Statisticians

Summary

statisticians image
Statisticians collect and analyze data to help solve real-world problems in many different industries.
Quick Facts: Statisticians
2014 Median Pay $79,990 per year
$38.46 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Master's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 30,000
Job Outlook, 2014-24 34% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 10,100

What Statisticians Do

Statisticians use statistical methods to collect and analyze data and to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields.

Work Environment

About a third of statisticians work for the federal government or for scientific research and development companies. Although statisticians work mostly in offices, they may travel to collect data or to oversee a survey’s design or implementation.

How to Become a Statistician

Statisticians typically need at least a master’s degree in statistics, mathematics, or another quantitative field. However, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for some entry-level jobs.

Pay

The median annual wage for statisticians was $79,990 in May 2014.

Job Outlook

Employment of statisticians is projected to grow 34 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected to result from more widespread use of statistical analysis to make informed business and healthcare decisions.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for statisticians.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of statisticians with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about statisticians by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Statisticians Do

Statisticians
Statisticians must develop techniques to overcome problems in data collection and analysis.

Statisticians use statistical methods to collect and analyze data and to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields.

Duties

Statisticians typically do the following:

  • Decide what data are needed to answer specific questions or problems
  • Determine methods for finding or collecting data
  • Design surveys, experiments, or opinion polls to collect data 
  • Collect data or train others to do so
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Report conclusions from their analyses

Statisticians design surveys, questionnaires, experiments, and opinion polls to collect the data they need. Surveys may be mailed, conducted over the phone, collected online, or gathered through some other means.

Some surveys, such as the U.S. census, include data from nearly everyone. For most surveys and opinion polls, however, statisticians use sampling to collect data from some people in a particular group. Statisticians determine the type and size of the sample to be surveyed or polled.

Statisticians use specialized statistical software to analyze data. In their analyses, statisticians identify trends and relationships within the data. They also conduct tests to find out the data’s validity and to account for high survey nonresponse rates or sampling error. Some statisticians may help create new software to analyze data more accurately and efficiently.

Statisticians present the findings from their analyses and discuss the data’s limitations to prevent inaccurate conclusions from being drawn. They may present written reports, tables, charts, and graphs to other team members and to clients. Statisticians also recommend how to improve the design of future surveys or experiments.

Statisticians work in many fields, such as education, marketing, psychology, sports, or any other field that requires the collection and analysis of data. In particular, government, healthcare, and research and development companies employ many statisticians.

Government. Statisticians working in government develop and analyze surveys that collect a variety of data, including unemployment rates, wages, and other estimates pertaining to jobs and workers. Other statisticians help to figure out the average level of pesticides in drinking water, the number of endangered species living in a particular area, or the number of people who have a certain disease.

Some statisticians employed by the federal government are known as mathematical statisticians.

HealthcareStatisticians known as biostatisticians or biometricians work in pharmaceutical companies, public health agencies, or hospitals. They may design studies to test whether drugs successfully treat diseases or medical conditions. They may also help identify the sources of outbreaks of illnesses in humans and animals.

Research and development. Statisticians design experiments for product testing and development. For instance, they may help design experiments to see how car engines perform when exposed to extreme weather conditions. Statisticians may also help develop marketing strategies and prices for consumer goods. 

Statisticians often collaborate with other occupations in the design and conduct of the research.

Some people with a degree in statistics or who collect and analyze statistical data may not be formally known as statisticians. Instead, they may work in related fields and professions. In some industries, for example, they may be known as quantitative analysts, market research analysts, data analysts, or data scientists.

Work Environment

Statisticians
Statisticians do most of their work on a computer in an office setting.

Statisticians held about 30,000 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most statisticians were as follows:

Federal government 15%
Scientific research and development services 14
Finance and insurance 13
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 9
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 7

Federal statisticians are commonly employed at the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Agricultural Statistics Service, or Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Statisticians often work in teams with other professionals. For example, in pharmaceutical companies, statisticians may work with scientists to test drugs for government approval. In insurance companies, they may work with actuaries to calculate the risks of insuring different events.

Statisticians may travel occasionally to meet with team members, set up surveys and research projects, or oversee the collection of data.

Work Schedules

Statisticians typically work full time.

How to Become a Statistician

Statisticians
Statisticians typically need at least a master’s degree in statistics, mathematics, or another quantitative field.

Statisticians typically need at least a master’s degree in statistics, mathematics, or another quantitative field. However, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for some entry-level jobs. Research and academic jobs generally require a Ph.D.

Education

Statisticians typically need at least a master’s degree, although some entry-level jobs are available for those with a bachelor’s degree. Most statisticians have degrees in mathematics, economics, computer science, or another quantitative field. A bachelor’s degree in statistics typically includes courses in linear algebra, calculus, experimental design, survey methodology, probability, and statistical theory.

Many colleges and universities advise students to take courses in a related field, such as computer science, engineering, physics, or mathematics. These courses can help prepare students to work in a variety of industries. Coursework in engineering or physical science, for example, may be useful for statisticians working in manufacturing on quality or productivity improvement. A background in biology, chemistry, or health sciences is useful for work testing pharmaceutical or agricultural products.

Because statisticians often work with data analysis software, computer programming courses may be particularly beneficial for students.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Statisticians use statistical techniques and models to analyze large amounts of data. They must determine the appropriate software packages and understand computer programming languages to design and develop new techniques and models. They must also be precise and accurate in their analyses.

Communication skills. Statisticians often work with, and propose solutions to, people who do not have extensive knowledge of mathematics or statistics. They must be able to present statistical information and ideas so that others will understand.

Math skills. Statisticians use statistics, calculus, and linear algebra to develop their models and analyses.

Problem-solving skills. Statisticians must develop techniques to overcome problems in data collection and analysis, such as high nonresponse rates, so that they can draw meaningful conclusions.

Pay

Statisticians

Median annual wages, May 2014

Mathematical science occupations

$80,270

Statisticians

$79,990

Total, all occupations

$35,540

 

The median annual wage for statisticians was $79,990 in May 2014. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,840, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $129,830.

In May 2014, the median annual wages for statisticians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $98,320
Scientific research and development services 90,390
Finance and insurance 77,740
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 69,550
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 68,350

Statisticians typically work full time.

Job Outlook

Statisticians

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Statisticians

34%

Mathematical science occupations

28%

Total, all occupations

7%

 

Employment of statisticians is projected to grow 34 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected to result from more widespread use of statistical analysis to make informed business, healthcare, and policy decisions. In addition, the large increase in available data from the Internet will open up new areas for analysis. 

A substantial amount of data is generated from Internet searching and the use of social media, smartphones, and other mobile devices. Businesses, particularly those in the retail, finance, and insurance industries, will increasingly need statisticians to organize, analyze, and sort through the data for commercial reasons. Analyses will help companies improve their business processes, design and develop new products, and advertise products to potential customers.

In addition, statisticians will be needed in the pharmaceutical industry. The aging of the U.S. population will encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop new treatments and medical technologies. Biostatisticians will be needed to conduct the research and clinical trials necessary for companies to obtain approval for their products from the Food and Drug Administration.

The occupation will also see growth in research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences, fields in which statisticians’ skills in designing tests and assessing results are highly useful.

Job Prospects

Job prospects for statisticians are projected to be very good. An increasing number of jobs over the next decade will require high levels of statistical knowledge. Job opportunities are expected to be favorable for those with very strong quantitative and data analysis skills. Computer programming skills will remain important to many employers.

Graduates with a master’s degree in statistics and a strong background in a related discipline, such as finance, biology, engineering, or computer science, are projected to have the best prospects of finding jobs in their field of study.

Employment projections data for statisticians, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Statisticians

15-2041 30,000 40,100 34 10,100 [XLSX]

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of statisticians.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2014 MEDIAN PAY
Actuaries

Actuaries

Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk that an event will occur, and they help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk. Actuaries’ work is essential to the insurance industry.

Bachelor's degree $96,700
Computer systems analysts

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures and design information systems solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.

Bachelor's degree $82,710
Economists

Economists

Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues.

Master's degree $95,710
Financial analysts

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.

Bachelor's degree $78,620
Market research analysts

Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.

Bachelor's degree $61,290
Mathematicians

Mathematicians

Mathematicians conduct research to develop and understand mathematical principles. They also analyze data and apply mathematical techniques to help solve real-world problems.

Master's degree $103,720
Operations research analysts

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.

Bachelor's degree $76,660
Survey researchers

Survey Researchers

Survey researchers design and conduct surveys and analyze data. Surveys are used to collect factual data, such as employment and salary information, or to ask questions in order to understand people’s opinions, preferences, beliefs, or desires.

Master's degree $49,760
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Statisticians,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/statisticians.htm (visited February 05, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015