What Does a Statistical Assistant Do?

Mary McMahon

A statistical assistant compiles data for use in studies and analysis by senior statisticians. This work can involve some low-level statistical analysis to lay the groundwork for a more in-depth study by a supervisor. The specifics of the job can vary between workplaces and may depend on the level of training. A doctoral student, for example, can perform more complex work than someone who only holds a high school degree.

Some statistical assistants work for large corporations that maintain internal statistics to use in annual reports.
Some statistical assistants work for large corporations that maintain internal statistics to use in annual reports.

The financial industry relies heavily on statistical assistants, working in locations like banks, brokerages, and insurance companies. Such assistants can also work for large corporations that maintain internal statistics to use in annual reports, business analysis, and other activities. Some government agencies also collect statistics and need personnel to assist with this process. The pay scale depends on the industry and the level of skill.

Part of the job of a statistical assistant can involve counting, recording, and checking data. This person might work in a shipping department, for example, tracking goods shipped and received and making sure the records are as accurate as possible. Statistical assistants can also design and administer surveys and engage in other forms of data collection, like poring through records to pull out useful data, from newspaper archives to client files at a social services agency.

Statistical assistants also maintain and organize paperwork to support senior statisticians, and may provide some basic analysis of the information when turning a package of data over for study. For instance, the statistical assistant could quickly break down information by key demographics to provide an at-a-glance view. This staff member might note that a government agency primarily serves people of color within a certain age range or that a company appears to ship more in the third quarter. A quick highlight of the most important observations can help a statistician decide how to use the data and how to analyze it appropriately.

A person who wants to become a statistical assistant may benefit from a degree in statistics or a related area of math, although some employers hire assistants with high school diplomas. The more advanced the education, the more interesting and challenging the work can tend to be. PhD students and postdoctoral candidates may use statistical assistant positions to acquire experiences and references they can use in applications for senior jobs. Some colleges and universities also offer such positions as internships or work-study positions to their students to allow them to develop real world experience while in school, so their resumes have material to draw upon when they graduate.

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