fields such as research or data collections.
Statisticians are found working in many different fields. Scientific research, market research, and opinion polling are just a few of the areas their mathematical know-how can be found hard at work. Without the help of statisticians, many advances in the military, medicine, psychology, and education would not have been made possible.
About one third of statisticians are employed by the government. Many others work in medicine, engineering, or other fields of research. To become a statistician you will need some postgraduate education.
Education Requirements to Become a Statistician
If you're in high school and would like to become a statistician, then you should choose subjects including mathematics, computer science, and other electives within science.
At college, a good choice is a four year statistics degree, biostatistics, or advanced mathematics degree. This will allow you to take a job with the federal government or other fields as a statistician.
It's important to note however, that most jobs in statistics require a masters degree. After you complete your undergraduate degree, you can go on to complete a masters or a PhD in statistics. Those with an undergraduate degree in a different area, such as biology or psychology, would also be eligible for these programs. A masters degree takes between two and three years to complete, while a doctorate take around three to four years.
A masters degree in statistics will qualify you for many jobs in the private sector, as well as in government. A PhD will qualify you for a role in academia or advanced research.
Strong computer skills are also required when you become a statistician. It's likely that you will gain these skills while you are at college, however, if you feel you need extra help in this area then you might like to take a short course, or an elective subject in computer science.
Statistician Job Description
Statisticians work in many different industries to provide data collection and analysis. Statisticians work to put together experiments and research projects, or they may also design surveys and questionnaires. They then use mathematics to analyze results and form reports by taking raw data and organizing it to be more clear and succinct. This information is used by governments and business to interpret data and make decisions.
When you become a statistician, you will specialize in a particular field. Some work within medicine to conduct research into new treatments and drugs, while others work in business or market research, the military, or engineering. Statisticians have specialized knowledge of their industry, and they ways that mathematics can be applied in that area.
Some of the tasks of a statistician include:
- Designing surveys, questionnaires, or experiments to collect data
- Designing mathematical models to interpret data
- Analyzing raw data
- Creating reports of results
- Making recommendations based on findings
- Using computer systems based on mathematics
Statistician Salary and Career Path
When you become a statistician, your career path will depend on your education. Those with a bachelors degree will find employment within government, while a masters degree is required for most jobs in the private sector. A doctorate is needed for advanced research positions or to work in a college.
Many statisticians study part-time while working to gain postgraduate qualifications. With experience, you can expect to move on to positions with more responsibility. Some move on to supervisory roles, and others become teachers at college, while some move into different areas of research.
The median wage for a statistician is $72,000 a year, but the top 10% of earners made over $117,000 a year. Those working in government tend to earn a higher salary than those in the private sector.
For more information on a career in statistics, take a look at the American Statistical Association website.
Some similar roles to that of statistician that you might be interested in include:
- College professor
- Math teacher
- Computer scientist
- Financial analyst
- Market researcher
If you have strong mathematical skills and would like a role where you can apply them to real world situations, then you might like to become a statistician. Job prospects are good with a secure role and good salary available for successful candidates.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics