The field of biostatistics is unique in that it combines elements of the medical field with that of math, statistics, and science, offering a wide array of different types of jobs in biostatistics. Individuals working in the field of biostatistics, known as biostatisticians, apply the fundamentals of statistics to research in the medical and public health sectors. For example, a biostatistician would be involved in a study concerning a new or experimental treatment or in a project to determine the links between certain lifestyle factors and the prevalence of disease. The main role of a biostatistician is that of calculating data to support or disprove research. The field can be particularly reward for individuals who enjoy statistical analysis and are also interested in the medical field.
Typical Job Responsibilities of a Biostatistician
According to the American Statistical Association, the specific responsibilities of a biostatistician vary depending on the exact type of job the individual is doing. However, because of the nature of the job itself, some of the roles fit across careers. For example, a biostatistician in any position is involved in designing studies, gathering data, and analyzing the collected information. In relation to these roles, an individual must be able to define the specifics necessary to the given task or experiment. For example, it is the job of the biostatistician to determine the appropriate sample size, the most accurate method to collect data, and how to effectively measure the results.
Types of Jobs in Biostatistics
Jobs in biostatistics are relatively diverse. Individuals can find jobs in a variety of different venues. Medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and other research companies are among the most common organizations that hire biostatisticians. Additionally, public health organizations and government organizations also frequently work with biostatisticians. These jobs are typically considered to feature an office work setting; however, it is not unusual for these positions to require some work in a laboratory or a similar setting.
Educational Requirements for Careers in Biostatistics
At the very least, biostatisticians must have a bachelor's degree in statistics, biostatistics, or mathematics. However, most positions require a master's degree or doctorate degree. Obviously, it is necessary for biostatisticians to have a strong educational foundation and natural inclination for science and mathematics. Additionally, these individuals should also possess effective problem solving skills and communication skills. Biostatisticians also need to be flexible and able to work well as part of a team.
Job Outlook for Biostatistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the job outlook for biostatistics to grow at a rate that is roughly average or 14 percent. The rough estimate for a salary for biostaticians is between $70,000 and $90,000. These individuals typically keep "office" work hours of 40 hours per week with minimal nights and weekends.
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Biostatistics is a great option for individuals who have strong analytical skills and are interested in the medical field. While the types of jobs in biostatistics are relatively diverse, the availability of positions at present isn't abundantly numerous; however, the field may see a rise in need over the next several years.