Career Information for Statistics Students: What Can You Do with a Master’s in Statistics in 2024?

What Can I Do with a Master's in Statistics?

Statistics is an interdisciplinary field that is highly in demand. It is an excellent fit for students who love math, numbers, computer science, and analytics. Stat courses and degree programs lead to a range of career opportunities, including top-level positions for data scientists at the National Security Agency (NSA). Many of these positions are often associated with tremendous job growth and wage potential.

What does a Master’s in Statistics mean?

A master’s program in statistics provides advanced training in two different fields. This includes both mathematical statistics and applied statistics. In most cases, it is offered as a Master of Science degree in Statistics. The master’s program prepares students for careers as practicing statisticians and data scientists. It also provides advanced research expertise for varied careers. 

The curriculum for this program features experiential learning. Students will have exposure to statistical methods in a collaborative research environment. They will also pursue specialized coursework in several areas of emphasis. These focus areas include mathematical statistics, data science and statistical data analysis. Concentrations in health care and public health may also be available. This robust course of study forms a solid foundation for rewarding statistics jobs. 

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The science of statistics is complex. This field of study employs the use of statistic modeling, machine learning, and statistical data mining. These methods are used to collect, analyze, interpret, and present data. Students who have a particular interest in statistics, math, computer science, and data analysis often choose to become statisticians.

Mathematics and statistics are core disciplines present in nearly every area of our lives. Almost any time someone bases a decision on past variables, they are using statistic modeling. Statistics students use specialized knowledge in analyzing data to make decisions and predict outcomes. Their skills include mathematical theories, data analysis, mining, and applied statistics. Alongside other professionals, the aspiring data scientist use big data to address business and organizational issues. Many go into career fields involving academics and research as well. Some are employed by the government, particularly the National Security Agency. The curriculum for a master’s program strengthens students’ mathematical and statistical training. This prepares them for graduate programs in statistics or a related data scientist field. Graduates may go on to study in master’s or even doctoral programs. 

The M.S. in Statistics degree is designed for data scientists with a bachelor’s degree in statistics or a related field. The ideal candidate is an aspiring data scientist interested in earning an advanced degree without interrupting his or her career. These programs help students develop mathematical skills and apply them to real-world problems. Various core and elective courses offer hands-on experience and job training. For example, students are exposed to popular statistical software packages such as SAS. Thus, students develop skills in operations research analysis, machine learning, and mining. They also learn other statistical methods necessary to grow in their careers. This includes statistical modeling, programming expertise, and regression analysis.

Statistics students learn how to leverage data to solve real-world problems. They also learn which techniques and methods of analyzing data to use in specific scenarios. Statistics degree students get experience with a variety of statistics sub-fields. Some of these include logical regression analysis, operations research, game theory, and SAS. Thus, an advanced degree program in statistics and analysis prepares them to pursue work as a data scientist in a diverse range of fields, including those involving data monitoring committees.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Statistics?

What will you study in the Masters in Statistics program?

The Master’s in Statistics program emphasizes technical expertise in applied statistics, analysis, and mathematical statistics. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree and/or a background in mathematics and statistics can apply for this master’s program. The plan of study includes stat courses blended with related work in almost any area. Examples include Biology, Business, Economics, Nutrition, and Psychology, to name a few. The program also requires successful completion of at least one course in areas of application. These may include applied statistics, data analysis, or statistical modeling. Typically, three semesters of full-time study are required to complete the statistics degree. Students with a solid academic background may finish in one year. The curriculum includes both stat courses and elective courses for adequate job training for the candidates’ education level. 

Required stat courses for the degree in statistics may include:

  • Basics of Statistical Learning
  • Statistics and Probability 
  • Applied Statistics
  • Applied Regression Analysis and Design
  • Theoretical Statistics
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Sampling and Categorical Data
  • Industrial Research for Statisticians
  • Time Series Analysis
  • Applied Matrix Theory
  • Topics in Statistics
  • Mathematical Statistics
  • Operations Research
  • Methodological Research

Elective courses for the statistics masters may include: 

  • Fundamentals of molecular evolution
  • Random vibrations
  • Computational and mathematical engineering
  • Discrete mathematics and algorithms
  • Microeconomics and intro to databases
  • Statistical Consulting
  • Statistical Computing
  • Applied Bayesian Analysis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Data Management
  • Professional Statistics
  • Math Modeling in Life Sciences
  • Bioinformatics
  • Clinical Trials Methodology
  • Machine Learning in Data Science
  • Risk Modeling and Analysis
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Hierarchical Linear Models
  • Covariance Structures and Factor Models
  • Machine Learning
  • Exploratory Data Analysis
  • Professional Communication

The graduate program in statistics may include a capstone or an internship. This element of the program must be completed with an approved organizational partner or employer. Interested participants must also maintain a certain grade point average in their stat courses and elective courses. Requirements may vary by school.

master's in statistics

What jobs can you get with a Master’s in Statistics degree?

STEM jobs have the highest growth rate for the next few decades, and statistician jobs are at the top of job posting lists. This is usually a full-time position, and the statistician’s career opportunities span many fields. Examples include public health care, finance, product development, economics, marketing, education, geography, psychology, operations research and government. Master’s level statistician jobs demand a higher level of academic knowledge and expertise for assigned projects. Plus, professionals in this field often work under minimal supervision. Senior level statisticians may also be required to oversee the work of less experienced statisticians. The job description as well as the application and hiring process will vary depending on the job focus and the industry.

All industries need these mathematical and statistical sciences professionals. These are professionals who are adept at numbers or data mining using computational resources. They typically excel at examining data sets, tracking trends, and creating statistical models of data sets. They’re also good at producing visuals in the form of reports, graphs, and charts to explain technical data. A statistician’s job doesn’t end there, though. It also involves hands-on data collection, analysis, and review. These extra duties help determine the best statistical techniques and processes to use. Statisticians must have a keen eye. In terms of a job summary, mathematicians and statisticians are responsible for spotting, understanding, and explaining trends within populations and products.  Of course, this isn’t a full job description. For example, a statistician working for the National Security Agency also disseminates intelligence information derived from foreign sources.

A graduate degree in statistics program prepares students with on-the-job skills and knowledge as well as other professional development opportunities. This includes the application of mathematical statistics and statistical analysis. The scope of the job market is currently at 2.3 million job openings. Some of the job postings that students with a degree in statistics may apply for are:

  • Applied Statistician
  • Data Scientist
  • Data Analyst
  • Mathematician
  • Sports Analytics 
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Financial Analyst/Financial Planner
  • Statistical Consultant
  • Industrial Statistician
  • Environmental Statistician
  • Biostatistician
  • Economist
  • Tax examiner or collector
  • Astronomer
  • Academician 
  • Banker
  • Risk Analysis Team Member
  • National Security Agency (Intelligence and Counterintelligence Purposes)
  • Survey Research Staff

What is the salary outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), statistician jobs will grow by 33 percent through 2030. This means industries across the country will need an extra 15,000 statisticians. What is the salary range for these professionals? The salaries for mathematical statisticians begin at $61,760 and go up to $169,500, with an average annual wage of $108,100k.

What is the job outlook for a statistics master?

As the top-ranked job in statistics, statisticians are in high demand. The field of statistics is at the core of what drives commerce and industry today. Thus, many business jobs are available for trained data professionals who meet position qualifications. According to the U.S. News & World Report, close to 40K Americans hold rewarding and meaningful jobs as statisticians.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 14% of statisticians work as researchers, and 12% work for the federal government (many for the National Security Agency). Moreover, 9% are in healthcare-related roles, and 8% work for insurance agencies. Thus, a statistics master such as the Master of Science in Statistics is one of the most versatile degrees a school can offer, and it provides a fulfilling career path for the successful applicant.

Mathematical statisticians contribute to top industries such as energy, web analytics, and insurance.  Statistical analysis is used consistently to solve problems in the energy industry. M.S. graduates develop better management techniques for the current energy uses. Still, the application for these skills varies. A graduate’s work could include creating more energy-efficient buildings, for example. Or, he or she may work to develop new regulations and improve existing policies that govern our use and understanding of energy.

Web analytics is also a field that applies statistical analysis and mathematical knowledge to solve problems. Here, data helps us to understand things like website traffic, the nature of the visit, and how people interact with the content. Most importantly, it reveals what those interactions mean to a business. Web analytics also analyzes conversion rates. This shows how many people who visited the site go from visitors to clients, users, or subscribers. This type of data analysis can influence marketing plans, product design, and general business plans. The insurance industry relies heavily on statistics and data mining to determine types of coverage. Insurance actuaries determine the best policies by applying game and decision theory.

master's in statistics

How to choose the right Masters in Statistics program?

The study of statistics as science allows a person to learn from data in collection, interpretation, and analysis. The best graduate programs in statistics offer a comprehensive foundation. This helps statistics students show exceptional understanding and expertise in the field. 

Varieties of statistics master’s degree programs span many statistics courses and specializations. Examples include linear algebra, differential equations, mathematical analysis, and stochastic analysis. Other areas of emphasis designed to hone subject matter expertise could include machine learning, data science, and data mining.

A master’s degree program in statistics requires a range of analytical skills to sole problems on behalf of companies and organizations. Experience, communication, leadership, and technology skills are required, for example. This unique combination of skills and knowledge is blended with critical thinking and a keen sense of curiosity. Experts in statistics seek to present data in easy-to-understand and visual ways.  Good master’s in statistics programs feature professional develop opportunities designed to facilitate these skills.

Are you a student who desires more advanced training in statistics? Then, you should consider doctoral programs in the field.

Format: for Statistics Masters: Online or Traditional?

Traditional statistics and data science schools are typically more expensive than online schools. But that can depend on the type of school. Private universities have higher tuition rates than public universities, for instance. The average statistics or data science student attending a private school spends a large amount on tuition. Plus, there are living expenses, the cost of books and other school-related materials to consider. Still, the leading private colleges in the county are also known for their high academic standards. Graduates from these universities are known to maintain a high grade point average and excel in a variety of fields. 

All the best statistics master’s programs offer online options. This format supports a graduate student’s need to advance his/her academic program in mathematics while also working. Online students enrolled in statistics courses study in a remote or home-based location.

Colleges and universities that offer online degree programs in statistics are typically cheaper. There are various reasons for this. Schools that specialize in offering online degrees usually do not have actual property and buildings to manage. So, they have fewer expenses to incur. Neither do they have thousands of staff members and personnel to pay each month. This allows them to offer cheaper tuition rates. Also, there are no costs associated with commuting to a college campus.

Online graduate programs in statistics are immensely popular. That’s because they allow suitable candidates to take statistics and data science coursework at their own pace. Students can take advantage of remote learning while remaining fully employed.  

Online statistics graduate programs also support a high level of skills and knowledge. They engage students in various areas of the discipline. Examples include research, critical thinking, mathematical sciences, and other career-path essentials. The best math master’s programs offer preparation for a range of professional positions. Graduates may find opportunities in virtually any industry or job market.  

Cost of an MS Degree in Statistics / Data Science

The cost of a master’s degree program is an important consideration for most students. Other considerations include things like scholarships, aids, and tuition waivers. Students must also consider expenses. Examples include room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation. That’s on top of basic tuition and fees. 

In this regard, online colleges and universities are cost-effective and affordable for an MS degree. They offer a viable alternative to attending an on-campus program. They are also flexible. Thus, working adults can complete their education and get an advanced degree without leaving their day jobs. They can also save on miscellaneous costs and just pay basic tuition and fees for their graduate program. 

Even so, students should consider all other criteria along with the cost. Cheaper is not always better. The degree and quality of education are not directly proportional to the cost. Students need to thoroughly research the school they plan to attend. This is a good practice regardless of whether it is an online or traditional brick-and-mortar school. Considerations include the school’s admissions rate, accreditation, faculty, graduation rate, and employment outcomes.

Accreditation of MS Degrees in Statistics

The role of accreditation is for accreditors to develop a standards-based evaluation process. An accredited program adds to a program’s credibility and recognition. Accreditation organizations offer insight into the programs that best meet standards for excellence. 

The accreditation process is vital. This is because it helps prospective students understand the quality of an academic program. Schools can achieve recognition for quality in academics, services, and other benchmarks. 

Institutional Accreditation 

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) gathers information and resources on academic programs in the U.S. It also provides links to the various regional commissions that cover states across the U.S. Through this process, evaluators or accreditors assess how well the academic institution matches up to the criteria and other schools. 

The main accreditation commissions students and professionals should consider are:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Accreditation is often a prerequisite for approval of grant, aid, or scholarship funding. Some employers may offer tuition help based on whether an employee attends an accredited institution.  

Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation is designed to assess a program’s curriculum and learning outcomes. The goal is to offer an evaluation-based standard of excellence for the program. Some schools seek out specialized organizations to support their knowledge and industry-based credentials.

Specialized accreditation in statistics is designed to mark programmatic excellence. It is also intended to showcase the level of knowledge and expertise of a program’s graduates. 

Recognition from a professional statistics organization may add weight to a student’s resume. These organizations are essential. This is because they encourage information sharing and networking across various fields. The American Statistical Association (ASA) is an organization for individuals interested in statistics. Professional organizations like this offer job boards, tips, tricks, references, and other opportunities.