What Is a Statistician? Duties, Pay, and How to Become One

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

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.

Statisticians are experts who compile and analyze statistical data in order to solve problems for businesses, government organizations, and other institutions.

In their day to day work, statisticians determine the data a company will require to solve a problem and then apply mathematical theories to use that data to construct a solution. In many cases, they also source the data for companies by designing surveys, questionnaires, experiments, and polls.

If you're an analytical individual who enjoys using numbers and data to solve problems, then you might consider a career as a statistician.

In this article, you'll learn more about what you can expect from a career as a statistician, including their duties, potential salary, and work environment. At the end, you'll also find suggested courses that can help you learn the in-demand skills you'll need to excel in the field.

What does a statistician do?

A statistician applies statistical methods and models to specific problems in order to develop informed solutions. As a statistician, you'll analyze and interpret data to help businesses with important decisions, problems, and logistical scenarios. As a result, statisticians often use probability, calculus, mathematical modeling, and statistical analysis in their work. 

Primary duties and responsibilities

Statisticians collect data in an organized and ethical fashion. You would do so through polls or surveys, but you must also 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 employer. You must also explain your process of discovering these findings and what they mean to the business.

Why are statisticians important?

Statisticians offer evidence to support important decisions, solutions, or projections, using analytical skills to perform such important tasks as spotting issues with marketing efficacy, projecting sales over the upcoming quarter, identifying stock market trends, and more.

As a statistician, you'll collect and analyze data to solve problems in every facet for a range of employers, from privately owned businesses to non-profit organizations. 


Fields and industries

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.

Statistician salary and job outlook

Statisticians earn a higher-than-average annual wage and have a positive outlook for the coming years. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual salary for statisticians as $95,570 as of May 2021. The lowest 10 percent of statisticians earn less than $49,350, while the highest 10 percent earn more than $157,300[1].

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

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

How to become a statistician

To become a statistician, you'll need to gain the right credentials, possess critical job skills, and work to stand out from the crowded applicant pool to pique employers' interests. Here are some of the steps you'll likely take on the path to becoming a statistician:

1. Gain the right credentials.

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.

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

2. Develop your skills.

Statisticians need skills in mathematics, computer science, communication, and data 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. 

3. Consider a certificate.

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). Adding a certificate to your resume could help you stand out to employers and potentially improve your chances of landing a job. Read more: How to List Certifications on Your Resume: Guide + Examples

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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. If you're excited by the possibility of a career in the field, then you might consider taking a cost-effective, flexible course on Coursera.

In Stanford's Introduction to Statistics course, you'll learn statistical thinking concepts that are essential for learning from data and communicating insights. In Johns Hopkins' Advanced Statistics for Data Science Specialization, meanwhile, you'll familiarize yourself with fundamental concepts in probability and statistics, data analysis, and linear models for Data Science.

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Mathematicians and Statisticians, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians-and-statisticians.htm#tab-5.” Accessed February 8, 2023. 

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