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Careers in Statistics


The world is becoming more and more quantitative and data focused. Many professions depend on numerical measurements to make decisions in the face of uncertainty. Statisticians use quantitative abilities, statistical knowledge, and communication skills to work on many challenging problems, such as:

Estimating the safety and studying the economics of nuclear power plants and alternative energy sources (at a utility company, research laboratory, the Nuclear Regulatory commission, or the Department of Energy) Evaluating the environmental impact of air, water, and soil pollutants (at a research laboratory, commercial environmental clean-up firm, or the Environmental Protection Agency) Designing and analyzing studies to determine if new drugs and medical devices are safe and effective (at a pharmaceutical company, medical research center, or the Food and Drug Administration) Analyzing consumer demand for products and services (at a consumer marketing firm, corporation, or consulting firm) Designing studies for and analyzing data from agricultural experiments to increase productivity and yield (at an agricultural college or agribusiness corporation) Helping scientists and future scientists collect and analyze data to create information and develop new statistical methodology (at a university statistics, mathematics, biostatistics, business, ecology, or psychology department)

Job Characteristics

Use data to solve problems in a wide variety of fields Apply mathematical and statistical knowledge to social, economic, medical, political, and ecological problems Work individually and/or as part of an interdisciplinary team Travel to consult with other professionals or to attend conferences, seminars, and continuing education activities Advance the frontiers of statistics, mathematics, and probability through education and research If you enjoy any of these, a career in statistics may be right for you!

What Fields Employ Statisticians?

One advantage of working in statistics is that you can combine your interest with almost any other field in science, technology, or business, such as: Agriculture Astronomy Biology Chemistry Computer Science Demography Ecology Economics Education Engineering Epidemiology Finance Forestry Genetics Health Science Insurance Law Manufacturing Marketing Medicine Pharmacology Physics Political Science Psychology Public Health Safety Sociology Sports Telecommunications Zoology

What Job Title Might I Have Other Than "Statistician?"

Business Analyst Professor Economist Software Engineer Mathematician Risk Analyst Quality Analyst Investigator Environmental Scientist Pharmaceutical Engineer Researcher Data Analyst Project Manager Manager

How to Become a Statistician

Major in statistics, applied mathematics, or a closely related field. If you do major in a non-statistical field, minor in mathematics or statistics. Develop a background in mathematics, science, and computers, and gain knowledge in a specific field of interest (see the previous page for a partial list of fields). A Master's degree or Ph.D. is very helpful and often recommended or required for higher-level positions. Scholastic statistics programs range from theoretical to applied, and can be found in departments such as mathematics, biostatistics, public health, psychology, engineering, education, business, and economics in addition to traditional statistics departments.

Internships and fellowships are ideal ways to gain hands-on experience in a particular field while still in school. Many government entities, businesses, and industries offer graduate students semester- or year-long Fellowships that often cover tuition, research expenses, and monetary compensation for the duration of the Fellowship.

Employment Outlook

Job opportunities in statistics are projected to remain favorable in the future. The private sector needs statisticians in management, product quality, medicine, pharmaceutical research, medical device research, engineering, transportation, insurance, computer and data processing services, risk assessment, and marketing. Government agencies employ statisticians to design, collect, analyze, and interpret data for planning and development services in agriculture, labor, education, and the census, among others. Colleges and Universities need statisticians for teaching, statistical research, and consulting.