# How to Become a Statistician

Most statisticians enter the occupation with a master's degree in statistics, mathematics, or survey methodology, although a bachelor's degree is sufficient for some entry-level jobs. Research and academic jobs generally require a Ph.D.

### Education

Many colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in statistics. A bachelorâ€™s degree in statistics is not needed to enter a graduate program, although significant training in mathematics is essential. Required subjects for a bachelorâ€™s degree in statistics include differential and integral calculus, statistical methods, mathematical modeling, and probability theory.

Because statisticians use and write computer programs for many calculations, a strong background in computer science is helpful. Training in engineering or physical science is useful for statisticians working in manufacturing on quality control or productivity improvement. A background in biology, chemistry, or health sciences is useful for work involving testing pharmaceutical or agricultural products.

### Important Qualities

*Critical-thinking skills.* Statisticians use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

*Problem-solving skills*. Statisticians must develop techniques to overcome problems in data collection and analysis, such as high nonresponse rates, so that they can draw meaningful conclusions.

*Speaking skills.* Because statisticians often work in teams, they must be able to orally communicate statistical information and ideas so that others will understand.

*Writing skills.* Good writing skills are important for statisticians because they need to explain technical matters to persons without their level of statistical expertise.

### Advancement

Opportunities for promotion are greater for people with master's degrees or Ph.D.s. Statisticians with a master's degree or a Ph.D. usually can design their own work. They may develop new statistical methods. They may become independent consultants.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition