Mathematician or Statistician

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Salary Range: $80,000 or more

Average Hourly: $ 44.85

Education: Master's degree

Number of Jobs: 44800

Jobs Added to 2029: 15000

Growth: Much faster than average



Go here to see salary and job data specific to the United Kingdom.

Top 2021 careers for getting a job.

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What Mathematicians and Statisticians Do

Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply computational techniques to solve problems.

Duties

Mathematicians and statisticians typically do the following:

  • Decide what data are needed to answer specific questions or problems
  • Apply mathematical theories and techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering, the sciences, and other fields
  • Design surveys, experiments, or opinion polls to collect data 
  • Develop mathematical or statistical models to analyze data
  • Interpret data and communicate analyses to technical and nontechnical audiences
  • Use statistical software to analyze data and create visualizations to aid decision making in business

To solve problems, mathematicians rely on statisticians to design surveys, questionnaires, experiments, and opinion polls for collecting the data they need. For most surveys and opinion polls, statisticians gather data from some people in a particular group. Statisticians determine the type and size of this sample for collecting data in the survey or poll.

Following data collection is analysis, which involves mathematicians and statisticians using specialized statistical software. In their analyses, mathematicians and statisticians identify trends and relationships within the data. They also conduct tests to determine the data’s validity and to account for possible errors. Some help write software code to analyze data more accurately and efficiently.

Mathematicians and statisticians present findings from their analyses and discuss the data’s limitations in order to ensure accurate interpretation. They may present written reports, tables, and charts to team members, clients, and other users.

Mathematicians and statisticians work in any field that benefits from data analysis, including education, government, healthcare, and research and development.

Colleges and universities. Mathematicians and statisticians working in postsecondary schools may study theoretical or abstract concepts in these fields. They identify, research, and work to resolve unexplained issues in mathematics and explore mathematical or statistical theories to increase knowledge and understanding about the field.

Government. Mathematicians and statisticians working in government develop surveys and collect and analyze data on a variety of topics, including employment, crop production, and energy use. At all levels of government, these data help to inform policy proposals and decisions that affect the public.

HealthcareStatisticians known as biostatisticians or biometricians work in pharmaceutical companies, public health agencies, or hospitals. They may design studies to test whether drugs successfully treat diseases or medical conditions. They may also help identify the sources of outbreaks of illnesses in humans and animals.

Research and development. Mathematicians and statisticians design experiments for product testing and development. For example, they may help design experiments to see how car engines perform when exposed to extreme weather or analyze consumer data for use in developing marketing strategies. 

Typically, mathematicians and statisticians work on teams with other specialists to solve problems. For example, they may work with chemists, materials scientists, and chemical engineers to analyze the effectiveness of a new drug.


Work Environment

The top employers of mathematicians and statisticians are the federal government and scientific research and development companies. Mathematicians and statisticians may work on teams with engineers, scientists, and other specialists.


Work Environment Details

Mathematicians held about 2,700 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of mathematicians were as follows:
Federal government 47%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 26
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 17

Statisticians held about 42,000 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of statisticians were as follows:

Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 14%
Federal government 12
Healthcare and social assistance 9
Insurance carriers and related activities 8
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 7

Mathematicians and statisticians typically work in offices. They also may work on teams with , scientists, and other specialists.

Work Schedules

Most mathematicians and statisticians work full time. Deadlines and last-minute requests for data or analysis may require overtime. In addition, these workers may travel to attend seminars and conferences.


Job Outlook

Overall employment of mathematicians and statisticians is projected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 5,200 openings for mathematicians and statisticians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


How to Become a Mathematician or Statistician

Mathematicians and statisticians typically need at least a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics. However, some positions are available to those with a bachelor’s degree.

Education

Students who are interested in becoming mathematicians or statisticians should take as many math courses as possible in high school.

For jobs with the federal government, candidates need at least a bachelor’s degree or significant coursework in mathematics. In private industry, mathematicians typically need either a master’s or a doctoral degree; statisticians typically need a master's degree, but some entry-level positions may accept candidates with a bachelor's degree.

Most colleges and universities have bachelor’s degree programs in mathematics. Courses usually include calculus, differential equations, and linear and abstract algebra. Mathematics students also commonly take courses in a related field, such as computer science, physics, or statistics.

Many universities offer master’s and doctoral degrees in theoretical or applied mathematics. Students who get a doctoral degree may work as professors of mathematics in a college or university.

Statisticians typically need a master’s degree, but some entry-level positions may accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

Students majoring in statistics also may take courses in another field, such as computer science, life sciences, or physical sciences. These courses may help prepare students to work in a variety of industries. For example, coursework in biology, chemistry, or health sciences is useful for testing pharmaceutical or agricultural products. Physics may be useful for statisticians working in manufacturing on quality improvement.

Advancement

Mathematicians and statisticians may advance to become senior mathematicians or statisticians or to work in other managerial roles. A master’s or doctoral degree may be required for some advancement opportunities.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Mathematicians and statisticians use mathematical techniques and models to evaluate large amounts of data.

Communication skills. Mathematicians and statisticians must be able to explain technical concepts and solutions in nontechnical ways.

Logical-thinking skills. Mathematicians and statisticians must understand and be able to use computer programming languages to design and develop models and to analyze data.

Math skills. Mathematicians and statisticians use statistics, calculus, and linear algebra to develop their models and analyses.

Problem-solving skills. Mathematicians and statisticians must devise solutions to problems encountered in science, engineering, and other fields.


United Kingdom Job Data

Source:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Mathematicians and Statisticians, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians-and-statisticians.htm (visited ).