How to Become a Statistician in 2023: Exploring Degrees, Essential Skills, and Licensure Requirements (Career Guide)

Imagine a career where you harness the power of data to solve complex problems and make crucial decisions. A career that is in high demand across various industries and offers a world of opportunities. This is the exciting world of a statistician. If you have a passion for numbers and a knack for analyzing data, becoming a statistician might be the perfect career path for you.

In this guide, we will explore the role of a statistician, the skills required, education options, and the benefits and challenges of this profession. Get ready to dive into the fascinating world of statistics and discover if this career is the right fit for you.

Short Summary –

  • Statisticians utilize data analysis skills to solve real-world problems across various industries

  • Essential skills for a successful statistician include technical proficiency in statistical software, programming languages, mathematics and analytical IT skills as well as soft communication and interpersonal abilities

  • A career in statistics offers competitive salaries with a positive job outlook in 2023 and many years to come

What is a Statistician?

Statistician viewing a chart

A statistician is a professional who applies statistical methods and models to analyze numerical data to identify trends and patterns which aid in business decision-making processes. They gather, process, and interpret data to help inform planning and develop solutions.

Statisticians play a vital role in today’s data-driven world. They employ statistical methods to collect, interpret, and assess data to address real-world issues. If you have an aptitude for analysis and an affinity for utilizing numerical and data-based evidence, you might be well-suited to become a statistician.

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Statisticians work in a range of industries, including private businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. With experience and further education, statisticians may advance to higher-level roles, often with great compensation packages and rewarding annual salaries, the medium pay is $96,280 per year according to 2021 reports at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Description and Responsibilities

As a statistician, you will be responsible for:

  • Data collection

  • Analyzing and interpreting data to assist businesses in making important decisions, solving problems, and addressing logistical scenarios

In the medical field, for example, statisticians may be involved in designing, conducting, and concluding clinical trials, calculating the number of participants required for a trial, and utilizing data collection tools to measure results. In a nutshell, a medical statistician would utilize statistical techniques to evaluate data.

To analyze raw data and derive meaningful insights, statisticians employ statistical tools, algorithms, and statistical models, along with software to analyze statistical data. They may utilize various methods to collect data, such as surveys conducted via telephone, postal mail, the internet, or in person, random sampling techniques, or poll entire populations.

Industries Hiring Statisticians

Statisticians are highly sought after in various industries, some of the most popular sectors include:

  • Product Design

  • Customer Service

  • Quality Control

  • Sales Analysis

  • Software Development

  • Drug Development

  • Disease Prevention

  • Education

  • Government Regulations

The demand for statisticians in businesses across the globe has been steadily increasing. This growing demand has led to promising career prospects for aspiring statisticians in various fields.

Mastering Essential Statistician Skills

Aspiring statisticians must be well-versed in technical, analytical, and leadership skills. Having this powerful combination of abilities can help anyone excel in this challenging, yet rewarding profession.

Statisticians cultivate an intuition for the data they are examining and possess the ability to effectively communicate their findings.

While data science focuses on computational techniques for decision-making, statisticians utilize mathematical analysis to investigate and address real-world issues. Competencies and experiences that could assist you in distinguishing yourself in the job market and enable you to execute your work proficiently are essential for statisticians.

With a background in statistics, you can also pursue a promising career in data science.

Technical Skills Required

Technical proficiency is requisite to become a statistician, encompassing:

  • Statistical Software

  • Programming Languages

  • Data Analysis

  • Mathematics

  • Computer Competency

Furthermore, analytical and IT skills, in addition to interpersonal and communication skills, are indispensable.

A statistician should possess proficiency in programming languages such as R, Python, and SAS. A comprehensive understanding of data visualization tools, including Tableau, Power BI, and D3.js, is also essential. Moreover, a statistician must have an aptitude for statistical analysis tools such as SPSS, STATA, and Minitab.

Soft Skills Recommended to Excel

In addition to technical skills, statisticians must possess a range of soft skills to excel in their profession. These include:

  • Communication

  • Collaboration

  • Critical Thinking

  • Problem-Solving

  • Curiosity

  • Creativity

  • Ability To Work Autonomously

Statisticians must also possess the capacity to compose comprehensive reports and present information effectively, as well as the ability to think critically and resolve intricate issues.

Teamwork is another essential skill for statisticians, as they often work in groups and need to collaborate proficiently. Possessing strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate results and discoveries to non-statisticians is crucial for success in this field.

Education Options to Becoming a Statistician

Student learning mathematics

To become a statistician, you typically need a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a recognized university with a solid foundation in:

  • Mathematics

  • Statistics

  • Computer Science

  • Economics

  • Econometrics

  • Material Sciences

Acquiring a bachelor’s degree is the most prevalent route to attaining a professional statistician role. Alternative education options, such as coding bootcamps, community colleges, or universities, are also potential pathways to consider.

Education is a vital component of a statistician’s career, providing the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in the field. It is important to choose the right educational pathway that aligns with your career goals and interests.

Undergraduate Degree Program Options

Mathematics, statistics, or computer science are the bachelor’s degree options available for those wishing to pursue a career in statistics. During undergraduate studies, it is essential to cultivate skills such as calculus, linear algebra, and computational thinking. A bachelor’s degree in mathematics, economics, computer science, or any other appropriate field, along with analytical and problem-solving capabilities and excellent communication skills, may be sufficient for an entry-level position as a statistician.

For example, to pursue a career as a sports statistician, a bachelor’s degree in one of the following disciplines is required; mathematics, statistical analysis, computer science, or any combination of these disciplines. For those interested in pursuing a career in environmental statistics to become a statistician, courses related to environmental science are recommended.

It is crucial to choose a degree program that aligns with your career aspirations and provides a strong foundation in the necessary skills and knowledge.

Graduate Degree Programs and Beyond

While a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some positions, a master’s degree enhances employment opportunities and renders statisticians more desirable for hiring. Advanced degrees in applied statistics or related fields are available for those seeking to further their education.

A doctoral degree is required for those who desire to teach at a university, whereas a master’s degree may be sufficient for employment in both private and public sectors. Employers generally prefer statisticians with advanced degrees in applied and theoretical statistics or related fields.

Why Gaining Work Experience in Data Analysis is Essential

It is essential to gain relevant experience and build a portfolio to showcase your skills and knowledge as a statistician. Internships provide an opportunity to gain practical job experience and are recommended after obtaining a degree in statistics. Data analysis competitions are another excellent way to gain experience, as they require participants to analyze data and present their findings.

Personal projects, such as independent research or data analysis, can also help you acquire knowledge and build a portfolio. By participating in internships, data analysis competitions, and personal projects, you can demonstrate your expertise and commitment to the field. These experiences will not only help you build a strong portfolio, but also provide valuable networking opportunities and potential job leads.

Professional Certifications for Statisticians

Professional certifications can enhance your employability and provide a competitive advantage in the job market. The Accredited Professional Statistician® (PStat®) and SAS® Certified Statistical Business Analyst are two respected certifications for statisticians.

Obtaining a professional certification demonstrates your commitment to the field and verifies your expertise in specific areas of statistics. Pursuing professional certifications can help you stand out in the job market and advance your career as a statistician.

Career Opportunities and Specializations for Statisticians

A career as a statistician offers a variety of opportunities and specializations in diverse industries, including sports, environmental, and medical statistics. Statisticians have a wide range of career paths to choose from. These include business analysts, risk analysts, quality analysts, software engineers and researchers. Environmental statisticians, for example, observe and analyze data to detect trends pertinent to environmental science, elucidating various phenomena, and facilitating more informed decision-making on the part of environmental scientists.

The versatility of a career as a statistician allows you to explore different industries and roles, providing ample opportunities for growth and development. Some potential career paths for statisticians include:

  • Data Analyst

  • Market Researcher

  • Actuary

  • Research Scientist

  • Biostatistician

  • Financial Analyst

With the increasing demand for data-driven decision-making, statisticians are poised for a promising career path.

Comparing Statisticians to Data Scientists and Data Analysts

While statisticians, data scientists, and data analysts all deal with data, they differ in terms of their roles, skills, and responsibilities. Here is a breakdown of their differences.

  • Statisticians employ mathematical analysis to investigate and address real-world issues.

  • Data scientists focus on computational techniques for decision-making.

  • Data analysts primarily examine and interpret data to provide insights and support decision-making.

Understanding the distinctions between these roles can help you determine which career path aligns best with your interests and expertise. With a background in statistics, you can also explore careers as a data scientist or data analyst, broadening your opportunities in the data-driven world.

Statistician Salary and Job Outlook

The employment outlook for statisticians is positive, with a projected growth rate of 33% between 2021 and 2031 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median salary for statisticians was $95,570 in May 2021. Education, experience, location, and industry can all affect median salaries. It’s important to consider all of these factors when calculating a salary. Some of the highest-paying cities in the United States for statisticians include:

  • San Francisco

  • San Jose

  • Boston

  • Washington D.C.

  • New York City

The promising job outlook and competitive salaries make a career as a statistician an attractive option for those with a passion for data analysis and problem-solving. Pursuing this career path offers both financial rewards and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact across various industries.

Networking and Professional Organizations for Statisticians

Networking and professional organizations play a crucial role in the career development of statisticians. The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is a professional organization for statisticians, providing opportunities for collaboration, learning, and career advancement. Other professional organizations, such as the American Statistical Association, can also offer valuable resources and networking opportunities for statisticians.

Participating in professional organizations and networking events can help you connect with like-minded professionals, stay updated on industry trends, and discover new opportunities for career growth. These connections can be invaluable in advancing your career as a statistician.

Pros and Cons of a Career as a Statistician

Like any profession, a career as a statistician has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the major benefits is the job mobility and flexibility it offers across various industries. However, the high costs associated with the necessary education and the demanding work environment can be considered drawbacks.

When weighing the pros and cons of a career as a statistician, it is essential to consider your personal interests, skills, and long-term career goals. By understanding the challenges and rewards of this profession, you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right career path for you.


In this guide, we have explored the exciting world of statisticians, diving into the roles, skills, education, and career prospects associated with this profession. With a strong foundation in mathematics and statistics, a passion for data analysis, and the right educational and professional experience, you can embark on a rewarding career as a statistician.

As the demand for data-driven decision-making continues to grow, statisticians will play an increasingly crucial role in shaping our world. Embrace the challenges and opportunities of this profession, and you may find yourself at the forefront of innovation and progress in various industries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is statistician a high paying job?

Statisticians generally earn an annual wage of around $95,570 in the US, with the highest salaries found in California ($105,423), New York ($99,334) and Maryland ($96,913).

The best jobs can pay up to $136,000 per year, making statisticians a high paying job.

What degree is needed to be a statistician?

To be a statistician, a minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or an IT-related field. A master’s degree is usually preferred, and courses in computer science, life sciences, or physical sciences can provide additional benefits.

What is a statistician top salary?

Statistician salaries range between $60,000 and $157,300 per year, with the median salary being $95,570 in 2021. The highest 10 percent of statisticians earn more than $157,300 annually.

How many years of school do you need to be a statistician?

To become a statistician, you typically need a bachelor’s degree which takes four years to complete, and some roles may also require an advanced degree such as a master’s which usually takes two years.

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