A biostatistician applies statistical theory and mathematical methods to research in medicine, biology, environmental science, public health, and related fields. They collect and analyze numerical data to determine how various factors affect human health. Those working with genomics and genetics apply statistical methods to determine the links between genes and drug response, disease risk and frequency, and nutritional intake, among others.
Examples of studies undertaken by biostatisticians include determining the environmental and health impacts of pollutants, evaluating new drugs, and assessing the productivity of genetically designed agriculture. Particular issues include genetic mapping, disease research, organ transplants, and fertilizers and pesticides.
As science progresses and research generates more and more information, biostatisticians will be needed to analyze that data and put it into perspective. The volume of information being produced is encouraging for the future of biostatisticians.
Working Conditions & Context
Biostatisticians typically work in offices or research laboratories during traditional business hours. For some, their work includes travel, gathering field data, and attending conferences and seminars.
Biostatisticians work in a number of economic sectors, including government agencies, universities, private industry, and nonprofit organizations. They can work alone or as part of a larger group with other biostatisticians and related professionals.
A typical Salary Range for this career is $39,740 - $117,190 annually.
The Median Income for this career is about $72,610 annually.
Biostatisticians should have a great interest in mathematics and biological sciences. In college, students should major in either statistics or applied mathematics, though some may major in a biological field with a minor in statistics.
Anyone expecting to work full-time as a biostatistician should work toward at least a Master's degree.
Certification & Licensing:
The American Statistical Association
The Institute of Mathematical Statistics
The International Society for Clinical Biostatisticians
The International Statistical Institute
The Statistical Modeling Society
Statisticians in Pharmaceutical Industry
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The National Institutes of Health: Life Works
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.