Is an MPH in Biostatistics Worth It?
By Sam MacArthur

A master’s degree in public health with a concentration in biostatistics can open the door to rewarding, lucrative employment opportunities.  These programs are for students who want to expand their research and data-analytics skills before launching a career in public health.  If you’re wondering whether an MPH in biostatistics is worth the time and money, it’s important to think about the biostatistics job outlook.  If you want to pursue this career, there is good news: Jobs in biostatistics can give you a considerable return on your investment.

What Is the Biostatistics Job Description?

Biostatisticians play a critical role in public health.  The biostatistics job description includes designing and carrying out research projects in biology, public health, and medicine.  Biostatisticians collect, analyze, and interpret data and are tasked with distinguishing between correlation and causation when looking at the ways different factors and interventions influence health events.  Another aspect of the biostatistics job description involves working with other professionals in the field to create and implement strategies to improve public health.  

Where Do Biostatisticians Work?

MPH biostatistics jobs span a variety of industries and settings.  You can find jobs in biostatistics in both the public and private sectors.  Public sector employers include public universities, agricultural firms, and government agencies.  Employment in the private sector is available at private colleges and universities, corporations, and medical offices. 

An example of a public sector position in biostatistics might mean working for a government entity to conduct research on air quality.  Many private-sector jobs are in pharmaceutical companies.  In this capacity, you may be tasked with researching the side effects of a particular drug or learning more about the nature of an illness so the company can come up with better ways to treat it.

Wherever you decide to work, you can expect to be employed full-time.  Since jobs in biostatistics require precise calculations and analysis, you’ll most likely have your own office to ensure you have the peace and quiet you need to get your work done.  Job-related travel is generally minimal.  It’s usually not necessary for your day-to-day responsibilities but you may be required to attend conferences and meetings related to your research.  

What Is the Employment Outlook for Biostatistics Jobs?

As for the biostatisticians job outlook, that figure is projected at a rate of 31%. This is well above average compared to other sectors.  Here’s what that looks like in terms of the actual number of potential biostatistics jobs.  In the United States in 2018, there were approximately 44,400 people working as biostatisticians.  By 2028, that number is anticipated to reach 58,000.  If the growth is consistent from one year to the next, that translates to around 5,300 new jobs in biostatistics each year during that 10-year timeframe.

What Does the Payscale Look Like for Jobs in Biostatistics?

While the BLS does not provide recent data on earnings for biostatisticians (or other specialized careers in this sector), it does publish information on how much statisticians are typically paid.  According to available data, the lowest-paid statisticians earned $52,690.  However, this figure applies to the bottom 10% of earners.  

According to the BLS, the average MPH in biostatistics salary totaled $84,440.  Those who worked in the pharmaceutical industry earned more — $94,740.  More recently, pay stood at entry-level biostatistics jobs probably pay a bit less than average since people employed in those positions are just starting out.  The average MPH in biostatistics salary increases considerably as you gain experience.

How Can I Find Jobs in Biostatistics Near Me?

When you’re beginning your job search, there are plenty of resources available to help you find entry level biostatistics jobs.  The college or university you’re enrolled in should offer career services, which usually include assistance with job placement.  Most MPH in Biostatistics programs require a practicum or thesis.  These projects not only help you put your new knowledge to work, they also provide opportunities to network with others who can help you find entry level biostatistics jobs.  If you’re wondering, “How can I find biostatistics jobs near me?”, you can also look at sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor.  These tools allow you to search for employment in specific locales.

To answer the question “Is an MPH in biostatistics worth it?”, it’s important to seriously consider whether you’re willing to put in the time and effort to continue your studies.  If you’re up to spending the next 2-3 years on intensive coursework, and you enjoy math and public health, then it may well be worth it.  After all, the job prospects and earning potential in this field are certainly promising.

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