If you are thinking of getting a statistics degree then you are probably wondering whether or not it will be worth it.

This post will show you whether or not a statistics degree will be worth it for you and some things to consider.

So, is a statistics degree worth it? The BLS shows that demand for statisticians will rise by 33% by 2029. There are many interesting jobs that a statistics degree will qualify you for. However, it would help to take classes specific to the field you want to enter and it can be a challenging degree.

There are actually a lot of things to consider if you are thinking of getting a statistics degree and there are a number of alternatives that you might want to consider too.

Job outlook in statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for mathematicians and statisticians will rise by 33% by 2029 compared to 2019. 

This is mainly due to the surge in data that companies have been receiving in recent years that they need people with mathematical and statistical skills to make sense of.

According to payscale, the average pay of someone with a statistics degree is $70,000

This is higher than the average pay for people with a bachelor of arts degree, across all majors, which is reported as being $64,000 and roughly equal to the average pay for people with a bachelor of science degree which is reported as being $71,000. 

However, competing majors such as computer science and the different engineering degrees have significantly higher average pay. For example, the reported pay for someone with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering is $92,000. 

The reason why statistics has a lower average pay could be that data analyst type roles are very popular among statistics majors. According to Payscale, these roles only pay $60,000 on average. Whereas, roles such as software engineer have an average pay of $90,000.

Jobs you can get with a statistics degree

Since statistics is used in many different fields, a math degree should open you up to many different job opportunities.

According to Payscale, the most common reported jobs people, with a math degree, report having are:

Data analyst
Data scientist
Actuarial analyst
Software engineer
Financial analyst
Business analyst

However, because it is a somewhat general degree, it can be difficult to compete for more specialized positions if you get a statistics degree without taking more applied classes. 

If you do end up choosing a statistics major, this means that you should take courses from the field that you want to enter, do summer internships and to complete projects related that field as well in order to be competitive when seeking a job. 

It also means that alternative majors such as computer science or the different engineering degrees are likely to give you an easier time when looking for a job after graduating. 

This is also shown in the data, since computer science and engineering both report having higher average pay than statistics.

Many statistics majors go into software engineering after graduation which is currently a very lucrative job role. 

If you want to qualify for software engineering jobs then it would help to make sure to take a data structures and algorithms class since the material from that class gets tested heavily in software engineering interviews. 

It would also help to try to get some internships as a software engineer while in college. To qualify for these internships, it would help to complete a number of software engineering projects, such as a web app, in order to show recruiters you know what you are doing.

Currently, data science is becoming a very popular career path among statistics majors. 

To qualify for data science jobs, it would help to make sure to learn Python programming, data analysis using the Pandas library, machine learning and to complete data science projects as an undergrad and to try to get data science internships.

If you combine a statistics degree with software engineering skills and classes related to machine learning and data science, it would put you in a very good position upon graduation since software engineering, data science and machine learning engineering are all very well paid job roles with strong predicted job growth over the next decade.

If you get a statistics degree by itself, it would still put you in a good position to be competitive for “analyst” type roles but they do not pay nearly as well as data science, software engineering, and machine learning engineering. 

Types of courses you will be taking with a statistics degree

In order to do statistics in a mathematically rigorous way it is necessary to have some mathematical sophistication before taking statistics classes. As a result, you can expect to take a number of math classes in your freshman and sophomore years.

These classes can include:

  • Single and multivariable calculus
  • Linear algebra
  • Discrete math (which normally functions as an intro to proofs class)

After finishing the math prerequisites, you can expect to take a number of different statistics classes including introduction to probability and statistics, mathematical statistics, regression analysis, statistical learning and time series forecasting. 

Depending on the university, you can also expect to have the option to take classes related to data analysis, machine learning, and data science.

Something to consider, is that different statistics programs will focus more on certain areas. Some programs will be more theoretical and focus more on traditional statistics classes. Whereas, others will be more applied and have more practical classes such as data science, machine learning, and python data analysis classes. 

If you are not yet in university, it would help a lot to consider the type of job you think that you would be most interested in and to apply to universities that offer classes related to that type of job. 

If you are already in university, it would help to choose the most applied classes to what you are interested in and to supplement it with self-teaching in areas where there are not classes related to what you are looking for.

For example, if your university does not offer classes related to data analysis using Python and the Pandas library, it would help to learn it on your own time using websites such as edx, coursera, udemy or more specialized data sites like datacamp and dataquest. 

Since machine learning, data science and software engineering job requirements are constantly evolving, it will likely be necessary for you to learn skills in your own time regardless of what major or university you choose since universities can take time to catch-up with current job trends.

Alternative degrees to statistics

If you are thinking of getting a statistics degree then there are a number of other degrees that you might want to consider including:

  • Mathematics
  • Computer science
  • Engineering
  • Data science/analytics
  • Applied mathematics

You could find that majoring in one of the alternatives and minoring in statistics could also be a good combination. For example, majoring in computer science and minoring in statistics would be a very employable combination putting you in a good position for software engineering, data science and machine learning job roles. 

Statistics is a difficult degree to obtain

Statistics is a STEM degree. Data shows that 35% of those who initially choose a STEM major switch out of the major within three years. The reason for this is that these majors will require a lot more study time than most students are used to and they can find them to be overwhelming.

Statistics is a degree where it will be necessary for you to study a lot outside of class time and it is a challenging degree. Before deciding on the degree it would be worthwhile for you to consider how interested you are in the subject and the types of jobs you could get with it. If you enjoy working with data, gaining insights from data and how data can be used to make predictions then you will be able to motivate yourself to study statistics a lot more easily.

How difficult the degree will be for you will also depend on the number of math and stats courses you have already taken. If you took math and stats AP classes and you did well in them then you will likely also be able to do well in a statistics major.

With that being said, the degree will be designed to take you from the very beginning. If you didn’t take many stats and math classes then it will still be possible for you to do well in the major but you will likely need to study more than you might be used to. The website khanacademy.org will likely help a lot in filling any gaps in your knowledge. 

Should I get a master’s degree in statistics?

A statistics bachelor’s degree combined with computer science and data science classes and personal projects should be enough to qualify you for high paying jobs. With that being said, many data science and machine learning jobs will require a master’s degree.

However, at the masters level. Statistics can be quite theoretical and not applied which could mean that you won’t qualify for many more jobs than with a bachelor’s in statistics. With that being said, there are related alternatives that could help improve your job prospects such as a master’s in data science or computer science. 

There are many online master’s degrees that are currently being offered in data science and computer science on platforms such as coursera and edx as well as directly from universities themselves. An alternative, that you might want to consider, would be to use the statistics bachelor’s degree combined with CS and data science to get a job after graduating and to immediately start an online degree as well. Sometimes, employers will also pay for you to do it. If needed, many of the online degrees can be done part-time. 

Is statistics a degree more marketable than math?

Another major that statistics majors tend to be interested in is mathematics. There will be a lot of overlap between the two degrees especially in your freshman and sophomore years. However, a math degree will feature advanced math classes such as real analysis and abstract algebra. Whereas, a statistics degree will feature statistics classes instead. 

Advanced math classes are not generally directly employable in a job setting. Whereas, the core classes in a statistics degree can be more applied. As a result, when comparing a math degree with a statistics degree by themselves. You can expect a statistics degree to be more employable. 

However, depending on the courses that you take, a math degree can be very marketable as well and it can also prepare you well for graduate school for statistics which usually requires more advanced math classes including differential equations and real analysis.

Something to consider is that a statistics degree will be a lot less proof-heavy than a pure math degree. Many students have a hard time in proof classes so for many students a statistics degree is the better option. However, you will usually still need to do some proofs in a stats major at the higher levels.

I have another video on my channel talking about if a math degree is worth it. 


Overall, a statistics degree by itself can qualify you for many jobs with strong job growth that are typically described as analyst type job roles. However, these roles do not pay as well as what the alternatives degrees could qualify you for. To qualify for the more specialized and high pay roles, it would help to make sure to take classes related to them. When combined with computer science, machine learning and data science classes and self-teaching, a degree in statistics would be a very employable degree. 


I created and currently manage College Corner. I received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. My goal is to help current students do better in college and to help future students plan for college. You can read more about me and my website here.