employment opportunities exist for individuals with a bachelor's degree,
a master's degree in statistics or mathematics is usually the minimum
educational requirement for most statistician jobs. Research and
academic positions in institutions of higher education, for example,
require at least a master's degree, and usually a Ph.D., in statistics.
Beginning positions in industrial research often require a master's
degree combined with several years of experience.
Professional Science Master's programs
are also available in this area.
The training required for
employment as an entry-level statistician in the Federal Government,
however, is a bachelor's degree, including at least 15 semester hours of
statistics or a combination of 15 hours of mathematics and statistics,
if at least 6 semester hours are in statistics. Qualifying as a
mathematical statistician in the Federal Government requires 24 semester
hours of mathematics and statistics, with a minimum of 6 semester hours
in statistics and 12 semester hours in an area of advanced mathematics,
such as calculus, differential equations, or vector analysis.
More than 200
universities offer a degree program in statistics, biostatistics,
or mathematics. Many other schools also offered graduate-level courses
in applied statistics for students majoring in biology, business,
economics, education, engineering, psychology, and other fields.
Acceptance into graduate statistics programs does not require an
undergraduate degree in statistics, although good training in
mathematics is essential.
schools also offered degrees in mathematics, operations research, and
other fields that include a sufficient number of courses in statistics
to qualify graduates for some entry-level positions with the Federal
Government. Required subjects for statistics majors include differential
and integral calculus, statistical methods, mathematical modeling, and
probability theory. Additional courses that undergraduates should take
include linear algebra, design and analysis of experiments, applied
multivariate analysis, and mathematical statistics.
Because computers are used extensively for statistical applications, a
strong background in computer science is highly recommended. For
positions involving quality and productivity improvement, training in
engineering or physical science is useful. A background in biological,
chemical, or health science is important for positions involving the
preparation and testing of pharmaceutical or agricultural products.
Courses in economics and business administration are helpful for many
jobs in market research, business analysis, and forecasting.
communications skills are important for prospective statisticians in
industry, who often need to explain technical matters to persons without
statistical expertise. An understanding of business and the economy also
is valuable for those who plan to work in private industry.
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.
However, opportunities for promotion are greater for persons with
advanced degrees. Master's and Ph.D. degree holders usually enjoy
independence in their work and may become qualified to engage in
research; develop statistical methods; or, after a number of years of
experience in a particular area, become statistical consultants.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.