Careers in Statistics

The world is becoming quantitative. With the growth in the use of data comes a growing demand for the services of statisticians who specialize in producing trustworthy data, analyzing data to make their meaning clear, and drawing practical conclusions from the data. Below are a few of the many settings in which statisticians contribute.

  1. The search for improved medical treatments rests on careful experiments that compare promising new treatments with the current state of the art. Statisticians work with the medical teams to design the experiments and to analyze the complex data they produce.
  2. Studies of the environment require data on the abundance and location of plants and animals, on the spread of pollution from its sources, and on the possible effects of changes in human activities. The data are often incomplete or uncertain, but statisticians can help uncover their meaning.
  3. The future of many industries and their employees depends on improvements in the quality of goods and services and in the efficiency with which they are produced and delivered. Improvement should be based on data rather than guesswork. Ever more companies are hiring statisticians and installing elaborate systems to collect and act on data in order to better serve their customers.
  4. How many people are unemployed this month? What do we export to China, and what do we import? Are rates of violent crime increasing or decreasing? Government wants data on issues like these to guide policy, and government statistical agencies provide them by surveys of households and businesses. Statisticians design the elaborate surveys that gather data for both public and private use.

(From Careers in Statistics — American Statistical Association)

Employment Outlook

Job opportunities in statistics are projected to remain favorable in the future. As the U.S. economy continues to produce jobs in the information services industries, increased numbers of statisticians will be required.

The private sector needs statisticians in management, product quality, pharmaceutical research, engineering, transportation, insurance, computer and data processing services, and marketing.

Government agencies employ statisticians to design, collect, analyze, and interpret data for planning and development of services.

Colleges and universities need statisticians for statistical research, teaching, and consulting.

Salaries depend on the amount of education and experience of the statistician. In 1999, graduates with a bachelor's degree had starting salaries of about $32,000, while those with a master's degree started at approximately $40,000. Experienced statisticians earn from $50,000 to more than $100,000 annually. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of statisticians in the federal government was $62,800. These salaries compare favorably with those in other professional and technical occupations.

(Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2000-01 Edition, US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2000).

(From Meeting Today's Challenges - American Statistical Association)

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