A major in statistics might appeal to you if you love working with numbers and enjoy taking classes in math, computers and the physical and social sciences. However, you might wonder if a statistics degree is a marketable choice for career preparation. While those outside the field may ask you what job you could do with a statistics degree, the reality is that many different industries and job roles require skills in data collection, manipulation and analysis. Whether you go on to work in a job that includes “statistician” in the title or use your education in a different analytical position, you will find that a statistics degree qualifies you for numerous jobs with high pay and faster than average rates of career growth.
The Statistician Career Path
About 37,200 workers across the United States are statisticians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Statisticians apply the principles and techniques of statistical analysis to understand and interpret numerical data. The work of statisticians helps us identify numerical trends in all kinds of fields and understand phenomena in the life, physical, and social sciences. Statisticians work in a surprisingly wide array of industries, but the federal government is the single largest employer, accounting for 13 percent of jobs in this occupation, the BLS reported. Government statisticians often gather and analyze data that is relevant to matters of public policy, ranging from unemployment rates that indicate the health of the economy to pollution rates that reflect impacts on the natural environment. Other top employers of statisticians include the scientific research and development industry, insurance activities, healthcare and colleges and universities.
One popular role within this occupation is sports statistician. This career may well be your dream job if you love sports and enjoy the mathematical science of statistics. Sports statisticians apply statistical methods of compiling and analyzing data to sporting events. Baseball, football, basketball and hockey enthusiasts are often drawn to this career path, which can take two forms: academic and recorder, also known as scorer. Academic sports statisticians, who often have advanced degrees, apply statistical methods to analyze data in sports, looking for trends, patterns and other interesting findings that improve the game or our understanding of it. Recording sports statisticians watch the game and record scoring and other data in real-time.
When you apply your statistical knowledge to the healthcare field, you might have the job title of biostatistician. These specialized statisticians work in settings like hospitals, medical clinics and pharmaceutical companies, the BLS reported. Biostatisticians conduct a variety of work analyzing data in the fields of biology, healthcare and medicine. The work of biostatisticians helps the medical community understand the causes of and contributing factors to diseases and the efficacy of new treatment methods.
Statisticians earn a median salary of $84,060, with those working in government roles and research and development roles earning the most, at $103,630 and $91,610 respectively, the BLS reported.
Analytical Career Paths
If none of these career options sounds quite right for you, don’t worry. Your statistics degree has far more applications beyond statistician. The many different opportunities for candidates with your strong analytical, logical and reasoning skills.
For statistics majors who want to stay in the math-related occupations, one excellent job you can get with your degree is actuary. In this role, you would apply your mathematical skills and your familiarity with statistical analysis software to compute the financial costs of risk, most likely for an insurance company or a bank or finance company. Actuaries make a six-figure median salary and don’t need a graduate degree, but they must pass a grueling series of professional certification exams that can take up to a decade to complete, the BLS reported.
Operations research analyst is another math-related profession to consider with your statistics degree. Organizations ranging from private corporations to the Department of Defense depend on operations research analysts to apply their mathematical and statistical skills to evaluate their operations for ways to solve problems, streamline processes and make the organization work better. The median wage for operations research analysts is slightly below that of statisticians, at $81,390. However, this larger occupation that currently employs 114,000 workers offers far more opportunities, the BLS reported.
Beyond the field of mathematics, graduates of statistics degree programs find work in all kinds of industries. Often, they hold job titles such as data analyst or data scientist. In finance, the role of quantitative analyst typically requires a master’s degree and involves applying statistical modeling to the markets of business and finance. Tech-savvy students may be interested in a computer systems analyst role, which requires information technology (IT) knowledge as well as analytical skills to evaluate computer systems and devise technological solutions to problems.
The demand for these non-statistician roles is high. Experts believe three million new jobs will open up for candidates who have data science and analytical skills in the year 2020 alone. Many of these statistics-related careers offer high wages.