I'm working through an MS in Statistics and considering career paths and curious if a specific career path exists in academia. I would like to work in an academic statistics core and provide support to researchers. I'd also like to be able to teach. I realize as an MS my teaching would likely be restricted to introductory, lower division courses in math/stats (and I further understand that I'd probably only be given math courses if I were somewhere without a separate statistics dept, but wanted to state that I'd happily teach either). Are there positions that combine teaching and service as a statistician to researchers across university departments?

Aside: I want to keep this general (since it is SE) but I do have a PhD, if it changes the types of positions I might be eligible for, though I am assuming not. It's not in statistics, but is in a STEM subject.

  • It is conceivable, but would depend on the hiring practices of individual institutions.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 17:30
  • 1
    Many research universities have statistical consulting offices that are staffed by graduate student research assistants- at such an institution you'd be competing for funding with the graduate students. Commented May 29, 2022 at 18:10
  • I think the answer is no, except in exceptional circumstances, but I cannot prove a negative. Usually teaching and consulting are in separate business units of the university. Commented May 29, 2022 at 19:34

3 Answers 3


UCLA has such service organisation : https://stats.oarc.ucla.edu/

It is just one organisation, so the chance of getting hired there is slim. But maybe knowing an example helps your search.

  • Many universities have those; they don't do teaching. Commented May 29, 2022 at 19:29

There is the concept of "Professor of the Practice" or similar that exists at some good institutions (Duke, Stanford, ...) I know this happens in CS and so assume the same institutions do it in other fields. The people holding these positions serve on long contracts (maybe seven years) but are not tenured. They teach lower division courses and do some research. The people I know have held these for long enough to assume that it is a career path, not a temporary gig. Most of these folks hold doctorates, however, though I know a couple with only MS degrees but really superior teaching skills.

These are faculty positions, not support. A few of them are actually administrators eventually. Support positions in math and statistics I'd think would be rare since those fields aren't heavily driven by external grant funding as are some of the sciences. But if a university wants to free its researchers from many of the normal teaching duties it might have such positions available. I doubt that it is especially common, however. Most of the places I know of are private institutions.

At the other end of the scale, some community colleges will hire people without a doctorate since teaching is the primary mission there. They teach a lot of lower division math courses and maybe a few statistics courses as well. The question of tenure probably varies from place to place. Some of these places provide a very high quality education as well. I have a family member who is tenured at a fine community college. She has a doctorate, but I doubt that all faculty do.

  • "Support positions in math and statistics I'd think would be rare" They are funded out of biomedical grants. They are not rare because all biomedical researchers who do not know statistics need these support positions. Commented May 29, 2022 at 19:32
  • @AnonymousPhysicist, perhaps, but they aren't in math and stats departments I'd guess and they probably don't involve teaching, which seems to be a major focus of the OP.
    – Buffy
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 19:36
  • Right, they often work in core facilities, just like the asker said. Commented May 29, 2022 at 19:36

Well... In these times where $$ is scarce, do you think this kind of position would bring in more $$ to a unit (through research grants, consulting or teaching) than hiring a full research-active faculty or a contract lecturer with a PhD?

In other words, is this

  1. an income positive position and
  2. more income positive than someone with a PhD?

If the answer is yes then there is probably a way. If the answer is no, then likely you also have you answer as well.

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