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Emerging Occupations

Biostatistician

Biostatisticians develop and apply statistical methods to analyze and interpret biological data for applications in public health, biomedical, environmental, and agricultural studies.

This is an emerging occupation. It may have evolved from an existing occupation or emerged in response to consumer needs or technological advances.

Also Known As

Biological Science Statistician, Biotechnologist, Computational Biologist, Data Scientist, Demographer, Research Analyst, Research Methodologist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Statisticians (2161.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Mathematicians, Statisticians and Actuaries (C061) 
  • 2011 NOC: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries (2161) 
  • 2016 NOC: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries (2161) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Statisticians
2006 NOC : 2161.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to extend knowledge on the mathematical basis of statistics, and to develop statistical methodologies

METHODICAL

Interest in applying statistical theory and methods to provide information in scientific and other fields such as biological and agricultural sciences, business and economics, physical sciences and engineering, and the social sciences

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to advise on the applications of statistical methods and analyses

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Biostatisticians research statistical theories and advise on their practical applications. They develop and apply mathematical or statistical techniques to solve problems.

In general, biostatisticians:

  • Use advanced statistical software to apply the best modelling to analyze specific data
  • Create standard scripts and macros to improve the efficiency of statistical programs and outputs
  • Perform high-level processing, mining, and visualization of data
  • Maintain documentation, storage, and master archive lists of data
  • Work with senior scientists and research staff to apply for grants, co-author journal articles, and prepare academic presentations
  • Write or supervise the writing of the statistical sections of study reports or publications

Biostatisticians work with researchers to design and analyze studies and clinical trials. They work in areas such as:

  • Epidemiology
  • Health services research
  • Nutrition
  • Environmental health
  • Health-care policy and management

They use their expertise to help researchers:

  • Define hypotheses
  • Develop analytical plans
  • Set parameters for data gathering
  • Ensure project specifications meet the criteria in the analytical plan
  • Sample, collect, and clean data
  • Raise issues with data analysis
  • Synthesize findings for reporting

In public health, biostatisticians:

  • Assess the origins or causes of diseases and injuries
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs or policies
  • Monitor and detect trends in population health

In universities, biostatisticians:

  • Conduct health science research
  • Teach and train undergraduate and graduate students
  • Collaborate with researchers in diverse fields

In biomedical research, biostatisticians apply methods from statistical, population, or quantitative genetics, or statistical genomics. They:

  • Study molecular markers for traits in human populations
  • Find gene alleles, or variants, that can cause or influence predisposition to genetic diseases
  • Study the genetic basis for human, plant, or animal traits that are influenced by more than one gene
  • Identify genes whose quantity changes a lot between different states or stages of disease

In the commercial sector, biostatisticians work with large datasets from clinical trials, patient support programs, or government data sources. They:

  • Try to understand the burden of disease
  • Explore the need for new health technologies such as drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics
  • Provide oversight and guidance to team members and trial sponsors on multiple-trial programs, complex trials, and submission projects
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 02, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Biostatisticians usually work full time in offices for 40 hours per week. Research assistants may work on short-term contracts.

Biostatisticians need to work within their field’s regulatory requirements. They must understand and follow their employer’s policies on data governance and privacy. The data used in public or health-related research is often protected by privacy regulations.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Biostatisticians need:

  • Attention to detail
  • Math skills
  • Verbal, written, and oral communication skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Time-management skills
  • An ability to self-direct
  • An ability to visualize patterns in data and present it in graphs
  • An ability to synthesize data
  • An ability to translate technical concepts into non-technical terms
  • An interest in exploring different ways to approach a problem
  • An interest in working across a variety of projects

Biostatisticians should enjoy teamwork. They may take on different roles, including coordinating the work of others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 02, 2021
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

Most emerging occupations develop from more than one occupation. People working in this occupation may come from a variety of education and training backgrounds. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should contact associations and employers in this field to investigate education options and employment possibilities.

Biostatisticians usually require a graduate degree in mathematics, statistics, or a related field. Many students first enrol in a master’s program in science or public health. Then they go on to a PhD program.

Almost all educational programs in biostatistics are postgraduate level. These programs are found in:

  • Schools of public health
  • Biostatistics and epidemiology departments
  • Mathematics or statistics departments affiliated with schools of medicine

Biostatisticians need strong technical education and experience in their field of work and outcomes research. They need to use software tools such as SPSS, SAS, and R.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Ambrose University

Mount Royal University

St. Mary's University

The King's University

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 02, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

Voluntary accreditation is available for statisticians in Canada. For current information, visit Statistical Society of Canada.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • An increased human need
  • Technological advances
  • Greater specialization within an occupation

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, it can be difficult to define advancement opportunities or employment outlook. Some Albertans already are working in this emerging occupation, but future demand for it is unknown.

Biostatisticians are often employed in life sciences industries such as:

  • Public health
  • Medicine
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Genetics research
  • Environment
  • Forestry and agriculture

They find employment with:

  • Bioengineering firms
  • Bioinformatics and computational biology firms
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Health technology firms (diagnostics or medical devices)
  • Genetics research firms
  • Statistical analysis companies
  • Health outcomes research companies
  • Universities
  • Public health institutions
  • Government agencies

With 5-10 years of experience, biostatisticians can move into senior or management positions within their organization. They may also progress to managerial positions in consulting or become self-employed.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group, 78.1% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment

Explore emerging workplace trends in Alberta that could affect this occupation.

In Alberta, the 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 10% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Salaries for biostatisticians vary, depending on the position, qualifications, and type of industry in which they are employed.

Biostatisticians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries. For data on how much those in the Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group earned last year in Alberta or throughout Canada, visit the Canada Job Bank.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries

2016 NOC : 2161
Average Wage
$44.68
Per Hour
Average Salary
$84,266.00
Per Year
Average Hours
36.3
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2161 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $31.28 $48.08 $36.18 $35.83
Overall $34.99 $61.05 $44.68 $42.53
Top $40.63 $63.82 $49.16 $50.38

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

N/A

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

N/A

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

N/A

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 02, 2021

Canada Job Bank website: www.jobbank.gc.ca

Statistical Society of Canada website: ssc.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 02, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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