A number of different factors should be considered when attempting to estimate the typical or average salary of a statistician; such factors include the amount of formalized education and training completed by the statistician, the prospective site of employment, and the number and quality of professional credentials and organizations the statistician may hold or belong to, respectively. For example, a statistician with a considerable amount of formal education, supplemental institutional or field training, employment in a highly regarded company, and numerous certifications accreditation from professional organizations will likely have a higher overall earning potential than a statistician of comparable skills who does not have such a background.
However, there are a number of other factors that should also be taken into consideration, such as the number of employees at the statistician’s place of work and the geographic and regional variables associated with the site of employment. As a rule, statisticians who work for large firms or corporations in dense urban areas can expect to earn a higher annual wage than statisticians who are employed by smaller businesses or who work farther away from metropolitan areas.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of a statistician employed in May 2008 in the United States was $72,610. The middle 50 percent of people employed as statisticians earned an annual wage somewhere between $52,730 and $95,170. The lowest 10 percent of statisticians earned an annual wage that was significantly lower than the median at $39,740, but the highest 10 percent of statisticians broke the six figure barrier and earned over $117,190.*
Statisticians who found employment in the Federal Government could expect an average annual wage of $92,322 in March 2009, while statisticians who were employed as mathematical statisticians fared significantly better with an average annual wage of $107,015.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
The job outlook for statisticians is generally positive. The number of statisticians employed in the United States is projected to increase by 13 percent between the years 2008 and 2018, which is comparable to the average rate of growth of all occupations. There is expected to be an increase in the demand for statisticians or individuals with backgrounds in related fields, although the titles of the jobs themselves may vary at times from that of statisticians. Individuals with degrees in statistics are expected to continue to enjoy a variety of opportunities in varying fields. More job openings are expected to become available in the coming years as statisticians who are currently employed in their target fields either retire, transfer to related or disparate occupations, or leave the employment sector for other opportunities and reasons.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
Overall, the minimum educational requirement to work as a statistician in the United States is a master’s degree in either mathematics or statistics. However, people interested in obtaining jobs in research or in academic settings such as universities and colleges will typically require a doctoral degree to be competitive. Jobs in the Federal Government are an exception, and typically require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
Individuals seeking employment as statisticians in industrial positions may be able to obtain entry level positions with a master’s degree and numerous years of work experience in the field. The entry requirements in the Federal Government are less stringent in that a bachelor’s degree is considered to be acceptable, but such a degree should include a minimum of 15 semester hours in courses related to statistics or a combination of at least 15 hours in statistics and mathematics with 6 semester hours being purely in statistics. The requirements for work as a mathematical statistician in the Federal Government are slightly more stringent, with a requirement of 24 semester hours in statistics in mathematics with 6 of those semester hours at minimum coming from statistics and 12 semester hours in advanced mathematics.
It is not strictly necessary to obtain certification from any one institution or organization in order to seek employment as a statistician; however, individuals who are employed as statisticians and seek out certification on their own become more likely to either receive higher salaries in their current sites of employment or have access to positions that may offer higher salaries. There are a number of different professional associations that provide certification to statisticians who seek it. However, the specific requirements that must be completed for certification will vary from one organization to the next. Many organizations may require candidates have a certain level of formalized education and training, while others may ask for a particular number of years spent working in the field, while still others may require a combination of academic progress and work experience.
There are a wide variety of professional associations that offer different kinds of certification to statisticians.
The American Statistical Association
- The International Association for Statistical Computing
- The Institute for Mathematical Statistics
- The Royal Statistical Society
- The International Statistics Institute
- The Statistical Society of Canada
- The Society for Computational Economics
- The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
- The Washington Statistical Society