While a bachelor degree suffice to get a job as a biostatistician, most of them hold a master degree and some even have a doctorate in biostatistics or any other field related to it, such as biology or mathematics. Biostatisticians do academic work in the biomedical arena, and their work includes the analysis of how environmental conditions and treatment modes, among other factors, affect living organisms.
Job Profile of a Biostatistician
Biostatisticians are employed in private and public sector jobs relating to healthcare. The work include a company that manufactures pharmaceutical products, biostatisticians assist in research conducted by the company through the setup of essential parameters. Typically, the statisticians do desk work in an office environment, but sometimes they could be involved in field work.
Responsibilities of a Biostatistician
Pharmaceutical and research statisticians are required to analyze the occurrence of disease and genetic data on a daily basis. Such information is useful in setting up clinical trials aimed at assessing drug treatments. Biostatisticians working on academic and government projects are required to analyze data aimed at understanding the risks and effects due to exposure of populations, environmental conditions and chemicals. For instance, such work includes an analysis of how oil spills affect the environment.
How to Launch a Career as a Biostatistician
To start your career as a biostatistician; students have to earn their bachelor degree; however, for career advancement, students need a master degree (Master of Science, or M.S.), or a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in Statistics, mathematics, or biostatistics (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov)).
Students aspiring to become biostatistician who enrolled into a college that does not have an undergraduate degree program in biostatistics, as an alternative, earn a degree in applied mathematics or statistics. Data analysis, computer modeling and development of population samples mainly form part of the coursework of biostatistics programs offered in colleges.
The curriculum relating to M.S. and Ph.D. programs are advanced and specific coursework that includes the designing and completing of a biomedical study. Presentation of research findings and outlining of methods used are the typical requirements of such coursework.
Economic and Career Prospects of a Biostatistician
The demand for biostatisticians is forecast to grow continually within the pharmaceutical industry, which generates the most jobs for these professionals (source: BLS). Statisticians can expect job growth of thirteen percent during the 10-year period from 2008 to 2018. In June 2011, a biostatistician took home a median salary of $74,433 (source: Salary.com). Biostatisticians who are in the 25th-75th percentile, the median income ranged between $61,996 and $80,330.