Career Information for Statistics Students: What Can You Do with a Master’s in Statistics in 2022?

What Can You 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, and analytics. Stat courses and degree programs lead to a range of career opportunities 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 both mathematical statistics and applied statistics. In most cases, it is offered as a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Statistics. The master’s program, particularly the MS degree in Statistics prepares students for careers as practicing statisticians, provides advanced research expertise for varied careers and advanced degrees in other fields. The exposure to statistical methods in a consulting or collaborative research environment, along with the specialized coursework and elective courses in several areas of emphasis like mathematical statistics, data science, data analysis, health care, and public health, forms a solid foundation for rewarding masters in statistics jobs. 

The science of appled statistics deals with developing and researching ways to collect, analyze, interpret, and present data through statistical modeling and data mining. Students who have a strong interest in statistics and math as well as data analysis often choose to become statisticians. They devote a lot of time to research and analyze mathematical statistics, including theories and variables. Almost any time someone bases a decision on past variables, they are using statistical modeling. They may also use their knowledge of mathematical theories, data analysis, data mining, and applied statistics to solve business problems. They interact with other professionals to solve business and organizational issues using big data. Many go into career fields involving academics and research as well. The curriculum for a master’s program is also designed to strengthen students’ mathematical and statistical training preparing for graduate programs in statistics or a related field such as a master’s or even doctoral programs. 

An online M.S. in Applied Statistics degree is designed for data science professionals interested in earning an advanced degree without interrupting their careers. These applied statistics programs provide students with opportunities to develop and apply their mathematical statistics skills to current, real-world problems. The various core applied statistics courses and even some elective courses offer hands-on experience with popular statistical software packages such as SAS. Students thus develop advanced proficiency in data analysis, data mining, and other statistical methods they will need in order to grow in their careers, including statistical modeling and regression analysis.

Students pursuing a degree in applied statistics learn how to leverage data to solve real-world problems and techniques and methods to use in specific scenarios. Statistics degree students get experience with logical regression analysis, game theory, other statistical methods, and hands-on training in SAS and other statistical software packages. Thus, a master’s degree program in applied statistics and data analysis prepares them to pursue work in a diverse range of fields.

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 applied statistics, data analysis, and mathematical statistics. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in any major can apply for this master’s program with a background in mathematics and statistics. The plan of study for this master’s degree includes stat courses blended with related work in almost any area (e.g., Biology, Business, Economics, Nutrition, and Psychology, to name a few). It requires students to take at least one course in areas of application such as applied statistics, data analysis, or statistical modeling. Typically, three semesters of full-time study, usually four courses per semester, are required to complete the statistics master degree. However, students with a solid academic background may finish in one year. The curriculum for a master’s-level statistics program includes both required stat courses and elective courses. 

Required stat courses for the MS 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

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

Depending on the school, the graduate program in statistics or applied statistics may require that students complete a capstone or an internship with an approved organizational partner/employer in addition to maintaining a certain grade point average in their stat courses and elective courses.

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 statistics are at the top of the list. The statistician’s career opportunities span many fields like healthcare, finance, product development, economics, marketing, education, geography, psychology, and government. The Master’s level statistician jobs require a higher level of advanced academic knowledge and expertise. The job description, therefore, varies depending on the job focus and the industry. All industries need these mathematical statistics professionals who are adept at numbers or data mining, looking at data sets, analyzing those numbers, tracking trends, creating statistical models, and producing visuals in the form of reports, graphs, and charts. A statistician’s job also involves hands-on data collection, analysis, and review to determine the best statistical techniques and processes. They need to have a keen eye to understand and explain trends and tendencies of populations and products.  

A master’s degree in statistics program prepares students for the required on-the-job skills and knowledge, including application of mathematical statistics and statistical analysis. The scope of the job market is currently at 2.3 million job openings. Some of the jobs that students with an MS degree in statistics or applied statistics go into are:

  • Applied Statistician
  • Data Scientist
  • 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

What is the salary outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), statistician jobs will grow at 34 percent through 2026. This means industries across the country will need an additional 12,400 statisticians who are well-versed in data science to drive critical business decisions. Statistician salary ranges from $50,660 to $133,720, with an average annual wage of $88k. The average hourly rate for statisticians is $42.78.

What is the job outlook for a statistics master?

As the top-ranked job in applied statistics, statisticians are in high demand. Statistics is at the core of what drives commerce and industry today. According to the U.S. News & World Report, close to 40K Americans hold rewarding and meaningful jobs as a statistician.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 11% of statisticians work as researchers, 13% work for the federal government, 8% are in healthcare-related roles, and 9% work for insurance agencies. Therefore, a statistics master such as the Master of Science in Applied Statistics is regarded as one of the most versatile degrees a school can offer. It is a lucrative field with projected job growth of up to 2.7 million jobs by 2020. 

The top industries in statistics including data analytics include energy, web analytics, and insurance.  Statistical analysis is used consistently in the energy industry. M.S. graduates utilize the resources that we have more efficiently and develop better management techniques for the current energy uses, but the application varies from creating more energy-efficient buildings to implementing new regulations and improving existing policies that govern our use and understanding of energy.

Web analytics applies statistical data analysis to understand things like website traffic, the nature of the visit, how people interact with the content, and what those interactions mean to a business. It investigates the conversion analysis that 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 overall business plans. The insurance industry relies heavily on statistics and data mining to determine the type of coverage. Insurance actuaries determine the best policies based on statistical data 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 that helps statistics students to demonstrate exceptional understanding and expertise in the field. 

The types of statistics Master’s degree programs range across many statistic courses and specializations, including linear algebra, differential equations, mathematical analysis, stochastic analysis, and measure-theoretical probability theory. Other areas of emphasis could include machine learning, data science, and data mining.

A master’s degree program in statistics requires a range of analytical skills and knowledge, experience, communication, leadership, and technology skills. The unique combination of skills and knowledge is blended with critical thinking and a keen sense of curiosity, with a side of differentiating patterns and anomalies in data. Experts in statistics and data analysis seek to present the data in easy-to-understand and visual ways.  

Students who desire more advanced training in statistics should consider doctoral programs in the field.

Format: for Statistics Masters: Online or Traditional?

Traditional schools for statistics and data science are typically more expensive than online schools though that can depend on the type of school. Private universities have higher tuition rates than public universities. The average statistics or data science student who is enrolled at these colleges or universities spends a large amount on tuition, living expenses, and the cost of books and other school-related materials. However, 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 excel in a variety of fields. 

However, all the best statistics master’s programs offer online options, which support a graduate student’s need to advance his/her academic program in mathematics while working and studying statistics courses in a remote or home-based location.

Colleges and universities that offer online degree programs in statistics and data science are typically cheaper than a traditional brick-and-mortar university for various reasons. Many schools that solely specialize in offering online degrees usually do not have vast swaths of land, property, and buildings to manage. So, they have fewer expenses to incur. They do not have thousands of staff 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 now of importance and popularity because they allow suitable candidates to take statistics and data science coursework at their own pace via remote learning while fully employed.  

Online statistics graduate programs also facilitate and support the high level of skills and knowledge related to research, critical thinking, mathematical sciences, and other career-path essentials in data science and strategic analysis. The required skills for the best math master’s programs would serve a candidate well in a range of professional positions as well as virtually any industry or job market opportunity.  

Cost of an MS Degree in Statistics / Data Science

The cost of the Master’s degree program is an important consideration for most students. Related to that thought are things like scholarships, aids, and tuition waivers. Students must also consider room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation, along with the 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 through online statistics courses. They are also flexible, so working adults can complete their education and get an advanced degree without leaving their day jobs. Then, they can save on a lot of miscellaneous costs and just pay tuition and fees for thier graduate program. 

However, students should consider all other criteria along with the cost because 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, regardless of whether it is an online or traditional brick-and-mortar school. They should consider the school’s admissions rate, the school’s accreditation, and the faculty that teaches courses, the graduation rate, and the employment rate of its graduates.

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 as it helps to understand the quality of an academic program and whether a program offers a high-quality learning experience. Colleges and universities 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. They also provide 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)

The quality and credibility of accreditation mean that accreditation is often a prerequisite for approval of grant, aid, or scholarship funding for students. Some employers may offer tuition assistance based on whether an employee attends an accredited institution.  

Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation is designed to assess curriculum, program outcomes as well as the faculty and staff. The goal is to offer an evaluation-based standard of excellence for the program compared to the comprehensive list of criteria. Some schools seek out specialized organizations to support their knowledge and industry-based credentials beyond the nationally recognized accreditation commissions.

Specialized accreditation in statistics is designed to mark programmatic excellence and demonstrate the level of knowledge and expertise of the students who graduated from a prestigious accredited academic institution with a master’s degree in statistics.  

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


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
American Statistical Association (ASA)
U.S. News & World Report