What Can You Do with a Master's in Statistics?

michigan tech applied stats - What Can You Do with a Masters in Statistics
michigan tech applied stats - What Can You Do with a Masters in Statistics

There are a number of meaningful and rewarding career paths for those with a master's in statistics. These include roles within medical research, computer science, information technology, cybersecurity, and more. Read on to learn about the professional opportunities available to those with a graduate degree in statistics.

What type of work can someone do with a master’s in statistics?

Those with a master's in statistics know how to apply advanced statistical methods and tools to large swaths of data to discern meaningful insights. They do this specifically through predictive modeling, statistical data mining, parametric estimation, forecasting, and other tools. These skills are valuable for every industry, including:

  • Government
  • Business, finance, and IT
  • Sports and entertainment
  • Medicine and the sciences
  • Academia and research

Graduate-level statistics requires skills in mathematics and logical thinking, including deductive and inductive reasoning—all widely desired aptitudes. In other words, a master’s in statistics also prepares students for the following roles (among many others):

  • Data scientist
  • Market researcher
  • Business operations analyst
  • Computer systems analyst

While a master’s in statistics prepares students to become statisticians, the degree also prepares graduates for careers in many other fields. As statistician John Tukey said, “The best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone's backyard” (source).

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What is the job outlook for those with a master's in statistics?

Those with a master's in statistics face an extremely favorable job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an employment growth rate of 30 percent for statisticians between 2018 and 2028 (source). Plus, the occupation of “statistician” was designated as the sixth-best job in the US News & World Report’s “100 Best Jobs” rankings (source).

While the outlook is certainly positive for statisticians, it's important to keep in mind that those with a master's in statistics can apply their mathematical, logic-based, and critical reasoning skills to other careers. Many closely related occupations are also found in the top 50 of U.S. News and World Report’s "100 Best Jobs," such as:

  • Operations research analyst
  • Financial manager
  • Database administrator
  • Information security analyst
  • Market research analyst (source)

What kind of salary can someone with a master's in statistics expect?

With so many opportunities open to those with a master’s in statistics, the average salary depends on the specific occupation and can vary greatly. The median salaries for statisticians and related jobs range from $67,440 to $113,670 (source). Market research analysts can earn on average $73,747 (source). Aside from the strong salary range, statisticians also enjoy good upward mobility, job flexibility, and low-stress working environments (source).

What specific career options are available to those with a master’s in statistics?

Those with a master’s in statistics can work in nearly all industries. Below is an overview of the industries with high demand.

Government

Statisticians in the governmental sector are responsible for gathering and analyzing data to provide decision makers with information and insights. This data might relate to the U.S. economy, urban demographics, or other cultural trends. Statisticians use statistical methods to provide information on unemployment and crime rates, national housing trends, and more. They play a critical role by providing necessary information to help shape governmental policies as well as both national and local legislation.

Business, Financial, and IT

Those with a master’s in statistics can find a number of roles within the business, financial, and IT industries. Some become actuaries, which entails analyzing financial data to determine risk levels for insurance and financial firms. Others become financial quantitative analysts, where they combine their deductive and inductive reasoning skills with knowledge of data mining.

A computer systems analyst is another popular role for those with a master’s in statistics or a degree from a top data science program. These information technology analysts use data models and statistical tools to design computer systems that foster business efficiency. Among other tasks, they may calculate computer memory and storage requirements within the IT department. They may also craft diagrams and charts in conjunction with programmers and engineers based on data and analyses (source).

Computer science and information technology are also options since they require familiarity with mathematical concepts and predictive modeling tools. Computer scientists develop and manage software solutions that serve vital roles within a business. Information technology analysts work with software as well as hardware to troubleshoot technical problems.

Cybersecurity is another tech-related field that has become more popular as technology continues to expand. Those in cybersecurity apply logic as well as deductive and inductive reasoning to develop secure software solutions for organizations. They prevent hacking and other criminal activities through technical expertise and programming savvy.

Sports and Entertainment

In the world of sports, statisticians find roles analyzing data to determine historical trends in all major sports. They also support broadcasters and reporters with relevant analyses and compelling findings.

Market research analysts use statistical models to evaluate consumer behavior within the television, film, and leisure industries. By analyzing data and using predictive modeling, they determine what services are likely to succeed for a given demographic. They also apply these tools to adjust pricing and cost models to help maximize revenue and diminish functional costs.

Medicine and the Sciences

In medical research, statisticians analyze patient data to determine health trends and foster better diagnostic methods. They also ensure that medical studies are meaningful by designing experiments and data collection protocols.

Many pursue careers in biology, chemistry, and physics as well. Some statisticians pursue roles within the environmental sciences. In these roles, they analyze climatic data like carbon emissions and ocean pollutants to provide insights with legislative implications.

Academia and Research

Those with a master’s in statistics are also in a strong position to continue with schooling and earn a doctorate. This can be attractive for those who want to teach statistics at the college level. While a master’s is valuable, candidates with a doctorate have a better chance of obtaining a tenured teaching position. In addition to teaching, those with doctorates can also pursue positions at research organizations and think tanks.

Statisticians within academia and at research organizations work closely with mathematics and statistical theories. They also help develop new statistical models for applied settings, such as many of the roles listed above.

What can I do next if I want to pursue a master’s in statistics?

To learn more about earning a master’s in statistics and developing the skills necessary for all of the above (and more) in-demand careers, check out Michigan Tech’s online master's of science in applied statistics.

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