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Statisticians - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Beginning statisticians generally are supervised by an experienced statistician. With experience, they may advance to positions with more technical responsibility and, in some cases, supervisory duties. Opportunities for promotion are greater for people with advanced degrees. Master's and Ph.D. degree holders usually enjoy independence in their work and may engage in research, develop statistical methods, or, after a number of years of experience in a particular area, become statistical consultants.

Statisticians held about 22,600 jobs in 2008. About 20 percent of these jobs were in the Federal Government, where statisticians were concentrated in the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services. Another 10 percent were found in State and local governments. Most of the remaining jobs were in private industry, especially in scientific research and development services, insurance carriers, and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing.

Job Outlook
Average employment growth is projected. Individuals with a degree in statistics should have opportunities in a variety of fields.

Job Growth
Employment of statisticians is projected to grow 13 percent from 2008 to 2018, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The demand for individuals with a background is statistics is projected to grow, although some jobs will be in occupations with titles other than statistician.

The use of statistics is widespread and growing. Statistical models aid in decision making in both private industry and government. There will always be a demand for the skills statisticians provide. Technological advances are expected to spur demand for statisticians. Ever-faster computer processing allows statisticians to analyze greater amounts of data much more quickly and to gather and sort through large amounts of data that would not have been analyzed in the past. As data processing continues to become more efficient and less expensive, an increasing number of employers will want to employ statisticians to take advantage of the new information available.

Biostatisticians should experience employment growth, primarily because of the growing pharmaceuticals business. As pharmaceutical companies develop new treatments and medical technologies, biostatisticians will be needed to do research and clinical trials.

Individuals with a degree in statistics have opportunities in a variety of fields. For example, many jobs involve the analysis and interpretation of data from economics, biological science, psychology, computer software engineering, education, and other disciplines. Additional job openings will become available as currently employed statisticians transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the workforce for other reasons.

Among graduates with a master's degree in statistics, those with a strong background in an allied field, such as finance, biology, engineering, or computer science, should have the best prospects of finding jobs related to their field of study.

Median annual wage-and-salary wages of statisticians were $72,610 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $52,730 and $95,170. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,740, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $117,190.

The average annual salary for statisticians in the Federal Government was $92,322 in March 2009, while mathematical statisticians averaged $107,015.

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