If you are into mathematics, then you might be looking into becoming a statistician. But, what exactly is a statistician? What do they do? How much is an average statistician salary? What type of education and training do you need?
What is a Statistician?
Basically, statisticians work with data. Job duties include:
- Determine what problem needs to be solved and what data is needed to solve it
- Choose appropriate methods to obtain data, sometimes designing new data collection tools
- Carry out process of collecting data, or train others to
- Prepare data for analysis
- Interpret complex data sets through software, algorithms, and models
- Identify trends in data
- Report conclusions, often to non-technical audiences
Skills required to become a statistician:
- Applied and theoretical statistics
- Mathematics (calculus, linear algebra, probability)
- Data mining, cleaning, and visualization
- Hadoop-based analytics
- Proficiency in statistical languages, especially R and SAS
- Proficiency in programming languages, like Python, C/C++, Java, Perl
- Database knowledge
- Machine learning
Statistician Salary Overview
Several 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
- The number and quality of professional credentials and organizations the statistician may hold or belong to
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 with 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, many other factors should also be taken into consideration. This includes 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 statistician salary was a median of $88,190 per year. This is based on mathematicians and statisticians, as BLS does not report on statisticians alone.
Statisticians who found employment in the Federal Government could expect an average annual wage of $106,670 in May 2018.
Statistician Salary: Job Description and Outlook
The job outlook for statisticians is exceptionally positive. The number of mathematicians and statisticians employed in the United States is projected to increase by 33 percent between the years 2016 and 2026, which is much higher than the national average of seven percent for 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 different fields.
With this rapid growth, about 12,900 new jobs will be created for statisticians throughout the next decade.
The reason for the high job outlook is because the amount of digitally stored data is going to increase throughout the next 10 years. More people and companies will be doing business online, as well as using smartphones, social media, and other devices.
Because of this, these businesses will need mathematicians and statisticians to help analyze the vast amounts of data that they are collecting.
Additionally, mathematicians and statisticians are going to be needed in the scientific research and development services, as well as pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing industries.
The aging of the U.S. population will prompt the need for new treatments and medical technologies.
Statistician Salary: 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 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 six semester hours being purely in statistics.
The requirements for work as a mathematical statistician in the Federal Government are slightly more stringent. This has a requirement of 24 semester hours in statistics and mathematics with six 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 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 wages.
There are several 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 to have a certain level of formalized education and training, while others may ask for a particular number of years spent working in the field.
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.
- American Statistical Association
- International Association for Statistical Computing
- Institute for Mathematical Statistics
- Royal Statistical Society
- International Statistics Institute
- Statistical Society of Canada
- Society for Computational Economics
- Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
- Washington Statistical Society
Steps to Becoming a Statistician
According to Discover Data Science, there are five key steps to becoming a statistician.
1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree
The first step that is absolutely necessary is to get your bachelor’s degree in a subject related to statistics.
Obviously, statistics will be the most beneficial degree, but you can also obtain one in mathematics, applied math, computer science, or economics.
There are several courses that you need to take, including:
- Linear algebra
- Sciences (if you want to go into biostatistics, or related field)
2. Gain experience
Once you obtain your undergraduate degree, or while you are obtaining it, it’s essential to gain experience. This can be through internships or competitions.
3. Further your education
After your bachelor’s, you aren’t quite finished yet. You more than likely will need to obtain your master’s to secure a job as a statistician, or possibly a doctorate, especially if you want a high statistician salary.
A master’s will be enough if you wish to work in private or government sectors. You’ll need a doctorate if you wish to teach at a university.
4. Earn professional certifications
There are various certification tests out there to prove your skills as a statistician.
There are two levels of certifications for statisticians:
- Entry-level GStat: For those who have completed a graduate degree
- PStat: Requires letters of recommendation and work samples
If you wish to show your proficiency in SAS, then you can complete the SAS certified statistical business analyst.
5. Become specialized
If you really want to stand out to potential employers, it’s also a good idea to specialize in a certain area of statistics. This could include:
- Product development
The areas that are expected to grow for job potential are in the government and pharmaceuticals.
Should You Become a Statistician?
Based on the job outlook and statistician salary alone, becoming one is very appealing. However, there is a very high amount of skill level required and you must go through a lot of education and training.
You definitely need to ask yourself if you’re willing to put in the time, money, and work needed to become a skilled statistician.
Are you a statistician or looking to become one? Let us know in the comments!
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