What Is a Statistician? - Job Description & Salary

Learn what a statistician does and how to become one. Discover median salaries, job duties, possible career paths and the profession's outlook to see if it's a good career for you. Schools offering Mathematics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Statisticians look at data and find patterns, trends and stories that help us understand the world around us. Becoming one requires at least a bachelor's degree, but most employers look for candidates with a master's degree. We've compiled an overview of the career in the chart below.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study Mathematics, economics, computer science
Key Skills Problem-solving, analytical skills, communication
Job Growth (2016-2026) 34%*
Median Salary (2017) $84,060 per year*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Statisticians Do?

A layman might look at data and see a bunch of numbers but a statistician sees stories, patterns and sometimes even the future. They use their insight into these numbers to understand what's happening in the world around us and what may happen in the coming years and decades. The information they glean can be used to solve problems across a wide spectrum of fields, from science and business to engineering and politics.

Statisticians sometimes also design new ways to gather information, tweaking surveys, polls and experiments to make our data even more accurate and reliable.

How Do You Become a Statistician?

Becoming a statistician requires a lot of education. In fact, if you're interested in becoming a statistician and you're young, consider taking as many courses in math as you can in high school. From there, the next step is to get a bachelor's degree in a field like economics, mathematics or computer science. While there, coursework should include things like calculus, survey methodology, linear algebra, probability and statistical theory.

Some employers (particularly the federal government) hire mathematicians and statisticians with a bachelor's degree, but most need to go beyond this to find work in the private sector. A master's degree in a related field is recommended.

Where Do Statisticians Work?

Statisticians typically do their work in offices and may work with teams of other professionals. In 2016, the last year for which data exist, 13% were employed by the federal government and 11% were working in research and development. That same year, 9% were working in the insurance industry and another 8% were at universities, colleges and professional schools.

What's the Median Salary for a Statistician?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, statisticians brought home a median annual salary of $84,060 in May 2017. Statisticians working for the federal government earned a median salary of $103,630 a year, while those working for colleges, professional schools and universities earned $70,780 annually.

What's the Future Like for Statisticians?

The statistics look to be in their favor. The BLS predicts an incredible increase in employment of 34% between 2016 and 2026 for statisticians. That's over four times the amount it projects for the average of all occupations during that same time period. Why? The internet will expand the availability of data, which will, in turn, increase the need for statistical analysts.

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