The role of statisticians is important in many industries. Different statistical theories, methods, and techniques are used in various sectors for collecting, analyzing and interpreting data. Market research, quality control, product development and performance management are a few of the areas where statisticians normally work.
If you want to make it as a statistician, then you will need to be very good at mathematics while having excellent analytical ability and problem-solving skills. Go through this guide to find out how you can start a career in this field.
Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*Net Online
Important skills that statisticians must master, other than the obvious one of being good with numbers and figures, include critical thinking, inductive and deductive reasoning, complex problem solving, etc. You must also be up to speed with the latest data analysis and management software being used within the industry at any given time.
To become a statistician, you will have to start off with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Statistics or a related subject. You may apply for some entry level jobs after completing your undergraduate studies. However, you will need to complete a Master’s degree in the field to fully make it in this sector. Research-intensive positions at higher levels are also likely to require a doctorate degree.
Steps to Become a Mathematician
The steps outlined below will help you on your journey to becoming a Statistician in the US.
1) Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
You can enroll for an undergraduate degree in Statistics, Mathematics or some related subject. Students usually opt for a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Statistics. Some degree programs enable students to earn a major in Statistics for a specific field like data science, statistics in business, statistical computing, etc. A robust undergraduate program in statistics should include the following courses among others.
2) Complete Your Master’s Degree
Once you are done with the Bachelor’s degree, you can then enroll in a Master’s program in the field. You may also go for an entry level job if you so desire and if your preferred position does not require a higher degree.
If you go for further education, then you will probably enroll in a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA) in Statistics. Other than the courses in Mathematics and Statistics, you may also take courses in quantitative fields such as computer science, engineering, physical science, etc.
3) Get a Certification (Optional)
The American Statistical Association (ASA) offers two distinct certifications for statisticians. These include the entry-level GStat (Graduate Statistician) and the more advanced PStat (Accredited Professional Statistician). While these accreditations are not mandatory, they can help you become a more competitive professional.
4) Obtain Your Doctoral Degree in Statistics
Getting a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Statistics will ultimately depend on your career aspirations. If you plan on working on senior level research positions (both academia and industry), then a doctorate degree is certainly needed. Otherwise, you can start your career with a Master’s degree as well.
5) Start Your Career As a Statistician
After you have obtained the required education, it is time to apply for your preferred employment positions and start your career as a statistician.