Someone who wants to become a statistician will need to obtain a bachelor's degree at a minimum to enter this field. Most statisticians have graduate degrees and the longer someone is willing to stay in school, the more employment opportunities will be available. The outlook for people interested in careers in statistics is excellent, as there is a need for statisticians in many industries and this need is on the increase.
For a high school student who wants to become a statistician, it helps to take as many math classes as possible, especially advanced math electives. If there is a nearby community college or college that allows high school students to take classes, taking math classes there is recommended as well. In addition to providing students with access to higher level coursework than they can get at school, such classes can also help students dispense with prerequisites before they go to college.
Many colleges and universities offer undergraduate degrees in statistics. Students should seek out schools with well-known statistics programs and they may want to consider looking up the publications of statistics faculty to see if anyone is doing research in an area of interest. Because the requirements for a mathematics or statistics degree are rigorous, first year college students should make a point of consulting with an adviser to find out which classes they need to take, and in what order, to get a statistics degree.
It is possible to enter the field and become a statistician with a four-year degree. However, employment opportunities will be limited and it will be necessary to work under supervision. In addition, pay tends to be lower and there are less chances to do research. As a result, most statisticians choose to pursue graduate work. A master's degree or PhD in statistics or mathematics will open up many more job opportunities to a budding statistician.
For advanced degrees, it is necessary to apply into graduate programs with faculty members pursuing research that is of interest. Students who have completed internships, fellowships, and research projects as undergraduates are more likely to be successful when applying to graduate school to become a statistician.
After graduate school, postgraduate work is an option, or someone can become a statistician in the employ of the government or a private company. It is also possible to work as a lecturer and researcher at a university, educating the next generation of statisticians while conducting work to improve the field.