Biometry

Biometry is an area of science that involves the analysis of statistical data in the medical, biosciences or security fields. Learn about career options and related degree programs, including what you'll study.

Is Biometry for Me?

Career Overview

Biometry is the application of statistical analysis to problem solving in the biological sciences, thus making it an interdisciplinary study involving both statistics and biology. When the field of biometry was first developed, it primarily involved agriculture, and it was applied to problems related to fertilizer use and pest management. Now, it encompasses applications for a wider array of fields, such as homeland security, environmental sciences, genetics and pharmaceutical development.

Job Duties

As a biometrician, you would analyze large amounts of data using computer software programs. Additionally, you may work with biometric technologies, which are advanced computer programs that identify humans via their physical traits, such as fingerprints, hand geometry or vein structure, for authentication and security.

Job Options

Most biometry degree programs are designed for students who wish to pursue a career in healthcare or academia. With a biometry background, you can also seek positions with government agencies or consulting businesses. Biostatisticians typically work in medical settings, gathering and analyzing data to make care more effective. As a biostatistician, you may design and develop a study to determine whether a drug is efficacious based on the statistical data gathered from patient information. On the other hand, you may choose to work in a computer-oriented environment designing state-of-the-art programs that help identify people for security purposes. Education requirements will vary depending upon your career interest.

Employment

Due to the wide variety of jobs in the biometry field, it's hard to determine accurate wage estimates for biometricians alone. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does have information for statisticians, which includes biometricians (www.bls.gov). As of 2012, it was reported that statisticians in general earned a median annual wage of $75,560. As of March 2014, PayScale.com reported that the majority of biostatisticians made $51,557-$134,901; this is the 10th-90th percentile range and includes salary, bonuses and profit sharing. The median salary was reported to be $77,658. The BLS projects that statisticians will see employment growth of 27% from 2012-2022.

How Can I Work in Biometry?

Education Options

If your interest is in traditional biometry as it applies to the biological sciences, you'll need a degree in statistics or public health with a concentration in biometry or biostatistics. The BLS reported that most employers of statisticians require a master's degree, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is typically necessary for academic and research positions. To gain admittance to a master's degree program, you usually need a bachelor's degree in mathematics or statistics.

In a master's degree program, you take courses in both statistics and biology, such as biological statistics, statistical computing, theory of statistics, multivariate analysis, statistical genomics, statistical methods and risk analysis. Most master's degree programs take two years to complete and may require a thesis. A Ph.D. program typically requires an additional four years beyond the baccalaureate. You'll be expected to write and defend a dissertation based on original research.

If you're interested in a career in biometric technologies, you'll want to pursue a biometrics program geared toward the computer sciences, such as a Bachelor of Science in Biometric Security. This type of program draws from a variety of areas, such as mathematics, science, business and technology. In the core area of the major, expect to take classes in anatomy and physiology, programming, privacy laws, artificial intelligence and data mining.

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