How to Become a Statistician

Many education and career paths can lead to becoming a statistician. They all focus on relevant education and training as keys to success in the field. Employment opportunities provide statisticians with professional flexibility; exciting opportunities; and rewarding, challenging, and lucrative careers. Here’s an overview of each step in the educational process of becoming a statistician, starting with high school:

In High School

Take all the statistics, mathematics, science, and computer courses you can. Many high schools in the United States now offer Advanced Placement Statistics, which provides college/university credit while you’re still in high school.

You will need mathematics to understand the language and theory of statistics. Scientific knowledge will help you understand the subject matter and technical background of the problems you work on, as well as make you an effective problem solver. You will use the computer not only for calculations, but also to create visual displays of data. Command of written and spoken English will help you communicate the results of your analyses effectively.

In College or University

Major in statistics, applied mathematics or a closely related field. If you do major in a nonstatistical field, minor in mathematics or statistics. Develop a background in mathematics, science, and computers and gain knowledge in a specific field of interest.

A master’s degree or PhD is helpful and often recommended or required for higher-level positions. Scholastic statistics programs range from theoretical to applied and can be found in departments such as mathematics, biostatistics, public health, psychology, engineering, education, business, and economics, in addition to traditional statistics departments.

Internships and fellowships are ideal ways to gain hands-on experience in a particular field while still in school. Many government entities, businesses, and industries offer graduate students semester- or year-long fellowships that cover tuition, research expenses, and monetary compensation.

In the United States, the American Statistical Association maintains a database of internships and a list of research fellowships and grants.