Biostatistician - How to Become a Biostatistician

Biostatistician

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Biostatistician Job Description

 

Biostatistics is a science that is very closely associated to the healthcare services provided by public health professionals. Biostatistics involves applied statistical theory and mathematical principles in public health and related fields. The work of a public health biostatistician is to use mathematical and scientific methods to unveil the cause of diseases and injuries. In addition to this, a public health biostatistician is also required to use his or her skills to identify health trends within communities.

This public health career path suits individuals who have expertise in studying diverse information, forecasting scenarios and drawing conclusions based on statistical data.

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Responsibilities

 

Biostatisticians apply their mastery of mathematics to the health care field by analyzing and interpreting large quantities of data, including test results, genetic data, and the proliferation of diseases. Some work with population data to uncover the results of public health hazards such as a toxic chemical spill.

Other responsibilities include analyzing the effects of new drugs, the risk factors for various illnesses, planning health care interventions and explaining biological phenomena.

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Skills

 

It is fundamental to have a mastery of mathematics if you intend to become a biostatistician. Small mistakes in the numbers can lead to big mistakes in real life, so the most successful are those that pay attention to detail and are meticulous in their methods.

Knowledge and an understanding of modern databases, analytics, and some programming skills with languages like R.

To download the R statistical analysis software, click here.

To learn more about R, check out DataCamp's lessons.

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Working Conditions

 

There are a number of different positions that are available for public health biostatisticians including those in data management, pharmaceutical and clinical trials, academic institutions and data analysis. Federal agencies often employ biostatisticians to promote a healthy lifestyle among the citizens of the nation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, statisticians were employed by the following industries:

 

Federal Government

17%

Finance and insurance 12%
Educational services; state, local, and private 11%
State and local government, excluding education and hospitals 9%
Health care and social assistance 8%

 


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How to Become a Biostatistician:

 

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

 

In order to become a biostatistician, you don't necessarily need to pursue a degree in biostatistics. In fact, the major is often not even an option. Instead, pursue a mathematics degree with a high concentration on statistical analysis.

A broad knowledge of biology and an in depth understanding of mathematics and statistical methods and measures are required for students to qualify as biostatisticians.Several semesters of calculus, statistics, and linear algebra will likely be the focus of your undergraduate curriculum, along with the necessary requirements to graduate.

For a complete list of accredited schools and programs in the field of public health, students can visit the website of the Council on Education for Public Health.

 

The preparation timeline below outlines the suggested courses:

 

Grade Level Example Courses

Freshman Year

 

  • Calculus I
  • Calculus II
  • Chemistry I & Lab
  • Chemistry II & Lab
  • Physics I
  • Physics II
  • English I
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives

Sophomore Year

  • Applied Mathematics I
  • Applied Mathematics II
  • Linear Algebra I
  • Linear Algebra II
  • Statistics I
  • Foreign Language I
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives

Junior Year

 

  • Statistical Methods & Data Analysis I
  • Numerical Analysis I
  • Numerical Analysis II
  • Foreign Language II
  • Statistics II
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives

Senior Year

  • Statistics II
  • Remaining Requirements
  • Remaining Electives

 

If biostatistics is not directly available as a choice, choose statistics or another math-intensive program and supplement your curriculum with courses in biology, health science, or anything else related to the medical field.

 

2. Consider a Master's or Doctoral Program (2 - 6 Years)

 

While a post-baccalaureate degree is not required to enter the field, acquiring one will open several doors that otherwise wouldn't be available and it will put you ahead of your competition when applying to positions. 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
11.28.2016
This position supports the Biostatistics component of the Childrens Foundation Research Institute (CFRI) by assisting investigators in managing and analyzing clinical data as well as interpreting and reporting results. Works in a collaborative...
11.28.2016
PERFORMS BASIC, INTERMEDIATE AND SOME ADVANCED STATISTICAL ANALYSIS AND PROGRAMMING FOR LABORATORY, CLINICAL AND POPULATION RESEARCH PROJECTS, WITH GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT. ASSISTS LEAD STATISTICIANS IN THEIR WORK ON RESEARCH PROJECTS.
  1. Biostatistician Memphis, TN Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
    This position supports the Biostatistics component of the Childrens Foundation Research Institute (CFRI) by assisting investigators in managing and analyzing clinical data as well as interpreting and reporting results. Works in a collaborative...
  2. BIOSTATISTICIAN II Jackson, MS University of Mississippi Medical Center
    PERFORMS BASIC, INTERMEDIATE AND SOME ADVANCED STATISTICAL ANALYSIS AND PROGRAMMING FOR LABORATORY, CLINICAL AND POPULATION RESEARCH PROJECTS, WITH GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT. ASSISTS LEAD STATISTICIANS IN THEIR WORK ON RESEARCH PROJECTS.