Biostatisticians vs. Economists

Economists earn greater pay, but biostatisticians have better employment prospects.

Economists earn greater pay, but biostatisticians have better employment prospects.

If you like mathematics, statistics and biology and want to affect how people receive health care, a career as a biostatistician may beckon. Biostatistics is a discipline within the statistics field; it focuses on the use of statistics in various medically related circumstances. Those with no interest in biology but with an interest in mathematics, statistics and economics may make excellent economists. And even though biostatisticians and economists aren't purely statistics-driven professionals, statistics itself is an important part of their world.

Careers in Biostatistics

The word "biostatistics" is a combination of the words biology and statistics. Primarily, a biostatistician is someone who can apply statistics to a wide range of biological and health science situations. However, biostatisticians don't actually work in direct statistics careers; rather, they're commonly found working in public health or pharmaceutical careers. Biostatisticians aren't mathematicians or statisticians but they take college courses in calculus, linear algebra, and at least introductory and probability statistics.

Careers in Economics

Economists are professionals, usually with doctoral degrees, in the social science discipline of economics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also notes that most economist careers require advanced degrees, though some entry-level jobs are available with a bachelor's degree. Most economists have taken numerous courses in economics as well as courses in statistics, accounting, calculus and certain applied mathematics courses such as game theory. No licensing or professional certification is required to be an economist, though education is frequently a deciding employment factor.

Biostatisticians and Education

According to the "StatTrak" website, most biostatisticians obtain degrees from an actual university statistics or biostatistics programs. Also, though certain jobs in biostatistics may require doctoral-level educations, many others only require a master's or even bachelor-level degree. StatTrak notes that a considerable salary increase comes to biostatisticians taking the time to obtain a doctorate. Many government, industry and academic as well as nonacademic clinical trial research jobs for biostatisticians, for instance, require only bachelor's or graduate-level degrees.

Trends in Employment

Median pay for economists is greater than for biostatisticians, though job prospects are better for biostatisticians. The BLS says that 2010 median pay for economists was $89,450. Additionally, employment growth for economists through 2020 is expected to be about 6 percent. Economists with doctoral degrees or master's degrees fare best in finding jobs. The 2010 median pay for biostatisticians and statisticians was $72,830 annually, with 14 percent employment growth expected through 2020, about as fast as average.


About the Author

Tony Guerra served more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy. He also spent seven years as an airline operations manager. Guerra is a former realtor, real-estate salesperson, associate broker and real-estate education instructor. He holds a master's degree in management and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.

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