What you need to know
Statisticians analyze data and apply theories and techniques, such as statistical modeling, to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields.
Statisticians work in many fields, such as education, marketing, psychology, sports, or any other field that requires the collection and analysis of data. Statisticians typically work in offices and sometimes work on teams with engineers, scientists, and other professionals.
Some of the things a statistician might do:
- Decide what data are needed to answer specific questions or problems
- Apply mathematical theories and techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering, the sciences, and other fields
- Design surveys, experiments, or opinion polls to collect data
- Develop statistical models to analyze data
- Interpret data and report conclusions drawn from their analyses
- Use data analysis to support and improve business decisions
- Analytical skills: Statisticians use mathematical techniques and models to analyze large amounts of data. They must determine the appropriate software packages and understand computer programming languages to design and develop new techniques and models. They must also be precise and accurate in their analysis.
- Communication skills: Statisticians must interact with, and propose solutions to, people who may not have extensive knowledge of mathematics.
- Math skills: Statisticians use statistics, calculus, and linear algebra to develop their models and analyses.
- Problem-solving skills: Statisticians must devise new solutions to problems encountered by scientists or engineers.
The average pay for statisticians in the United States ranges from $53,000 to $139,350 as of May 2018.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Overall employment of statisticians is projected to grow 34 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Businesses will need these workers to analyze the increasing volume of digital and electronic data.
Statisticians typically need a master’s degree but some entry-level positions may accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree.
Most statisticians have degrees in mathematics, economics, computer science, or another quantitative field. A degree in statistics typically includes courses in linear algebra, calculus, experimental design, survey methodology, probability, and statistical theory.
Many colleges and universities advise statistics students to take courses in a related field, such as computer science, engineering, or physics. These courses can help prepare students to work in a variety of industries. Coursework in engineering or physical science, for example, may be useful for statisticians working in manufacturing on quality or productivity improvement. A background in biology, chemistry, or health sciences is useful for work testing pharmaceutical or agricultural products.