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What does a statistician do?  

Statisticians help to design surveys and experiments. They also collect, analyze, and interpret numerical data. Some work for businesses and some work in government.

To give an example, some statisticians may collect data to learn how safe new products are. This must be done before the product can be sold.

Statisticians often use samples to collect information. A sample provides information about a small group within a much larger group. They can then take what they learned about the small group and apply it to the larger group.

Statisticians decide where and how to gather the data. They choose the sample size. They decide about the type of survey. They tell workers who gather the data how to do their job. They process the collected data and reach conclusions about the data. They do this with the help of computer software.

Statisticians usually work regular hours in comfortable offices. Some have to travel to give advice to people. Some have to travel to set up surveys or gather data. Others have a lot of different duties. These include things such as setting up experiments and doing fieldwork. Some teach and do research.

How do you get ready to become a statistician?  

Some people with only a bachelor's degree in statistics are able to get entry-level jobs as statisticians. However, a master's degree is needed for most of the jobs in this field. Research and teaching jobs usually require at least a master's degree in statistics, and generally a Ph.D. is needed. A master's degree and several years of experience are usually needed to get a job in industrial research.

In 2002, about 140 universities had master's degree programs in statistics. About 90 had a doctoral degree program.

Statisticians use computers a lot. So, it is very important to have a good background in computers if you are interested in this field. Good speaking and writing skills are also needed. This is because statisticians must often explain their work to others who don't know that much about statistics.

How much does a statistician get paid?  

The middle half of all statisticians earned between $40,510 and $76,500 in 2002. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $30,380. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $91,860.

The average salary for statisticians in the Federal Government was $75,979 in 2003. The average salary for mathematical statisticians was $83,472.

How many jobs are there?  

Statisticians held about 20,000 jobs in 2002. Almost one in five worked for the Federal Government. Another 16 percent were found in State and local governments, including those who worked for State colleges and universities. Most of the other jobs were in private industry.

What about the future?  

Slower than average growth is expected in the number of jobs in this field from 2002 to 2012. However, those with degrees in statistics should have a good chance for jobs in other fields. This is especially true of jobs that deal with the analysis of data and forming an opinion about it.

Are there other jobs like this?  

  • Actuaries
  • Civil engineers
  • Computer programmers
  • Computer scientists
  • Computer software engineers
  • Database administrators
  • Economists
  • Financial analysts
  • Market and survey researchers
  • Mathematicians
  • Operations research analysts
  • Personal financial advisors
  • Systems analysts

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where can you find more information?
More information about statisticians and the above jobs can be found in the Careers Database.

Questions or Comments?
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