Statistics Degree: What to Expect
Figuring out how many red M&M’s are in the bowl might seem like a crowd-pleasing party trick, but if you apply the same math to bigger questions, you could help solve some major problems. Statisticians spend their days gathering and analyzing data, and then using it to help companies understand what those numbers mean. From figuring out the popularity of a television show to determining the efficacy of a drug, a statistics degree will teach you how to spot trends and get answers.
Before you can start making predictions, you need to master math. Undergraduate degrees in statistics take four years to complete and consist of many a math class, covering subjects like probability theory, differential calculus, and statistical modeling. Most accredited schools offer a bachelor’s degree in statistics, and there are also a number of online options. It’s up to you to decide where you hope to spend your time, based on price, location, and flexibility of class offerings.
After you graduate with your bachelor’s degree in statistics, you can find entry-level positions in a few different areas. About 30 percent of statisticians work in federal or local government, and the majority of job opportunities for new graduates are with government agencies. Popular entry-level jobs in the field include being a mathematical statistician, working in insurance, or being a research assistant.
Most statisticians continue on to get a more advanced degree. You’ll need a master’s degree if you want to work as a financial analyst, biostatistician, econometrician, or data analyst. Once you have your master’s degree, you can even choose to switch to another industry, like insurance, economics, or investment banking. If you hope to teach at a university or lead research, then you’ll need to continue on, pursuing a PhD in statistics.