What is a biostatician...is this the right career choice for me?
With the riptide of medical data floating through today's hospitals, insurance companies, and other various medical institutions, the need for skilled interpreters has never been greater. These men and women are known as “Biostatisticians”, individuals with a strong grasp of computing and mathematics, capable of making logical decisions and deductions from the ebb and flow of the numerical currents.
Become a Biostatistician
- Career Plan: How to Become a Biostatistician
Daily Responsibilities of a Biostatistician
With a name like “Biostatistician”, one can expect the field to involve two things – medicine and math. This is essentially true. In the main, these individuals use their knowledge of statistics to analyze and create methods of interpreting the vast amounts of medical data floating through the computers of our nation's health care system. They can find work with our nation's pharmaceutical companies, registering and cataloging the results of various clinical tests. Or, they perform such duties as assessing the risks and benefits of various medical procedures. Some even perform studies on the nature of the system itself, computing the efficiency of America's modern medical methods and institutions.
The realm of Biostatistics goes far beyond simple interpretation of data. A large part of their day to day work involves designing new and insightful studies, collecting the relevant information from physicians and patients, and compiling these raw numbers into a sensible form. Such challenges will appeal especially to those with problem solving abilities. Another field which commonly features Biostatisticians is that of Epidemiology. By evaluating the risk factors present in a given population, these men and women can compute the dangers of and solutions to the rapid spread of disease.
What type of education and training do I need?
There are a wide variety of options open to those who chose to enter the field of Biostatistics. But first, one must spend the necessary time in training. Because of the importance placed on accuracy and efficiency in the Biostatistics world, the training program for its members is rather long. For those who see it through to the end, however, the rewards are more than worth the invested effort.
To get their start, prospective Biostatisticians will need to enter an accredited four year college. The chosen major should be (what else?) Biostatistics, Statistics, or Mathematics if such a specific discipline is not offered. Students would also do well to add classes and emphases in the fields of medicine, biology, health science, and computing to their lists. These will help broaden their horizons, instilling all the basic traits needed in today's fast moving medical world.
While some entry level positions will be satisfied with a Bachelor's degree, most aspiring Biostatisticians will need to continue their education through the Master's or Doctorate level. Fortunately, the nation is littered with college campuses offering featuring advanced degrees in the field. This will open an incredible array of new employment avenues, making it easier for graduates to locate and secure a job.
Useful skills and capabilities for biostaticians
Because their job deals mostly with numbers, it is vital that members of this discipline be proficient in mathematics. Familiarity with modern database systems is also highly prized, along with programming and analytic ability. Teamwork skills are a must, as well, since they will often find themselves operating as an integral part of a highly skilled group.
As far as the employment market goes, Biostatisticians are an incredibly rare breed. Because of their rigorous training and wide knowledge base, these men and women often find themselves in high demand. Currently, the demand for these individuals far outweighs the supply.
According to a listing on the website Jobs-Salary.com, the average yearly wage for a Biostatistician is approximately $57,101. This is a sizable sum, representing the median at which a member of the field can expect to be compensated. While starting salaries will often land in the $40,000's, those with several years under their belts can expect to see their yearly gross climb into $90,000 territory.
Where do biostaticians work?
Biostatisticians can find work in a variety of different industries. While most are employed as members of the pharmaceutical community, there are also openings in the fields of health care, biotechnology, health education, software development, and even academia. In the main, members of this field don't often find themselves employed in a patient-care setting.
That being said, their contributions to the medical community are incredibly meaningful. Their research, according to the Stanford School of Medicine's website, can include a wide range of studies, including risk factor assessment and the development of statistical formulas which, when properly employed, can save lives in clinics and hospitals across the country. By researching the most commons diseases and other physical maladies, Biostatisticians are designing the weapons to fight illness in the future.
To learn more about becoming an biostatician, you can contact schools that offer biostatistics programs. If you are still trying to determine the right career choice, take some time to explore additional careers in health care.