How To Become a Statistician in 5 Steps (Plus Skills and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 1 November 2022

Published 11 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in numbers and statistics, you may wonder how to become a statistician. There are a variety of career paths you can take to enter this field. Understanding the level of education, skills and experience required to become a statistician can help you make informed decisions regarding this career path. In this article, we outline how to become a statistician, explore their daily duties, skills, average salary figures and answers to frequently asked questions about this role.

How to become a statistician

A statistician is someone who uses statistics, either theoretically or practically, in a business or academia. Applied statisticians collect reliable data, analyse large quantities of raw data and use specialist tools to analyse these large amounts of data. They then report their results to coworkers, bosses and other investors to inform corporate strategy. The following steps can help you discover how to become a statistician:

1. Obtain an undergraduate degree

An undergraduate's credentials in a suitable course are required to work as a statistician. A bachelor's degree can give you the most direct training of the first. You can also consider modules in calculus, linear algebra and mathematical reasoning.

Mathematical courses like applied math, computer science and economics may also contribute to building a solid foundation of statistical knowledge. You might also complete coursework that focuses on statistics in a bachelor's degree or related field, such as mathematics.

Related: A Guide to What You Can Do With a Mathematics Degree

2. Gain exposure via internships and data analysis contests

There are numerous ways undergraduates can prepare for a career as a statistician. Starting an internship is a great way to gain real-world experience and connect with professionals in the industry. You might also participate in contests that allow you to work with actual data. Ensure you include information about an internship or any awards won through competitions on your resume.

Data analysis contests would give you the on the job skills that you may need to perform your duties. These contests may also present to you the challenges that you expect as you carry out your duties. As a statistician, there's a high likelihood that the problems you could face are always new to you or unique. Therefore you may need a creative mind for you to handle them as they come.

3. Obtain a master's degree

Most professional statisticians hold master's degrees in applied statistics or mathematics. You might consider advancing your studies to obtain a doctorate if you wish to teach statistics at a high education level. A master's degree can help candidates secure a professional role at a reputable company. If you have a bachelor's degree in an unrelated subject, you might pursue a Master of Applied Statistics to gain entry-level work.

This would also increase your chances of being hired over other candidates who have merely an undergraduate degree. Some employers may prefer statisticians who have postgraduate training over undergraduate. You may consider obtaining a master's degree in the field of statistics to help you qualify for more roles.

4. Include professional credentials on your resume

You can demonstrate your abilities through a variety of certification exams and portfolio assessments. There are two levels of credentials. The first is the GStat, which is for people who have finished a master's degree. The second is the PStat, which necessitates recommendation letters and work samples in addition to the entry-level GStat. Determine which one of these two credentials are most appropriate for you.

As technology changes, a statistician's role might change too as you may use new technology or software tools. Consider analysing current job descriptions to find out popular certification requirements in the area you wish to enter, as this can help you know which certification to take.

5. Choose a field to specialise in

Professional statisticians can work in various fields, but to stand out to a potential employer, you'll need to demonstrate how your degree and expertise are ideal for the position. Consider which area you wish to specialise in including, economics, academia, demography and marketing. You might also consider specialising in in-demand sectors like the government and pharmaceuticals.

Related: 25 Careers in Economics (With Duties and Salaries)

What is the role of a statistician?

The duties that statisticians may accomplish regularly differ depending on the industry and institution in which they operate. Statisticians may serve public or commercial organisations, such as financial institutions, insurance firms and research firms. The core duties of these professionals commonly include:

  • performing data collection, analysis and interpretation

  • detecting patterns and connections in data

  • researching methodologies for data collection

  • sharing findings with stakeholders through graphs and charts, which at times typically include non-technical users

  • providing strategic advice to organisations and businesses

  • helping in the decision-making process

Related: Decision-Making Skills: Definition With Tips

Important skills to become statisticians

Statisticians often have a distinct blend of technical, analytical and leadership qualities to remain effective. These may include the following:

  • Analytical: Statisticians are often professionals in data analysis as the most primary requirement. They should be able to see trends and anomalies in data.

  • Technical proficiency: Statisticians use technical skills to operate computer systems, formulas and other techniques to successfully gather and modify data that affects their decisions.

  • Communication skills: Statisticians also possess excellent communication abilities to adequately explain the results of their investigation to other team members in the business. This encompasses verbal and written communication and the capacity to display material in a visually appealing manner.

  • Leadership qualities: Statisticians that are particularly viable should be critical thinkers regarding data they're evaluating from the perspective of essential stakeholders and managers. Learning to think like a leader could assist statisticians in seeing anomalies and data points that can have a significant impact on their firms.

  • Ability to handle stress, manage time and prioritise: As a statistician, you may handle more than one project while responding to requests and crises that are not anticipated. They can use this skill to prioritise tasks and manage time to accomplish the set objectives.

  • Problem-solving: These professionals regularly use this skill to identify discrepancies in data that could affect an overall result. Statisticians can promptly think of solutions and analyse data correctly.

Related: Business Analyst Skills (Definition and Examples)

Statistician salary

The average statistician salary is $102,556 per year. Factors like experience, locality and industry can influence a statistician's total income. Though a statistician's job description may not vary much, salary increases with expertise, meaning experienced statisticians may receive a higher income. Computer science, machine learning, data analysis, and Python's computer language may lead to higher compensation.

Jobs related to a statistician's

Here are some related careers that may involve the use of statistics or mathematical principles:

  • consultant

  • economist

  • statistical mathematician

  • arithmetician

  • risk evaluator

Read more: Types of Economists (With Primary Duties and Average Salary)

Statistician employment prospects

Job Outlook recently reported that the number of statisticians increased over five years from 2,900 in 2011 to 3,300 in 2016, suggesting that the demand for statisticians and their analytical expertise is growing. This expansion could relate to the many opportunities diverse sectors offer these professionals. In addition, the government employs a considerable number of statisticians, and government entities provide the most job prospects for recent graduates.

Job Outlook also notes that 72% of statisticians work full-time, meaning there may be more opportunities for candidates looking for full-time work. These professionals work an average of 41 hours per week. Your schedule may depend on your location and agreement with management. The highest level of statisticians appears to be in The Australian Capital Territory.

Frequently asked questions about becoming a statistician

The following answers to common questions about this career can help you gain a deeper understanding of a statistician role:

How long does it take to become a statistician?

It takes a total of four to six years to become a statistician. A bachelor's degree typically takes four years to complete and a master's one and a half to two years, depending on your chosen program. A doctorate in this field can add four to five years to complete. You may be able to work in a statistician role alongside these studies.

What is the work environment of a statistician?

Statisticians frequently work in workplaces that are both convenient and enjoyable. These professionals work primarily in offices, though they may travel to meet with stakeholders and participate in regional, governmental and international workshops. Often statisticians may be working as part of a multidisciplinary project team.

Statisticians can work efficiently under pressure and are adept at meeting deadlines. Full-time professionals usually work 38 to 40 hours per week, whereas part-time professionals generally work less than 38 weekly hours considerably. Statisticians may also voluntarily complete overtime to meet deadlines of large projects.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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