Statisticians are responsible for using mathematical knowledge in order to collect and analyze numerical data, frequently using such methods as opinion polls and publicly available information in order to draw statistical inference about various topics. Statisticians may apply their knowledge to the fields of economics, medicine, marketing, education, engineering, and many others.
For example, those working for drug manufacturers must design clinical trials in order to have a drug approved by the FDA, and a statistician will collect the data and determine the results of these medical trials.
It is common for statisticians to take a small sampling of the population in order to draw inference about the population as a whole. For example, a television agency will serve a few thousand viewers in order to gain information about their viewing audience and to target their programming to that group. It is increasingly common for statisticians to use computer technology in order to calculate statistical data, and they are employed by just about every government agency.
Most professionals will work 40 hours a week, and they may have to travel in order to conduct research and to take surveys. These workers will often have a degree in statistics or math at the masters level in order to obtain employment with a private corporation. The Federal government frequently allows statisticians to apply to jobs with only a bachelor’s degree.
Training will frequently involve classes in engineering, statistical analysis, mathematics, and other fields. Statisticians may specialize in a particular field such as biology or chemistry in order to work for a drug manufacturer, while others may specialize in agricultural science in order to determine the productivity of new crops. Others still may specialize in economics in order to perform market research and forecasting for the Federal government.
In 2006, statisticians had about 22,000 jobs in America, with about a fifth of these working for the Federal government and a tenth working for state agencies. The rest worked in the areas of pharmaceutical manufacturing and scientific research, in addition to insurance agencies. Job prospects for these individuals are fairly strong, and those with an advanced degree will have a wide range of opportunities.