Statisticians design and apply statistical techniques for creating, collecting and analysing data to draw conclusions, inform decision-making and direct policy within areas such as science, technology, medicine, education, business, finance and government.
To become a statistician you usually have to study mathematics, econometrics or statistics at university. These areas of study may be undertaken within a mathematics, actuarial studies, arts, business, commerce, computer science, economics or science degree, depending on the mathematical and statistical emphasis of subjects taken. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics are normally required. Most universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Statisticians may perform the following tasks:
Statisticians may work by themselves, but they usually work in a team. The team may include specialists from various fields, as well as clerical and computing staff involved in data collection and analysis.
Statisticians are employed in a wide variety of fields, including financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, technology companies, large industries and major corporations. They also work in federal government departments, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Depending on individual interests, statisticians work within both private and public sectors. Some work as statistical consultants to medical facilities (both research and clinical) and financial services organisations, such as superannuation funds, managed funds or major industries. It is also possible to find work with non-government organisations and research institutes. Most statisticians work in major cities. Advancement to supervisory and higher management positions is possible for experienced and well-qualified statisticians.
An applied statistician analyses data from a variety of sources, including designed experiments and observational studies, and writes statistical programmes. Applications include health, medicine, education, industry, government, finance and business.
A biostatistician studies links between biological problems and their causes in humans, animals, agriculture and botany. They usually work in medical research facilities, universities, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies or government health departments, and use statistical models to investigate risk factors for health problems.
An epidemiologist identifies and studies factors which influence the frequency and distribution of diseases and other health-related events within a population.
A mathematical statistician develops new statistical theories, modelling approaches and statistical methodologies in a broad variety of contexts.