What are the best degrees for statisticians? Does a statistician need a degree of higher education? First, let’s review what a statistician is responsible for and what is expected of them to answer these questions. A statistician deals with quantitative data. They understand and execute the proper data collection methods, analyze it, interpret it, and then accurately communicate the findings to other statisticians and non-statisticians. Businesses, organizations, and people in leadership then use the results to make effective decisions. The process described is used worldwide in every industry and field of study, from the government to business to healthcare. Statisticians are crucial to the functioning and development of societies on a global scale. From the job description, it is fair to say that statisticians require a higher education degree, but which ones exactly?
People who possess analytical and organizational skills are detail-oriented, show initiative in making decisions, thrive in independent work, and effectively communicate have the potential to succeed in the preparation process and career as a statistician. Preparation in becoming a statistician can start at a young age. In high school, taking AP Mathematics courses in advanced algebra, linear algebra, calculus, or statistics can provide foundational knowledge to jump-start the learning journey and give students a “leg up” on the competition. There are some entry-level positions for statisticians who have completed a bachelor’s degree, but most opportunities require a master’s degree. Statisticians who desire to conduct research or teach need to complete a Ph.D. Let’s take a look at five degrees for statisticians that propel professionals forward in their education and career.
Bachelor’s in Statistics
A Bachelor’s of Science in Statistics is arguably the best undergraduate degree a statistician could obtain. It covers the basic and foundational principles of statistics like probability theory, normal distribution, statistical modeling, data analysis, data manipulation, and standard deviation. As statisticians are needed in almost every field, this degree prepares them to apply their knowledge in an expanse of disciplines like healthcare, chemistry, engineering, biology, economics, agriculture, education, and psychology. Most statistics degrees will provide hands-on learning to supplement the coursework.
A great example of what a quality Bachelor’s in Statistics program offers is found at Wright State University. This program prepares graduates to either enter into an entry-level statistician job or pursue a graduate degree in statistics. Courses include Calculus, Linear Algebra, Applied Statistics, Statistical Methods, Theory of Statistics, Intro to Computer Programming, and Computer Science. Students can choose elective courses in several options, including Sampling Design, Survival Analysis, Numerical Methods, and Theory of Statistics.
Bachelor’s in Math
Mathematics is the study of numbers, quantity, shapes, and forms. The Greek word for math means “study, science, or what one learns.” The purpose of a Bachelor’s in Math program is to educate students on the foundational principles of math, including data and structures, and develop essential skills, like critical thinking, analytical, reasoning, problem-solving, and spatial skills. This degree is highly beneficial to statisticians, and outside of mathematicians, statisticians are a top job that Bachelor’s of Math graduates pursue.
Although numerous institutions offer this degree, we will highlight the Bachelor of Math program at Ohio Wesleyan University. It aims to teach mathematical ideas throughout history, the use of mathematical tools, abstraction and theory, and real-world mathematical models. Courses include Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, Calculus II, Discrete Mathematics, Analysis I, Abstract Algebra I, and Intro to Computer Science and Programming. This program offers a concentration in Statistics, which adds courses in Probability, Applied Statistics, and Mathematical Statistics.
Master’s in Statistics
Most of the jobs a statistician will pursue, require an advanced degree. The most popular and impressive degree for a statistician is a Master’s in Statistics. It can, typically, be completed in one to three years, depending on how much time you can invest. Many universities all over the world offer a flexible online option. Within the coursework, students will obtain a deeper understanding of statistical theory coupled with experiential learning through research, internships, and hands-on application. They may study risk computations, data collection, and environmental & spatial statistics. Statisticians with this degree can use their expertise in any field of choice.
Let’s use Stanford University‘s Master’s in Statistics program as an example of what you can expect with this type of degree. This program requires 45 units of study. Classes include Applied Statistics, Fundamental Concepts of Analysis, Probability, Theoretical Statistics, Stochastic Processes, Applied Matrix Theory, Programming Methodology, and Computer Organizations & Systems. Electives include Biostatistics and Consulting workshops, Industrial Research, and Independent Study.
An MBA is a popular and versatile degree. It allows for an increase in salary and opportunity. Coursework offers an umbrella of topics that give students a broad understanding of business in areas like marketing, management, accounting, finance, economics, and business ethics. A lot of MBA degrees provide concentrations to allow students to obtain expertise in a specific area. Students gain leadership and administrative skills and learn how to handle large amounts of data. An MBA can help prepare statisticians who want to advance in their career, change course, learn to manage a business and people, or have entrepreneurial aspirations.
There are a plethora of program options. Among them is the University of Chicago‘s MBA program. They offer an MBA in several formats: Full-time, Evening, Weekends, and Global Executive MBA. There are several optional concentrations, including quantitative ones, beneficial to statisticians, including Analytic Finance, Business Analytics, and Econometrics & Statistics. Beyond the classroom, MBA students attend networking events, student activities, study abroad, and professional student clubs.
Ph.D. in Statistics
A Ph.D. in Statistics is an excellent degree to acquire for statisticians who desire to be a university professor or a career researcher in government, industry, or nonprofits. It offers an extensive amount of teaching in statistical theory and methodology and problem-solving using statistical methods. The knowledge and experience gained through a Ph.D. in Statistics can be applied to many fields and opens up more career options for statisticians. Coursework is math-heavy and includes computer programming and languages like R.
At Northwestern University, the flexible Ph.D. in Statistics can be customized to the student’s interests. Required classes include Intro to Statistical Theory and Methodology, Regression Analysis, Sampling Theory & Applications, Design & Analysis of Experiments, Probability, and Stochastic Processes. To earn the degree, students need to pass the qualifying exam, pass Prospectus presentation and examination, gain admittance to a candidacy, develop and present a dissertation, participate in research activities, and attend all department seminars.
Once you graduate high school, the whole world opens up to you. The experience can be overwhelming and exhilarating at the same time. The challenge for students is to pinpoint what steps to take next and what to do with their lives. Others seem to have always known what they want to do and who they want to become. If you are fortunate enough to understand your wiring and are leaning towards a quantitative career, you can make sure to take certain classes in high school to lay an educational foundation before you even get to college. If not, there are so many different levels and types of degrees that can help you figure out the right career path. No matter what, it never hurts to begin an academic journey beyond high school.
A degree of higher education opens up opportunities and choices of careers and levels within a job. A Bachelor’s in Statistics, Bachelor’s in Math, Master’s in Statistics, MBA, and a Ph.D. in Statistics are the perfect degrees for statisticians to pursue. It’s a tiered process with the master’s building upon the bachelor’s and the doctorate building upon the master’s. Statisticians can find work after completing each level of degree, but the type of work will differ. With the enormous amount of majors, degrees, and concentrations available, statisticians can train in an enjoyable, challenging, and motivating area. It is crucial to seek out the degree that will best prepare you for your career path.
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