College students with a flair for math may want to consider a career as a biostatistician. These professionals develop and apply biostatistical theory and methods to the study of life sciences, and are in demand by corporate and academic employers alike. If you consider yourself as an aspiring mathematician, then working as a biostatistician can prove enjoyable and lucrative. Such professionals almost always have at least one advanced degree, with nearly half possessing doctorate degrees according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS groups biostatisticians with statisticians when calculating job outlook, wages, and other industry trends. A 14 percent growth rate is forecast for this field, covering a 10-year period ending in 2020. However, those working in computer and mathematical occupations can expect a 22 percent increase in jobs, well above the 14 percent growth rate for all fields. As of 2010, 25,100 people were employed as statisticians. That number is expected to grow to $28,600 by 2020.
Biostatisticians design research studies, working with life scientists, physicians and other professionals. These individuals make predictions or draw conclusions based on statistical analysis and data summary, and provide biostatistical consultation to colleagues or clients.
These professionals write detailed analysis plans and provide descriptions based on their findings for research protocols or reports. Biostatisticians must possess strong knowledge of statistics and mathematics including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus and the application of the same. They also have strong language skills as well as computer and electronics understanding. Those that work in the medical field may also have need to have a background in medicine and dentistry.
Biostatisticians may have a background in science, technology, electronics and mathematics, the core foundation for STEM. Those that excel at the undergraduate level may go on to pursue advanced degrees. They’ll learn how to research, collect data, and analyze same. Their chief marketable skills include research techniques as well as experience with reading and writing scientific papers. Many will work as associate or full professors at universities. Others will find employment working in medical research.
The median salary for statisticians was $75,600 per year as of 2012 according to the BLS. Those in the 10th percentile earned $42,200 per year on average while those in the 25th percentile made $55,300.
Salaries for statisticians in the 75th percentile came in at $99,300 per year. Those in the 90th percentile could expect to earn $121,900 per year.
Salaries for statisticians varied sharply across the United States. Those working in New Jersey made the highest average annual wage, earning $100,300 in 2012. Alaska at $99,500, Delaware at $93,900, Georgia at $93,500 and Maryland at $93,200 followed. On the bottom of the pay spectrum was Arkansas, averaging $43,200 per year, followed by Nebraska and Mississippi at $47,800, and Indiana and Florida at $48,700.