How Do You Become a Statistician?

Individuals who are good at and enjoy working with numbers often wonder how to become a statistician and what type of career it offers. Statisticians typically have a graduate degree in mathematics or a related field. Becoming a statistician requires a lot of education and training, but the end result is being qualified for some very lucrative, rewarding and challenging careers in various industries. Here is information on how to become a statistician, what they do and what the career outlook is for graduates entering this field.

What is a Statistician?

Statisticians are often grouped in the same category as mathematicians because their careers and duties are so similar; they both analyze statistics and data and apply statistical procedures to assist in solving problems in whatever industry in which they’re employed. Statisticians develop mathematical theories, concepts and rules in subjects like geometry or algebra. After analyzing the data, they determine what data is necessary to solve certain problems and then apply their theories to solve the problems. The also design statistical models and experiments to collect and analyze data. Statisticians report the conclusions drawn from their analyses to management and advise accordingly.

How to Become a Statistician

Although some statistician positions can be had with a bachelor’s degree, statisticians generally need at least a master’s degree in statistics or mathematics. The degree required is often determined by the employment. A statistician working in a private industry may have a doctoral degree, while one working for the federal government may be hired with a bachelor’s degree. Regardless of the degree level, the individual must have extensive coursework in mathematics. This is particularly true for candidates hired with just a bachelor’s degree.

High school students who know they want to work as statisticians are advised to take as many math courses as possible while still in high school. A student pursuing a graduate degree in statistics will typically complete courses in engineering, computer programming, calculus, data analysis, linear algebra, experimental design, statistical theory, probability and survey methodology. Statistician master degree programs can be found at many colleges or universities and typically take from two to three years if the student already has a bachelor’s degree. Earning a doctorate can add an additional one to two years.

Career Outlook and Salary Potential

Statisticians are expected to see an employment growth of 34 percent during the 2016-2026 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With more data available through the Internet, there will be more and new areas in need of analysis. Also contributing to the growth is the increasing use of statistical analysis to make business decisions in various industries.

U.S. News & World Report ranks statisticians number one among best business jobs;  number two among best STEM jobs, and number six among best jobs. Statisticians earned wages that ranged from $50,660 to $133,720 or more with the average annual wage at $88,980, according to the BLS. Statisticians work in various industries, including areas like government, healthcare, academia, and research and development.

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Working as a mathematician or statistician may seem like mundane work to some, but to the mathematically-inclined individual, it can be exciting, fun and filled with challenges. Becoming a statistician can be the first step towards a rewarding career doing something that comes natural to many.