Career Profile: Statistician
For some people, looking at a page of numbers and graphs causes their eyes to glaze over and a yawn to start. For others, however, the idea of working with numbers and how they relate to everyday life is exciting. Are you in the second group of people? If so, becoming a statistician might be the right career for you.
Working in statistics is all about numbers. Have your parents ever talked about answering surveys or have you ever answered questions about something that you like to do or eat? Many businesses take surveys to find out about the kinds of things their customers might want. Then a statistician takes the information and turns it into something that the business can use for planning. The same thing happens with the government and other organizations. They find out how many people are in certain age groups or in particular jobs. That way, they know if universities need more funding or what kinds of jobs to encourage people to pursue.
Gathering information is only part of the work of a statistician. A list of numbers means very little unless someone can interpret what that means. Statisticians take the numbers that come from surveys and other sources of information and turn that into something that governments or organizations can use. Most statisticians have at least a Master’s degree in mathematics. With this education, they can take a list of numbers and turn it into something that shows trends and changes. If the numbers of university students has increased by fifteen percent while the general population has increased by five percent, for example, they can show that. Being a statistician involves knowing about the relationships between numbers and being able to see patterns that many other people might ignore.
Statisticians are not normally involved in making decisions about programs and funding for projects. However, their work is very important for the people who choose where to spend money. Statisticians work in all kinds of organizations, including government departments, businesses, and even community organizations. Although a Master’s degree in statistics or mathematics is the basic requirement for most people in this field, continuing on to a higher level of education might open up opportunities for teaching in a university.
Besides academic qualifications, statisticians need to have the personal qualities for the work. They often work alone and need to be able to concentrate, but they also need to be able to work with people. They need to be able to communicate with people to get the kinds of information they need for their work.
For people with the right skills, working in statistics can be a rewarding career. When they are good at their jobs and experienced in the field, statisticians can earn a good living, with salaries generally between $43,000 and $80,000 per year. Jobs are not always easy to find, but people who are flexible can also find work in related fields, such as accounting. Do you love numbers? Consider becoming a statistician.