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What is a Statistician?

College students looking for in-demand STEM jobs often consider becoming a statistician. In short, statisticians are math whizzes who use numerical formulas to analyze large amounts of data. Formally founded in 1749, statistics is the science of inferring proportions based on a research or survey pool. Statistics plays a pivotal role in drawing accurate conclusions from laboratory studies. Over the centuries, technology has advanced with statistical software like SPSS that automatically calculates data. However, statisticians are still needed to check the analysis and apply it to real-world problems. The U.S. News & World Report ranked statistician as the number one business job held by 37,200 Americans. This article will profile what prospective statisticians can expect from this rewarding career.

What Statisticians Do

Statisticians start by forming a scientific question that hasn’t yet been answered. Next, they design research methods to acquire data relevant to this question. Once compiled, the data gets meticulously analyzed by both statisticians and computer software. Statisticians pore over the numbers to establish facts, trends, and probability. For example, linear regression is used to predict the relationship between two tested variables. Some explore new statistical theories to advance the field. Statisticians then interpret their data and deduct informed inferences. Depending on the project type, they’ll publish the findings in a detailed paper or verbally present the results to colleagues. Frequently, statisticians make graphs, charts, and other visuals to aid other people’s understanding of complex math.

Where Statisticians Work

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 13 percent of statisticians are employed by federal government agencies like itself. Another 11 percent work at research and development firms. Nine percent of statisticians are hired by insurance companies. Eight percent specialize in biostatistics at health care organizations. Colleges and universities employ an extra eight percent for scholarly research. Statisticians can excel in virtually any field from engineering to education. Whether full- or part-time, statisticians can work as contractual and freelance employees, including from home. Some great companies hiring statisticians are Regeneron, Apple, Deloitte, Pfizer, Citi Group, and Pratt & Whitney. In May 2018, statisticians had mean annual pay of $88,980. California, Pennsylvania, and Maryland employed the most statisticians. New Jersey paid the highest average at $114,020 though.

How to Become a Statistician

Jobs for statisticians require advanced analytical, math, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Given that, the majority of statisticians need at least a master’s degree. The Master of Science in Statistics is the most popular path for statisticians. Typically, this two-year graduate school program integrates 30-45 credits beyond the bachelors with thesis projects. Highly ranked M.S. degrees are found at Stanford, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, Duke, Columbia, Texas A&M, and more. During the master’s, students should complete internships and join professional networks like the American Statistical Association. Some may continue for a Ph.D. in Statistics, which is the field’s highest terminal degree. Doctorates are necessary for statisticians planning to teach or research at universities.

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Statisticians are brainy quants who use math models to find information and value-added solutions from numbers. Demand for statisticians to work their data magic is very high. Quartz recognized statisticians for the United States’ fifth fastest-growing job. By 2026, it’s expected that the employment of statisticians will increase rapidly by 33 percent to 49,800 jobs total. Unemployment for statisticians is an incredibly low 0.9 percent. Becoming a statistician will likely keep scientists mentally challenged, financially compensated, and gainfully employed.