Finding the right career path is important for anyone, especially in today’s economy when a good job is hard to find. A combination of employment stability, decent salary potential, and personal satisfaction are all important in a career, and choosing to become a biostatistician can offer all of these elements.
A biostatistician career offers a salary that is above the national average and a solid career future. It also offers a way to help influence the future of medicine for the better, and those in the field have an impact on the overall public health in various ways. It’s a job with a considerable amount of potential, and one worth considering. To learn more, keep reading.
What Is A Biostatistician?
A biostatistician is a professional who utilizes statistical techniques and tools to drive forward research in the health field. By applying statistics to their scientific research, a statistician in this field will help develop reports that can be used to improve health. Possible examples of their work include:
- Testing new drugs and using data to determine risks and effectiveness
- Studying various risk factors leading to disease
- Using statistical data to look at links that could highlight causes or cures of disease
- Evaluating results of cancer studies
- Studying transplant success ratios
- Work with researchers or medical professionals to develop new procedures for improved health
- And more
In short, these professionals gather and analyze data and then apply their findings towards overcoming health oriented problems and issues. They may work with private research facilities, hospitals, and government agencies.
As with any other job, there are various personal characteristics that can help one thrive as a biostatistician. Having strengths in the following areas will be instrumental in success in the field.
- Detail Oriented – Being detail oriented is important since the job is very specific. Being able to keep track of all information and spot all details, however small, is important.
- Good With Numbers – A good biostatistician is able to handle working with numbers on a regular basis. Basic math skills as well as an affinity for numbers is important.
- Problem Solving Skills – Being able to use information and data and then apply it towards overcoming problems is a key aspect of the job. Those with strong problem solving skills will benefit tremendously from those abilities when they enter this career.
- Communication – While much of the job involves working on your own, it’s still important to be able to communicate effectively. Most biostatisticians work closely with others in the medical profession, and discussing data and ideas is a vital part of the job.
- Critical Thinking – Perhaps the most important aspect of the job is simply being able to look at information and apply it to whatever is being studied. Good critical thinking skills are the key to success as a biostatistician.
Nature of the Work
A biostatistician has a variety of roles in their day by day routine. They will formulate or help formulate questions or challenges related to medical issues, gather data from various sources, coordinate the collection of the data, and then analyze the data to answer those questions. In many instances they will develop statistical techniques that can be used for further investigating areas of study.
They may perform data gathering through numerous sources, use a variety of technologies and tools to analyze the information, prepare reports on their findings, and consult with others in the medical field to arrive at their conclusion.
Education and Training
In most cases statisticians will need to hold a graduate level degree in the field. PhDs or Masters degrees are the most common, and it’s rare that a biostatistician position can be applied for holding only a bachelor’s degree. In some cases the field is actually a specialization in the statistics field.
Coursework will focus on statistics, advanced math, data analysis, and more. It will also cover certain areas of medicine in order to provide a solid foundation on which to apply the findings of the research.
Those who spend the time and energy needed to become a biostatistician will be rewarded with excellent career options and benefits. Average starting salaries are roughly $55,000 annually for those holding a Master’s in the field and about $85,000 for those with a PhD. Plus, the demand for these professionals is steadily rising.