Careers in Statistics: Health and Medicine

Jobs for statisticians in health and medicine are found everywhere, including government, industry, and academia. Statisticians work in hospitals, research universities, pharmaceutical companies, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and numerous other places.

Students interested in health and medical statistics should study chemistry, biostatistics, biology, and other natural science courses, as well as statistics, mathematics, and writing. Communication skills are important to aid in collaboration with other researchers and to convey results and conclusions to patients, medical professionals, administrators, the media, and the general public.

Fields of Application

Statisticians who work in health and medical statistics can look forward to promising careers in fields such as:


Biomedical Research

Improved medical treatments and medical devices rely on careful experiments that compare promising new methods with current techniques. Biostatisticians work on clinical trials and other experiments to formulate scientific questions, determine appropriate sampling techniques, coordinate data collection procedures, and carry out statistical analyses.


Animal Health

Animal health statisticians work with people educated in areas such as chemistry, biology, veterinary science, computer science, and business. They often work with companion animals such as dogs and cats, or livestock such as cattle, chickens, and swine. They work to discover, develop, and market a compound with the overall goal to make animals healthier or to make food healthy, safe, and efficient to produce.



Statisticians in pharmacology work in pharmaceuticals, animal health, or government research. They are key to all aspects of drug discovery, development, approval, and marketing. They work in pre-clinical research, clinical trials, epidemiology, health economics, market research, and publications in scientific journals. Statisticians are essential in the drug development process because they ensure the validity and accuracy of findings at all stages of the process.



Statistics has been used in human genetics to create automated methods of labeling possible indicators of genetic abnormalities, such as birth defects and early aging. Genetics has also been used in breeding to produce desirable characteristics in offspring. Using complex statistical models, statisticians aid in formulating sound decisions by sorting out the environmental effects from the genetic.



Statisticians in chemistry may design studies to determine variability in a compound or to test mixtures of ingredients, or use statistical techniques to discover and replicate compounds for use in medicine. Statisticians work in many areas of chemistry, including analytical, physical, organic, inorganic, biochemical, and formulation.



Epidemiological statisticians work on projects such as calculating cancer incidence rates or the rates of chronic and infectious diseases, monitoring and reporting on disease outbreaks, and monitoring changes in health-related behaviors such as smoking and physical activity. Fields of practice include nutritional, environmental, genetic, and social epidemiology, and pharmacoepidemiology.