It is not uncommon for a statistician to be referred to as a mathematician, but it is important to understand these two career paths are different. In both roles, a person will focus on fixing business problems; however, as a mathematician, a heavy emphasis is placed on theoretical research. As a statistician, you will focus on practical application. For now, let’s take a closer look at the career of a statistician.
What Does a Statistician Do?
The goal of a statistician will depend on the project being completed. It is not uncommon for statisticians to work on several projects at once, however, for the most part, they work on a single project at a time before moving to the next one. A mathematical or statistical theory is used at the core of a statistician’s job role, helping employers to collect, analyze and interpret numerical data. Once analyzed, a statistician makes meaningful use out of the data and compiles reports so that the employer can use the information to improve its functions. There are many fields of study that you can specialize in as a statistician, including:
On a typical day as a statistician, you will spend your time preparing data and processing it in an organized manner. You will be responsible for checking the data for inaccuracies as well as making weight analyses regarding raw data. You may also spend much of your time designing software applications. A typical day also includes sending emails, compiling reports, using the phone, attending meetings, working with clients, and meeting strict deadlines.
Knowing How to Become a Statistician
To become a statistician, you will need a bachelor’s degree at the minimum. It is recommended, however, that you earn a graduate-level degree as this will expand your career opportunities as well as help you earn a higher salary. When you enroll in college to earn a degree to become a statistician, you will have the option to major in various degree fields. The top five degree fields that statisticians choose to study are:
- Computer science
While earning your undergraduate degree, it is of the utmost importance that you take advantage of internships and opportunities that provide you with real-life experience in your field of study. You may even want to consider studying in a foreign country for a semester or two as this can greatly enhance your networking capabilities and expand your possible career paths once you graduate.
It will take you about four years to earn your undergraduate degree. If you take courses during the summertime, you may be able to reduce this amount of time. Once you earn your bachelor’s, you’ll want to enroll directly into a master’s program, which takes about one year to finish. Following this, you should consider earning a doctorate degree in statistics. Depending on where you go to school, you may be able to work on both your master’s and doctorate degree at the same time.
As part of your doctoral degree program, you will spend much time completing research-based assignments as well as completing a dissertation. If you don’t complete a dissertation, you will not earn your Ph.D. Your dissertation will cover a broad range of statistical topics, including:
- Multivariate analysis
- Time series analysis
- Methods of sampling
- Statistical computing
Statisticians can work in either the public or private sectors. When working in the private sector, they will often find employment in medicine, business or economics. According to Recruiter.com, with little to no experience and fresh out of college with your bachelor’s degree, you can expect to make about $65,000 a year. However, as you gain experience and continue your education, you will likely end up making closer to $100k a year. The highest paying jobs for statisticians can be found in the District of Columbia, where average salaries in this line of work are about $102k a year.
What Skills Are Needed to Become a Statistician?
Statisticians usually work 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday. They also commonly get to take advantage of benefits, including health insurance, retirement packages and more. To excel in this line of work, you will need to master the following skills:
- Analytical skills
- Ability to influence others
- Computer literacy
- Mathematical ability
- Ability to work alone or with others
- Written skills
- Oral communication skills
- Ability to compile reports
- Attention to detail
- Ability to meet strict deadlines
- High level of accuracy
- Problem-solving skills
- Extensive understanding of statistical terms
What Kinds of Jobs Can a Statistician Get?
As a statistician, there are many job roles that you can fill. Some of the most common titles filled by statisticians include the following:
- Human resource statistician
- Assistant Division Chief for Statistical Program Management
- Institutional Research Director
- Private statistical
- Applied statistician
- Analytical statistician
- Psychometric consultant
- Clinical data coordinator
- Clinical statistics manager
- Mathematical statistician
- Education research analyst
Is a Data Scientist and Statistician the Same Thing?
If you choose to earn a degree in data science, you can use this credential to become a statistician. In fact, a data scientist and statistician are often referred to as one in the same. They both perform the same duties and have the ability to find employment working under multiple other titles. The most common job titles that you can work under with a degree in data science include: