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Do entry level PhD statisticians really make 200K a year?

  1. Jul 16, 2013 #1
    that's what one of my math profs told me.

    i forgot what the industry needs to be in order to make that much as an entry level. perhaps insurance?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2013 #2
    Not US dollars.
  4. Jul 16, 2013 #3


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  5. Jul 17, 2013 #4
    Maybe it's just my experience but, professors seem to...embellish a students potential earnings if they just get this degree or get this paper published, etc.
  6. Jul 17, 2013 #5
    I made just under half that when I started in statistics/machine learning with a physics phd. With 3 years of experience, I'm not yet to 3/4 of that, but I'm getting close.
  7. Jul 17, 2013 #6


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    Depends on the field. my master thesis was on statistical learning which has an obvious benefit to finance and I started at 6 figures. However, I don't want you to think that this is what you should expect to be paid. With no work experience, or without showing that you can be a benefit to a certain company, expect your initial pay to be quite a bit lower with the potential to increase rapidly if you prove valuable.

    Also, you have to look at potential slots for a PhD in statisticians. We tend to have a more natural ability to float from field to field and settle in anywhere, however, the spots for an actual PhD are limited, and usually required management experience and or a consulting position. The exception to this tend to be within the government, but then you'll never reach 200,000. (But retirement and fringe benefits are rather good, but once you tell people you're a government employee they think of you as a slacker. It's weird!)
  8. Jul 18, 2013 #7


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    To the OP:

    I am based in Canada so my experiences may differ somewhat from those based in the US, but I would concur with MarneMath that the number of actual slots for PhD statisticians are actually quite few. Typically, many positions for statisticians require those with a PhD or a MS with additional years of experience.

    It's generally the case that the more experience you have, the higher you can expect. It is also industry dependent -- I currently work in the pharmaceutical sector (with a decade of experience in various sectors) and I earn about half what you quote. But I know that those who work in finance or consulting can earn substantially more than this.

    I think the take home message is that those with a PhD in statistics do have many opportunities for relatively well-paying jobs open to them, and I don't personally see this changing in the immediate future.
  9. Jul 18, 2013 #8

    D H

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    Did your math professor tell you that they can make 200K, or that they do make 200K?

    I'd be willing to bet that somewhere in some industry (probably financial) there is at least one PhD statistician who received 200K or more in salary and bonuses right off the bat. However, using that one outlier as an indicator of what a freshout PhD statisticians should expect to make falls into the category of "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics."
  10. Jul 28, 2013 #9
    I've never heard of anyone making $200K immediately after getting a statistics PhD. If it happens, I'd bet it's a rare outlier like D H said.

    There are definitely $100K+ positions for recent statistics PhDs. For PhDs with no industry experience, I think the key to a higher salary is to find employers who consider you "experienced hire in a different industry" rather than "entry-level."

    For example, I just started working for a trading firm. They (correctly) consider me a n00b at finance and an experienced hire at stochastic models of noisy dynamical systems. I won't make $200K/year, even with bonuses, but I'll still be in a pretty high tax bracket.
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