If you get excited about numbers and statistical data, a career as a statistician may be a good fit for you. Although having a knack for crunching numbers is extremely important, you also must have a bachelor's degree in statistics or a related field. Many employers also require a master's degree for some positions and a Ph.D. for research and academic career paths. Statisticians can find various positions within federal, state and local government, the private sector and institutions of higher education.
As a statistician working for a public sector entity, such as the U.S. Census Bureau or the Department of Health and Human Services, you'll work with numbers most of the day, creating a lot of surveys; public sector entities use surveys to collect data on everything from unemployment and diseases to voter registration. When survey results come in, you'll use computers to test and evaluate the results.
In the private sector, leading corporations, and a range of businesses of various sizes, hire statisticians to design experiments and test products. In the manufacturing industry, for example, you might assist in the testing phase of a new vehicle's performance. If you're employed by a marketing firm, you might collect and analyze data from focus groups that informs pricing decisions. As a statistician in an engineering firm, you'd use data to help engineers identify and solve the problems of newly designed or built products.
If working full-time for the same company doesn't excite you, consider becoming a consultant. Statistical consultants work independently, on a temporary basis, to help companies solve specific problems. To be an independent consultant, you need expertise in specific areas, for example, health or agriculture. As a consultant, you have more freedom to use innovative statistical methods. If you're pursuing this career path, opportunities are greater with a master's or doctoral degree.
Statistician as Writer
You can use your knowledge base and ability to interpret jargon and statistical information to write articles, news releases and reports for the media, corporations, colleges and universities. You also can contribute to scientific reports that require a statistician's input.
Dachell McSween has contributed to the "New York Daily News" and "Black Enterprise Magazine." She also writes for various online publications. McSween received a B.A. in journalism from Pace University and an M.S. in publishing from New York University.