Statistician Job Description
Statisticians use mathematical techniques to analyze and draw conclusions from large amounts of data.
Some statisticians (such as those who work for the US census) develop methods to collect and tabulate the data that they need to work with. Others use proprietary information (such as insurance claims), or work with data that’s been collected by third party sources.
Because they work with such large volumes of data, many statisticians choose to specialize in a particular industry or topic where they can become an expert at working with one type of data.
Though there are many opportunities for employment, many statisticians find work in one of the following industries:
Healthcare. Statisticians who work in healthcare are commonly referred to as biostatisticians. Some are employed by pharmaceutical companies to determine the effectiveness of medicines. Others work for hospitals and health agencies where they try to identify commonalities between sick patients.
Manufacturing. Manufacturing companies often employ statisticians to help with quality control and product testing. For instance, they may devise tests to determine the success rate of a product in different weather conditions.
Government. Just about every government agency has a team of statisticians. As an example, the Department of Labor employs many statisticians to help them develop and analyze changes to the unemployment rate and wages of American workers.
Work Environment and Schedule
Statisticians are commonly employed by scientific research firms, universities, insurance providers, and government agencies.
Most people in this occupation work in offices, but occasional travel to meet with clients or colleagues may be required for some positions.
Nearly all statisticians work full time. In some industries (such as insurance and manufacturing), they face frequent deadlines that increase the demands of the job. As a result, many statisticians put in hours beyond the standard forty hour work week.
How to Become a Statistician
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, economics, or a related field is required for entry-level statistician positions, but the opportunities for advancement can be limited without a graduate degree.
If you’re interested in a career as a statistician, it’s worth pursuing a master’s degree or Ph.D.
Many statisticians use advanced statistical software (such as R). This software requires a background in computer science to use effectively. Graduate students spend a lot of time learning how to effectively use statistical programs, but taking some computer science courses as an undergraduate can be very beneficial.
There are currently 22,560 statisticians in the United States, with 960 new statistician job openings created each year.
Statistician jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Statistician salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most statisticians make between $51,600 – $97,300 per year, or $24.82 – $46.79 per hour.