Why Biostatistics is One of The Top Jobs For Math Majors

Becoming a biostatistician is a top career path for math majors
Becoming a biostatistician is a top career path for math majors

The events of the last couple of years have highlighted the importance of biostatistician roles worldwide. Daily, we use stats on disease transmission, infection rates, vaccine efficacy, and other related data to make decisions.

Naturally, we are inclined to assume doctors and other clinicians are involved in each of these studies. While that is often the case, a biostatistician plays a key role in gathering, analyzing, and reporting vital information. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of biostatistician jobs, but the work of biostatistics is far broader and valuable in a variety of other areas.


What Does a Biostatistician Do?

In short, biostatisticians apply mathematical and statistical methodologies to essential questions in areas like medicine, public health, environmental science, and other scientific fields related to biology. Anytime you come across a well-researched statistic related to illness, wellness, environmental impacts on humans, animals, or plants, a biostatistician is almost certainly behind the work that produced that information.

The work of a biostatistician involves an array of potential tasks. Some include:

  • Designing studies or clinical trials in specific research areas
  • Determining methods for data collection
  • Analyzing data to draw conclusions
  • Interpreting and communicating any findings


Outlook for Biostatistician Jobs

Biostatistician jobs are available in various fields ranging from private industry to academia to government and non-profit organizations. Some biostatisticians work primarily in office settings, while others work in clinical environments. Biostatisticians work under dozens of titles and in countless fields; here are some examples of potential biostatistician jobs.


Biostatistician, Statistician, or Data Analyst

The core role of a statistician or biostatistician remains an exciting and important one. Those trained in applied statistics, particularly with a Master’s degree, are equipped to provide statistical expertise in various fields, including medicine, public health, and other biological disciplines. Biostatisticians are essential to the crucial work of understanding, improving, and protecting human, animal, and plant life.

Job Outlook for Biostatisticians

The job prospects for trained statisticians are incredibly bright, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting a growth of 35 percent in statistics jobs by the year 2030. The BLS also predicts an overall increase of 28 percent for jobs in mathematical science, giving biostatisticians a favorable career outlook.

Biostatistician Salary

According to the BLS, the median salary for statisticians in mathematical science occupations in the United States is $93,170 per year, and the upper ten percent of statisticians make more than $150,840.


Biostatistics Professor

Individuals who develop a more robust academic background will find opportunities for teaching at the university level. In biostatistics, a Master of Science in Applied Statistics can be a crucial piece of that puzzle. Biostatistics professors usually pilot cutting-edge research in the field in addition to teaching in the classroom.

Job Outlook for Biostatistics Professors

The BLS predicts an overall growth of 12 percent for all postsecondary teachers. Combined with the education needs driven by booming job markets for biostatisticians, it seems inevitable that colleges and universities will continue to develop biostatistics programs to meet demand, increasing available roles for biostatistics professors.

Biostatistics Professor Salary

A recent survey published by the American Statistical Association (ASA) found that full-time academic positions in biostatistics paid a median annual salary of $219,000. In contrast, the upper ten percent are paid $324,700.


Principal or Research Scientist

This job may carry several titles, including Principal Investigator or Senior Research Scientist. Whatever the title, this role requires some scientific background and is responsible for designing, overseeing, and performing a range of experiments and investigations. A biostatistician working as a Principal or Research Scientist may work in medical or chemical research, pharmacology, geosciences, or other related fields.

Job Outlook for Principal or Research Scientists

The BLS anticipates job growth of 17 percent from 2020-2030 for medical scientists and 11 percent for life scientists, much faster than the 8 percent expected growth for all occupations in that period.

Principal or Research Scientist Salary

The BLS calculates the median annual income for medical scientists as $91,500, while the highest ten percent in the profession earn more than $164,650.


The Future is Bright for Biostatistician Jobs

While biostatistics is relatively young, current events have fueled a promising future for the profession. Changes in medicine, public health, technology, and other fields ensure a range of exciting opportunities for those interested in becoming a biostatistician. One industry leader has identified several key areas of future growth:

  • A booming big data market, creating biostatistician jobs in the healthcare industry
  • A need for efficient, real-time, data-based decision-making support tools in healthcare
  • Growing demand for flexible, adaptable, and innovative support frameworks for clinical trials
  • The increasing value of next-generation predictive analytics in medicine and other scientific fields
  • The importance of accurate analysis of cost data to keep solutions cost-effective


How to Become a Biostatistician

No matter which path you choose in the field of biostatistics, you will need a core set of skills in applied statistics. The online Master of Science in Applied Statistics at MTU is uniquely designed to cultivate the knowledge and skills necessary for success in this rapidly-growing field.

The MTU program focuses on these fundamental, future-facing areas:

  • Advanced Statistical Methods — Combine tested techniques with emerging technologies
  • Programming and Technology — Improve familiarity with industry-standard software and tools such as R, SAS, S-Plus, and Python
  • Real-World Problem Solving — Work with real datasets to overcome common challenges and drive decision making
  • Communication and Leadership — Build the professional skills to present outcomes with confidence and clarity

At Michigan Tech, you’ll earn your degree from a university ranked among U.S. News and World Report’s top 5% of public universities. You’ll also experience these key advantages:

  • 100% online, making it ideal for busy professionals
  • Flexible enrollment with three start dates per year
  • Built around accelerated 7-week courses
  • Designed to enable you to graduate in as few as five semesters


Your Future as a Biostatistician Starts Now

The field of biostatistics offers a wide-open array of opportunities. By pursuing the kind of specialized training and education provided through the online Masters of Science in Applied Statistics at MTU, you can seize these opportunities. 

You can learn more by watching our recent webinar detailing the program structure, learning outcomes, potential career paths, and the online experience. Schedule a time to connect with your Enrollment Advisor and start your future!