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Statistical Assistant Job Description, Career as a Statistical Assistant, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: High school

Salary: Median—$31,390 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Statistical assistants establish and check numerical facts in many different areas of business, government, and industry. Statistical assistants compile and record data and make computations. Statistical assistants work for insurance companies, banks, and stock brokerages. They also work for research firms, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers, as well as for the government at all levels.

Businesses of all kinds employ statistical assistants in shipping, receiving, billing, data processing, and research departments. Some statistical assistants count products or raw materials and make note of the number on hand. Others post, or record, numerical entries on shipment records, tally sheets, and hand-held computers. They may also work in research fields doing routine computations with figures supplied by research workers. For instance, a statistical assistant might figure out the average income of a group of consumers being studied by market researchers. Assistants often compute freight rates for airlines, railroads, and trucking companies. Many statistical assistants do scheduling work.

In certain industries people who compile statistics have specific job titles. Insurance companies employ many actuarial assistants to help actuaries figure out the risk involved in insuring people's lives, cars, and homes. Actuarial assistants compile facts about things such as traffic accidents. They might figure out which areas of a city have the most accidents by counting up the accidents at different locations and comparing the totals. Many such computations provide the actuary with the facts needed to determine insurance rates.

Statistical assistants are employed by government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture, to compile statistics for government research and publications. Crew schedulers are statistical assistants who assign airline pilots to specific flights and then keep track of the miles each pilot flies.

Many statistical assistants use electronic calculators and hand-held computers. They keep track of and manipulate data with the help of computer spreadsheets and databases. No matter what their field, statistical assistants must work accurately and take responsibility for the facts they pass along.

Statistical assistants often use advanced statistical software to compile and analyze data. (© Martha Tabor/Working Images Photographs. Reproduced by permission.)

Education and Training Requirements

An individual must have a high school education to be hired as a statistical assistant. Employers look for people who have taken high school courses in business math, bookkeeping, and business applications software. A person will receive on-the-job training in procedures used by the company after he or she is hired. The length of time needed to learn how to be a statistical assistant varies depending on the chosen field. Most employers train inexperienced assistants to use calculators, hand-held computers, and computer programs such as spreadsheets.

Getting the Job

A high school placement office may be able to help a graduating student find a job as a statistical assistant. Candidates can also apply directly to insurance companies and manufacturers as well as to other firms that employ statistical assistants. If individuals are interested in a government job, they should apply to take the necessary civil service test. Check Internet job sites and classified ads of local newspapers for possible openings.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Statistical assistants usually begin as general assistants who do routine counting or data collecting. After they learn their employer's methods, they are given more difficult assignments. A few become chief assistants or supervisors. Other assistants seek additional training and go into computer programming or other data processing jobs.

According to the 2004–14 employment predictions by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nineteen thousand people held statistical assistant jobs in 2004. Employment of statistical assistants was expected to grow more slowly than average through the year 2014. Although the amount of statistical data is expected to increase substantially, many routine tasks now performed by statistical assistants will be handled by computers. This increases productivity and reduces the need for these workers. There will, however, continue to be openings due to replacement needs.

Working Conditions

Most statistical assistants work from thirty-five to forty hours per week in a variety of settings. Some assistants work on shipping platforms, while others work in offices, railroad yards, and computer centers. Statistical assistants often perform repetitive tasks. They may be under pressure to work quickly yet accurately in their calculations. Many statistical assistants belong to labor unions that are active in the industry in which they work.

Where to Go for More Information

Office and Professional Employees International Union
265 W. 14th St., 6th Fl.
New York, NY 10011
(800) 346-7348

Earnings and Benefits

In their November 2004 Occupational Employment Statistics survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that statistical assistants earned a median salary of $31,390 per year. Benefits vary depending on the company and the kind of work performed. Generally, assistants can expect to receive health and life insurance plus retirement benefits as well as paid vacations and holidays.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness