Education and Training Requirements

High School

A master's degree is typically required for qualification for many jobs in statistics. Take classes that provide a good foundation for college education. Focus on mathematics, computers, and science classes, but don't neglect other college preparatory courses such as English and a foreign language.

Postsecondary Training

Statisticians usually graduate from college with strong mathematics and computer backgrounds. Bachelor's degrees in statistics, mathematics, or biostatistics are available at many colleges and universities in the United States. Classes include differential and integral calculus, mathematical modeling, statistical methods, and probability. Other students major in the field they hope to work in, such as chemistry, agriculture, or psychology.

A master's degree in statistics, mathematics, or survey methodology is the minimum needed for most statistician jobs, but chances for success and advancement are better with a doctorate. Positions in research and academia require a doctorate.

Other Education or Training

The American Statistical Association, Mathematical Association of America, Association for Women in Mathematics, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Statistical Society of Canada offer professional development classes, workshops, and webinars.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The American Statistical Association offers two levels of voluntary accreditation—accredited professional statistician (PSTAT) and graduate statistician (GSTAT)—to members who meet education and experience requirements.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring statisticians should take as many math and computer science classes as possible and participate in internships to gain experience in the field.

Prospective statisticians should be able to think in terms of mathematical concepts. The ability to think logically is also important, as statisticians must be able to effectively process and interpret statistics. Statisticians should also have a strong curiosity that will prompt them to explore any given subject. Finally, a good statistician should be detail oriented and able to handle stress well.