The application of statistics in the field of biology, medicine, and health is called biostatistics. This branch of statistics interprets scientific data collected in public health and health sciences. Biostatisticians develop and use statistical techniques to conduct research and analyze data. Such researches can help improve healthcare delivery and control disease, making biostatistics an important field.
Why Study Biostatistics?
As the healthcare industry is expanding, the need for biostatisticians is growing. Interpreting data requires analytical skills, and biostatistics is now recognized as an important aspect of the healthcare industry. According to the American Statistical Association (ASA), the employment prospects for biostatisticians are bright due to a high demand. Graduates and post-graduates can look forward to many career opportunities in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and medical research industry.
If you have strong numeracy skills, enjoy solving statistical problems, and want to play an important role in revolutionizing the healthcare industry, this may be the perfect career for you. However, you will need to equip yourself with a biostatistics online degree and the right skill set for this career. Biostatistics programs can be taken at graduate and post-graduate level. You can also add professional certifications to your credentials.
Masters in Biostatistics
This is a graduate level program designed to prepare individuals for careers as biostatisticians and for further advanced studies at PhD level. It typically takes two years to complete the masters program. Students must cover all courses to earn the degree. The degree requirements may vary from college to college. The program will focus on developing a strong theoretical foundation in the field of biostatistics. Students will spend the first few semesters on theory-based courses, understanding biostatistical methods and their applications in the industry. The program will also focus on hands on training and practical learning. Students will learn how to use computational methods, use data management software, and gather data using different research methods. Here are some of the courses and their descriptions covered in a biostatistics masters degree:
This course will introduce students to the basic concepts of probability and its applications. Topics covered in this course include central limit theorem, continuous random variables, Markov chains, and characteristics functions.
Concepts in computing with data
This course will examine computationally applied statistics and is covered in a computer laboratory. Topics such as statistical learning and data mining, visualization and graphics, presentation of results, and model validation procedures are covered.
In this course, students will learn about linear models and their applications. Some of the topics covered in this course include: linear regression, log-linear models, variance and covariance, design and analysis of experiments, and quality improvement.
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of sampling and its applications. The course will highlight important concepts related to theory and practice of sampling, sampling of finite populations, stratified, cluster, and double sampling.
Introduction to time series
Tie series analysis is an important part of the program. This course will provide students with a strong understanding of time series analysis in the time domain, covering topics such as: estimation of trends, seasonal effects, autoregressive moving average models, and harmonic analysis.
A few biostatistics graduate programs
have a thesis requirement. Students can choose from different topics relevant to the field that will be the basis of their thesis.
PhD in Biostatistics
A PhD biostatistics degree is designed to prepare individuals for research careers, academic careers, and other advanced leadership roles within the industry. Students will spend a great deal of time understanding the scientific problems encountered by the healthcare, medical, and biological sectors, and will seek appropriate statistical measures to help with research.
The main goal of the program is to provide training needed to conduct research in biomedical areas. Students will cover a range of courses and will also gain hands on experience through practical training. The components of biostatistics PhD programs may vary from place to place, but generally include coursework, qualifying examination, independent research, and dissertation. Here are some of the courses and their descriptions:
This course will focus on statistical methods used in clinical trials and epidemiology. Students will learn about statistical issues faced in clinical trials and will cover topics such as sample size calculation, survival analysis, and statistical principles.
This course is dedicated to the managerial aspects of the field. Students will develop biostatistical, critical thinking, communication, and management skills.
This course will examine the biostatistical computing methods and their applications. Topics such as data analysis, stochastic optimization, missing data analysis, and algorithms for statistical computing are covered.
Longitudinal data analysis
In this course, longitudinal data methods are discussed. Students will discuss the impact of missing data on inference and how to conduct sensitivity analysis.
There is no fixed time period for completing a biostatistics PhD degree. It usually takes 4 to 8 years, depending on the school and the pace of the student.
Apply statistical methods using latest software
Conduct research for developing new biostatistical theories and methodologies
Interpret biostatistician data from health sectors
Analyze healthcare data collected through research
Certificate in Biostatistics
Professionals often go for certificate programs to improve their skills and knowledge, and move up. Certificate programs are short specialized courses that provide students with career-oriented knowledge. Many accredited colleges and universities are offering biostatistics certificate programs. The coursework will help students learn how to apply biostatistical methods, analyze data, conduct research, and use computer software for statistical analysis. Here are some courses covered in the program:
Biostatistical methods in clinical trials
Fundamentals of epidemiology
Online Biostatistics Degree
Technology has made learning easy and far more accessible for everyone. Students living in far off areas, or professionals who wish to pursue further education but don’t have the time, could go for online learning. The demand for distance learning has increased in recent years as it is more convenient, flexible, and easy-to-manage as compared to on-campus programs. Many colleges are offering masters in biostatistics online and biostatistics certificate online.
How to Enroll in a Biostatistics Program
The admission requirements will vary from college to college. Generally, applicants are required to submit the following:
Bachelor degree transcript
Statement of purpose and objective (can include work experience, career objective, etc)
Letters of recommendation
Masters degree transcript (for PhD applicants)
You can work as a biostatistician in different work settings including research groups, hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, etc. According to the American Statistical Association (ASA), the starting salaries for biostatisticians with a masters degree range from $35,000 to $65,000 whereas PhD degree holders make an income between $55,000 and $85,000 annually.