Your Guide to a Career as a Statistician—What to Expect

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Interested in a career as a statistician? Learn more about the role, education requirements, salary range, career outlook, and more right here.

[Featured Image]:  A male and a female analyzing statistics from a series of tables and graphs.

A statistician career may be an option if you’re analytical and enjoy using numbers and data to solve problems. Statisticians determine the data a company will need to solve a problem and then apply mathematical theories to turn the data into a solution. 

In many cases, they also source the data for companies by designing surveys, questionnaires, experiments, and polls. They then use this data to help solve a problem. Essentially, they make numbers make sense for business stakeholders.

When considering a statistician career, gaining a base-level understanding of what they do, the education requirements, where they work, potential salary, and more can help you determine if it's the right career choice. This guide can help you learn more about becoming a statistician. 

What does a statistician do?

A statistician applies statistical methods and models to a problem to digest data and develops a solution. As a statistician, you would analyze and interpret data to help businesses with important decisions, problems, and logistical scenarios. Statisticians may use probability, calculus, mathematical modeling, and statistical analysis in their work. 

Why is the role of a statistician important?

Statisticians offer evidence to back important decisions, solutions to problems, or projections, using analytical skills to spot issues with marketing efficacy, project sales over the upcoming quarter, stock market trends, and more. As a statistician, you would collect and analyze data to solve problems in every facet of the industry. 

What are the primary duties and responsibilities of a statistician?

Statisticians collect data in an organized and ethical fashion. You would do so through polls or surveys, but you must consider bias and other factors when designing these data-collection tools. 

You'll then analyze the data to find trends and relationships, present these findings comprehensively, and communicate them to your superiors. You must also explain your process of discovering these findings and what they mean to the business.

What qualifications and certifications are required to become a statistician?

In most cases, a statistician will need a master’s degree. However, some companies will hire an entry-level statistician with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, economics, computer science, actuarial science, or a related field. Statisticians must have strong analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. 

Read more: Master's Degrees Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Statisticians don’t need a professional certificate, but the American Statistical Association (ASA) offers two high-value certifications; the Accredited Professional Statistician (PStat) and Graduate Statistician (GStat).

What skills are needed to work as a statistician?

Statisticians need skills in mathematics, computers, communications, and analytics. You will also need industry awareness and knowledge and the ability to work on a team and collaborate with others. Companies place a high value on problem solvers who are skilled in their technical practices and communicate effectively. 

What fields do statisticians work in?

Statisticians work in education, marketing, psychology, sports, and other fields that require statistical backing. Government, health care, and research industries hire many statisticians due to the high value of data and projections.

What do statisticians earn?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual salary for statisticians as $95,570 as of May 2021 [1]. The lowest 10 percent of statisticians earn less than $49,350, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $157,300.

The BLS expects significant growth for mathematicians and statisticians, as it anticipates a 33 percent rise in jobs between 2021 and 2031. It expects about 4,100 open positions annually in this field [2]. 

Read more: How Much Do Statisticians Make? Your 2022 Statistician Salary Guide

Career progression

The more experience you have in the field, the more likely you will grow in your statistician career and potentially advance to senior or executive roles. Generally, those with master’s degrees or doctorates will have more opportunities to ascend to higher positions. 

As you work in an organization and become more recognized as a crucial team member and stats expert, you may also move into higher roles. 

Pursuing higher education and success in the field are two ways to move higher. Plus, your pay grade will usually grow as your role increases. 

Get started

Statistics can be a rewarding career if you enjoy using numbers and mathematics to solve problems and developing surveys to source data. Explore an Introduction to Statistics course from Stanford University on Coursera to help you get a better feel for a career in this field. If you prefer something more advanced, an Advanced Statistics for Data Science course offered by John Hopkins University can help you immerse yourself in the life of a statistician.



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Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Mathematicians and Statisticians,” Accessed July 27, 2022. 

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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