Research Analyst Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in the research analysis field. Read on to learn more about career options along with education requirements and salary information. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does A Research Analyst Do?

Research analysts are trained to gather data, which they then interpret and write reports about. They work in a wide range of industries. Market research analysts assess the potential market for new products to determine the amount of sales that can be expected. Through their research they help companies determine the ideal price and target market for the product. Operations research analysts focus on problem solving in a wide range of fields. They may work with healthcare professionals or businesses. They collect and interpret data related to the issue they're studying, and then once they analyze that data they write reports and offer advisement about the potential repercussions of different options that can be pursued to solve the issue. Entry level positions for market research analysts and operations research analysts require a bachelor's degree; a master's or doctoral degree may be preferred by some employers.

Market Research Analyst Operations Research Analyst
Degree Required Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees
Education Field of Study Business administration; marketing Management science; information systems; operations research
Key Responsibilities Analyze market data to predict what customers want Use analytic tools to find solutions to organization's problems
Job Growth (2014-2024) 19%* 30%*
Average Annual Salary (2015) $70,030* $84,180*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Research Analysts?

Research analysts collect and study data derived from a variety of sources. These professionals then use this data to make recommendations to management. Extensive quantitative knowledge is needed for this job. Research analysts rely heavily on computers, analytical software, mathematics and databases.

What Types of Jobs Are Available?

Market research analysts study markets in specific areas and collect data to predict sales and devise marketing plans. You would analyze market information gained from a variety of research sources, such as phone and online surveys, focus groups, questionnaires, mailings and mystery shoppers, to analyze consumer likes and dislikes. This information could then be used to develop and sell products, market services to potential customers and predict consumer behavior.

As an operations research analyst, you would examine problems facing businesses, organizations and government agencies, including those related to equipment, personnel, schedules and finances. You would use a variety of tools, such as statistical analysis, simulations, computer modeling and decision analysis, to come up with potential solutions. For example, you might propose an idea that maximizes the efficiency of a company's supply chain.

How Should I Prepare for This Career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an advanced degree is highly recommended for most research analyst jobs, although a bachelor's degree is suitable for some entry-level positions (www.bls.gov). Your bachelor's degree program should include courses in marketing, business, economics and sociology. Earning a master's or doctoral degree in business administration, marketing or statistics could help you get a promotion or qualify you for specialized analyst positions.

A bachelor's degree may be suitable for some entry-level jobs in operations research, although most employers prefer applicants who hold a master's or doctoral degree in management science, information systems, operations research, engineering or applied mathematics. Many firms seek operations research analysts who have graduate degrees in both operations research and computer science.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

In 2015, the BLS reported that market research analysts earned an average annual salary of $70,030, and operations research analysts earned $84,180. The BLS also reported favorable employment growth between 2014-2024. Jobs for market researchers were expected to increase 19%, and jobs for operations research analysts were expected to increase 30%.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Management analysts perform some tasks that are similar to the work that operations research analysts do. Management analysts look for ways to improve a company's profits and efficiency. They may research processes and use the data that they analyze to propose changes that will improve company efficiency and produce cost savings. They need a bachelor's degree. The work that advertising, promotions and marketing managers do has some overlap with the work of market research analysts. Advertising, promotions and marketing managers develop ad campaigns and marketing strategies to sell products. In order to do this, they may use the data that is reported by market research analysts to identify the target market for the product, and other key factors that may help their promotions appeal to that target market. They also need a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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