What is a Biostatistician

Biostasticians: What do they do?

A Biostatistician is a person who is knowledgeable about mathematics and applies this knowledge to biological systems. They are knowledgeable in various mathematical techniques, and know how to use computer software to perform their work. They are vital parts of many research teams and statisticians will often be found as co-authors on papers in many major journals for groundbreaking work in various fields. In addition, they are often working in groundbreaking theoretical, or applied-statistics to advance the methodology of analyzing data to the next level.

Most biostatisticians are trained at the University level, and most have graduate degrees in statistics, public health, or biostatistics. Studying statistics requires a quite a few hours of mathematics ranging from algebra to calculus. Studying statistics for an advanced degree requires that one have at least two semesters of calculus, with some programs requiring four or so semesters calculus as a prerequisite to enter into the programs. But the mathematics is just a means to an end for statisticians. They must study the various statistical methods in order to correctly interpret the data analyzed from various sources.

Upon graduation with a qualifying education in statistics, a statistician can find themselves employed in various fields including academia, public health, psychology, industry, medicine, agriculture, biology, chemistry, and a number of others. Nearly thirty percent of statisticians work for some level of government in various positions. Some of the major employers for statisticians are the US Census Bureau, the Department of Health and Human Services, the US Department of Commerce, and the US Department of Agriculture, just to name a few of the government agencies that hire statisticians. The Department of Defense also hires a good number of statisticians for their ongoing research projects. The major industries that hire statisticians include the pharmaceutical industry, health-care industry, and various other industries, including the Insurance Industry.

The median annual salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is about $65,700, with salaries ranging from approximately $30,000 to over $100,000. The BLS expects the job growth for statisticians to be about 9 percent for the foreseeable future. The BLS estimates 24,000 jobs will be open for statisticians by the year 2016.

The variety of jobs available for the biostatistician, or statistician, make this field an interesting career for someone who wants a diversity of job opportunities. Participating in cutting edge research, as well as medical research, makes being a biostatistician quite a rewarding field.