Employment Fields & Outlook

Jobs in statistics are expected to grow 34% 2014- 2024, compared to 7% for all occupations, according to the US Bureau for Labor Statistics

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not specifically collect employment information on biostatisticians, there is a positive outlook with greater advancement opportunities and a growth rate of 34% from 2014 to 2024.

Where do biostatisticians typically work?

  1. Academics: Public health, nursing, statistics and related programs.
  2. Government: Center for Disease Control (CDC), Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Veterans Administration (VA).
  3. Hospitals/Non-Profits: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital.
  4. Pharmaceuticals and Contract Research Organizations: Quintiles, INC Research, Parexel, Covance.

We will focus on the last three types of employers because they employ more biostatisticians with master's degrees.

Biostatisticians in Government Sectors

  • The government continues to work on programs that enhance data, its availability to the public, and its ability to drive data-driven reform.
  • With reforms and demands for change in health care and other services, biostatisticians play an instrumental role.
  • In addition to the CDC, FDA, and VA, the Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health are major employers of biostatisticians and annually conduct more than 38,000 biology and public health related projects.
  • See current job listings at www.usajobs.gov.

A Health Scientist position at CDC exemplifies the type of government sector opportunity for which the Professional Science MS in Biostatistics would satisfy qualifications. Duties would include:

  • Analyze epidemiologic investigation data utilizing new methodologies or existing techniques that have been extensively revised.
  • Conduct major statistical studies or continuing projects for CDC investigative program.

Biostatisticians in the Private Sector

  • The majority of biostatisticians work for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.
  • Pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies reported an average salary of $92,030 for biostatisticians.
  • Contract research organizations (CRO) also hire biostatisticians to provide clinical-trial and clinical-study support for drugs and medical devices.
  • The current trend of government agencies, research organizations, and medical companies investing in CRO-run research is expected to continue growing.

Duties of a biotstatistician in private industry would include:

  • Provide statistical support on clinical studies, including representing the biostatistics group on clinical study teams
  • Provide SAS programming support for analysis datasets and presentation tables
  • Develop oversight responsibilities on studies that are outsourced to partners
  • Provide statistical input to publications, presentations, and non-study related activities


  • Master's Degree in Biostatistics or an equivalent analytic degree with excellent SAS programming skills

Biostatisticians in Hospitals

  • Biostatisticians collaborate with other investigators on clinical and laboratory studies.
  • Biostatisticians will help to plan studies, to apply for grant funding, resolve data analysis problems, to determine sample size requirements, and to draft the results of the study.
  • Hospital biostatisticians will collaborate with many different departments that have a gamut of focuses including psychiatry, dentistry, and anesthesiology.

Duties for a typical position such as Massachusetts General Hospital Biostatistician/Data Manager would include:

  • Creation and maintenance of data capture systems, designing overall schema for data collection to adhere to protocol, programming missing data checks.
  • Perform statistical analysis of studies.
  • Supervise research team on data entry, quality control, and form development.
  • Recode and restructure historical datasets.


  • Master's degree in biostatistics preferred, through programs including but not limited public health

Biostatistician Compensation & Job Security

Non-Faculty Biostatistician Salary

  • The median starting salary for a non-faculty biostatistician with a master's degree is $63,200.
  • The median salary for a non-faculty biostatistician with a doctorate is $99,300.

Faculty Biostatistician Salary

  • Assistant Biostatistics Professors saw a 12.5% salary increase between 2006 and 2012.
  • Full Biostatistics Professors with not more than six years of experience reported a median salary of $194,000.
  • Starting Assistant Professors with a PhD in Biostatistics had a median starting salary of $102,200.

Biostatisticians have higher job security than most professions, including statisticians.

  • A smaller supply of skilled workers creates a demand for that profession and fosters job security.
  • Biostatisticians are specialized requiring at least a graduate degree in biostatistics or public health with an emphasis in biostatistics.
  • Government positions may have lower salaries than private-sector biostatisticians but have higher job security.