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Director of Biostatistics: Job Description and Education Requirements

Directors of biostatistics require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and other requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Directors of biostatistics manage teams that collect, collate or report statistics on health-related issues. These are senior level positions that require a master's degree in a related field. They usually also require both industry and managerial experience.

Essential Information

Directors of biostatistics manage teams examining statistical information and help to identify new statistical variables. They may also present the results of their team's findings to upper management and other organizations. Employers require candidates to be experienced directors who hold a graduate degree in biostatistics or mathematics.

Required Education A graduate degree in biostatistics or mathematics
Other Requirements 5-10 years of work experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% (medical and health services managers)*
Median Salary (2015) $94,500 annually (medical and health services managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for Director of Biostatistics

As supervisors in the field of public health, directors of biostatistics organizations manage and direct workers who examine statistical information. Job postings from June 2011 on CareerBuilder.com for directors of biostatistics indicate that directors monitor how statistical data is used for various projects. Many directors collaborate with staff members to define the research goals of each new project. Directors also make sure that all confidential information remains secure throughout and after the biostatistics project.

Job Duties

Biostatistics directors may spend most of their time working with one or more teams of statisticians. They hire new workers and assign them to different teams. Directors also enforce deadlines and verify that workers are following company policies. Many directors devise and implement new ways of cross examining data sets to find more precise answers. For example, in order to find additional results a director may choose to compare age group data against occupational profiles when examining a disease outbreak.

Directors of biostatistics departments often report to upper management and other committees. During these meetings, directors explain their team's findings and answer questions. Sometimes directors make recommendations based on their statistical data. For instance, during a biostatistics presentation to representatives from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a director may recommend a change in security protocols to help reduce disease exposure rates. The director would use his or her team's statistical findings to validate this recommendation.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have employment outlook or salary data specifically for directors of biostatistics departments or firms. It does, however, provide this data for the related fields of statisticians and health services managers. The BLS expected statisticians to see 34% job growth between 2014 and 2024, while health services managers were expected to see 17% growth. In May 2015, the median salary for statisticians was $80,110, while health services managers earned $94,500, according to the BLS.

Education Requirements for Director of Biostatistics

According to job postings from CareerBuilder.com in June 2011, employers often require applicants to possess graduate degrees in fields such as biostatistics or mathematics. Graduate-level coursework in biostatistics includes the study of epidemic outbreaks, advanced probability, data analysis techniques, designing clinical trials and statistical modeling. Related majors, such as public health management, may also provide the necessary education requirements, although students may need to take supplemental courses in statistical analysis.

Additional Requirements

Employers advertising job openings for directors of biostatistics on CareerBuilder.com in June 2011 requested that applicants have 5-10 years work experience. The majority of employers also wanted applicants with a diverse experience background. For instance, some employers preferred applicants with experience in management, statistical data processing and government contracting.

Directors of biostatistics require advanced education that usually includes a master's degree in a related field. Health services managers have an median annual salary of around $94,000. The job growth outlook in this field is much faster than for all jobs.


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