Statisticians

At a Glance

• Apply their knowledge of math to a variety of subjects
• Usually write and present their results
• Work alone most of the time
• Typically work a standard work week
• Have good analytical and computer skills
• Have at least a master's degree

Career summary

Statisticians apply their knowledge of math to the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data.

#No alternate titles CJ

Statisticians apply their knowledge of math to a variety of subjects. Typical areas include:

• Biology
• Economics
• Engineering
• Public health
• Marketing

One common technique that statisticians use is sampling. Sampling is a method of getting information about a group of people or things by surveying a small portion of the total.

Statisticians anaylze and interpret data to identify relationships and trends. They decide how to gather data based on project and client needs. In addition, they decide the type and size of the sample group.

They also develop questionnaires, polls, or report forms. They prepare instructions for workers who will collect and organize the data. They analyze and evaluate the data for the organization they work for. They evaluate the reliability of the data and the methods they have used.

Statisticians organize large amounts of data into a format that can be analyzed by computers. After data has been compiled and analyzed, statisticians present the results in the following formats:

• Presentations
• Graphics and charts
• Peer-reviewed papers
• Technical manuals

Some statisticians work in the manufacturing industry. They work on quality control and product improvement projects. For example, in a company that makes cars, a statistician might design an experiment to test how well engines perform in extreme weather.

Related careers

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

The following list of tasks is specific to statisticians.

• Apply statistical methods to scientific, economic, and marketing research.
• Develop experimental designs, sampling techniques, and analytical methods to match research needs.
• Evaluate reliability of information. Organize results in a form that can be analyzed by computers.
• Plan methods to gather information. Develop questionnaires according to survey design.
• Conduct surveys using sampling techniques. Sampling is a method of learning about a large group by surveying a small portion of the group.
• Give instructions to staff who collect data.
• Analyze, interpret, and summarize data using computer software.
• Evaluate and report on whether methods used to collect and analyze data are efficient and accurate.
• Present numerical data in graphs, charts, and tables. Create written reports of results.
• Design experiments for manufacturing industry to improve the quality of products.

Common work activities

Statisticians perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

• Use computers
• Analyze data or information
• Get information needed to do the job
• Explain the meaning of information to others
• Process information
• Make decisions and solve problems
• Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates
• Update and use job-related knowledge
• Provide advice and consultation to others
• Think creatively
• Communicate with people outside the organization
• Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed
• Document and record information
• Establish and maintain relationships
• Identify objects, actions, and events
• Organize, plan, and prioritize work
• Teach others
• Develop and build teams

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, statisticians:

Interpersonal relationships

• Have a medium level of social interaction by communicating with others face-to-face and over email daily.
• Communicate on a weekly basis by telephone and written letters and memos.
• Frequently work as part of a team.
• Are somewhat responsible for the work done by research assistants.

Physical work conditions

• Nearly always work indoors.

Work performance

• Must be very exact in their work and be sure all details are done. Errors in analysis or interpretation of data could produce incorrect results.
• Repeat the same mental activities.
• Make some of their decisions independently, but often seek advice from other statisticians and superiors.
• Set most of their daily tasks and goals without seeking input from others first.
• Must meet strict weekly and monthly deadlines.
• Make decisions that impact others as well as their organization's reputation.

Hours/travel

• Usually have a set schedule and work 40 hours a week.
• May travel to consult on research projects or supervise and set up surveys.

Physical demands

Statisticians frequently:

• Sit for long periods of time.

It is important for statisticians to be able to:

• See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
• Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
• Understand the speech of another person.

It is not as important, but still necessary, for statisticians to be able to:

• See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
• Use fingers to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.

Skills and abilities

Statisticians need to:

Communicate

• Read and understand work-related materials.
• Understand written information.
• Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
• Understand spoken information.
• Write clearly so other people can understand.
• Listen to others and ask questions.

Reason and problem solve

• Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
• Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
• Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
• Recognize the nature of a problem.
• Follow guidelines to arrange objects or actions in a certain order.
• Develop rules that group items in various ways.
• Understand new information or materials by studying and working with them.
• Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
• Think of new ideas about a topic.
• Judge the costs and benefits of a possible action.
• Make sense of information that seems without meaning or organization.
• Think of original, unusual, or creative ways to solve problems.
• Identify what must be changed to reach goals.
• Recognize when important changes happen or are likely to happen in a system.

Use math and science

• Use math skills to solve problems.
• Choose a mathematical method or formula to solve problems.
• Add, subtract, multiply, and divide quickly and correctly.
• Use scientific methods to solve problems.

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

• Manage the time of self and others.

Work with people

• Use several methods to learn or teach new things.

Work with things

• Write computer programs.

Perceive and visualize

• Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Training

To work as a statistician, you typically need to:

• have a high school diploma or equivalent;
• have a bachelor's degree; and
• have at least a master's degree.

Education after high school

While it is possible to work as a statistician with a bachelor's degree in statistics, most statisticians have a master's degree. Course work for this degree includes calculus, differential equations, or vector analysis. You should also take courses in computer science since you use computers to perform most statistical calculations.

Statisticians often specialize in an area of study. For example, you may do statistical analysis for biology, agriculture, business, economics, engineering, psychology, or other fields. One master's degree in statistics and another in science are also good preparation.

Work experience

You should consider participating in an internship while in college. An internship is usually part of a degree program. It offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.

On-the-job training

New graduates work under the guidance of experienced statisticians. In large companies, you may also receive formal classroom training. New employees may receive about a month of training right after hired.

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements. Statisticians need a strong background in math. Take as many math courses as you can.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

• Computer Applications
• Computer Science
• Probability and Statistics

Statisticians often specialize in an area of study. For example, you may do statistical analysis for biology, agriculture, business, economics, engineering, psychology, or other fields. If you know which field you are interested in, take courses in that field too.

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Many employers, especially in research, prefer to hire applicants with a PhD or at least a master's degree. Universities choose candidates based on their area of research and the quality of their published articles. Entry-level positions for statisticians with only a bachelor's degree are available with the federal government. However, the competition is keen for applicants with only the minimal qualification.

Many employers prefer to hire statisticians who can apply computer skills to data analysis. Training in another field besides statistics can also be helpful. For example, a background in biological or health science is important for jobs involved with preparing or testing drugs. Courses in economics are helpful for jobs in market research. An understanding of business and the economy is important for those who plan to work in private industry.

Many employers in industry prefer statisticians with good communication skills. This is because statisticians explain technical information to people with little technical background.

Tips

Additional background in computer science, physics, accounting, or engineering is an important consideration in hiring for some positions. Internships provide valuable work experience. Knowledge of accounting methods is helpful. The ability to translate scientific information into non-technical language, both in written form and orally, is also important. Some insurance companies and consulting firms have summer and/or part-time jobs for actuarial students.

Costs to workers

Workers may wish to join a professional association, which may have annual dues.

#Took over national content to update comments on computer skills needed 1/31/17 cj.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website .

Wages

Statisticians (SOC 15-2041)

Location
Pay Period
10%
25%
Median
75%
90%
Washington Hourly \$31.18 \$38.52 \$47.15 \$58.17 \$69.90
Monthly \$5,403 \$6,676 \$8,171 \$10,081 \$12,114
Yearly \$64,860 \$80,120 \$98,070 \$120,980 \$145,390
Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly \$33.77 \$36.84 \$42.93 \$51.91 \$62.37
Monthly \$5,852 \$6,384 \$7,440 \$8,996 \$10,809
Yearly \$70,247 \$76,631 \$89,311 \$107,980 \$129,718
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly \$32.70 \$40.00 \$48.35 \$58.60 \$69.49
Monthly \$5,667 \$6,932 \$8,379 \$10,155 \$12,043
Yearly \$68,008 \$83,200 \$100,561 \$121,885 \$144,533
Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly \$26.48 \$36.98 \$49.40 \$59.10 \$64.73
Monthly \$4,589 \$6,409 \$8,561 \$10,242 \$11,218
Yearly \$55,076 \$76,923 \$102,742 \$122,930 \$134,636
Vancouver Hourly \$26.24 \$32.96 \$39.08 \$47.95 \$58.22
Monthly \$4,547 \$5,712 \$6,773 \$8,310 \$10,090
Yearly \$54,574 \$68,560 \$81,292 \$99,738 \$121,099
United States Hourly \$25.48 \$32.43 \$42.20 \$54.65 \$67.00
Monthly \$4,416 \$5,620 \$7,313 \$9,471 \$11,611
Yearly \$53,000 \$67,440 \$87,780 \$113,670 \$139,350

Wages vary by the statistician's level of education and experience. Wages also vary by area of the country.

Most statisticians receive benefits, such as sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. They may also receive a retirement plan.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Statisticians (SOC 15-2041)

 Thisoccupation Alloccupations Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings 1,261 34.3% 16.1% 194 11 18.2% 11.9% 1 23 30.4% 15.2% 3 92 33.7% 14.1% 14 937 37.6% 19.6% 151 26 23.1% 13.8% 3 33 24.2% 15.2% 4 34 23.5% 12.4% 5 48 33.3% 13.9% 8 44,400 30.6% 5.2% 5,300

National employment

Major employers:

• Federal, state, and local government agencies
• Research and testing companies
• Consulting firms
• Colleges and universities
• Market research and opinion polling firms

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will be very strong. This is due to the widespread use of data analysis for business, health care, and policy decisions. The Internet, mobile apps, and smartphones generate a lot of data. Businesses use this data to help make better business decisions, develop new products, and advertise products.

Pharmaceutical companies will also need statisticians as they develop new products for the aging population.

Job prospects are best for those with advanced degrees and related experience in an area such as finance, biology, engineering, or computer science.

Many other workers who specialize in using statistics, but have different job titles, are not included in this employment and outlook data.

Other resources

American Association for the Advancement of Science
1200 New York Ave, NW
Washington,DC20005
American Institute of Biological Sciences
1800 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 400
Reston, VA 20191
703.674.2500
American Mathematical Society
201 Charles Street
Providence, RI 02904
800.321.4267
401.455.4000
American Statistical Association
732 North Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
888.231.3473
703.684.1221
Careers in Statistics
Mathematical Association of America
1529 - 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
800.741.9415
202.387.5200

References

O*Net job zone

• Job Zone 5 - Extensive preparation needed. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience.

Holland occupational cluster

• Conventional/Investigative/Realistic

COPSystem

• Science Professional