Masters or Phd in Statistics? (created 2010-01-19).

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Someone asked me about careers in Statistics and if you get the best career with a Masters degree or a PhD. That's a very subjective choice and individual preferences should weigh strongly in your choice.

I didn't think about it too much in my personal situation. I just kept going until I ran out of degrees to get. In my experience, however, the great value in a Ph.D. lies not in the extra pay you get. You get better pay, but whether the pay alone justifies all the extra time and trouble is debatable. Rather the benefit has come in the quality of jobs I have held. The jobs that Ph.D. statistician can demand are more challenging with more interesting and varied problems. You also get quite a bit more autonomy in your job if you have a Ph.D.

You do, however, have the option of getting the Masters degree now, earning a bit of money in the real world, and then coming back to get your Ph.D. later. For some people, the Statistics classes take on a greater relevance after you have seen how Statistics is practiced in the real world.