Career Choice: Survey Researcher

Career Choice: Survey Researcher
  • Opening Intro -

    Taking surveys is one thing, but the work behind such surveys is exhaustive.

    Professionals, known as survey researchers, are tasked with planning and developing surveys based on certain objectives.


These professionals will survey the data and make suggestions on question wording. Only about 20,000 people worked as survey researchers, but it is one of the fastest growing professions of our day.


Survey researchers organize surveys by planning, coordinating and supporting the same. These professionals classify data received and prepare this information for computer analysis. Survey researchers analyze data, outline the procedures used to collect that information and provide reports, summaries and analyses of the completed work. Researchers may also write related manuals, oversee data collectors and collaborate with other researchers.


Survey researchers have at least a bachelor’s degree, but nearly two-thirds have a master’s degree or a Ph.D. Researchers must possess the ability to work with others, oversee staff and communicate clearly. These professionals may be required to take complex material and simplify same for respondent understanding. Survey researchers typically have a technical background and may have a degree in statistics.


The average salary of a survey researcher was $40,150 as of 2011 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in the 10th percentile earned $19,300 per year, while those in the 25th percentile averaged $26,400 per year on average. Median salaries were $40,100. Survey researchers in the 75th percentile earned $62,600 per year to $85,100 per year for those in the 90th percentile.

Salaries for survey researchers vary widely across the country. In the state of Washington, these professionals earned $72,900 per year on average, well above the national average. In Alabama, the average salary was $18,800 or in the bottom 10 percent of salaries nationally.

Average salaries were also well above the national average in Maryland, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Ohio and in New York. Near the bottom of the salary range were Nevada, Mississippi, Hawaii and Oklahoma.

Job Outlook

Demand for survey researchers is on the rise with the BLS forecasting a 24 percent job growth from 2010 to 2020. That’s at least 10 points higher than the rate for all jobs.

The BLS credits the growth to “companies throughout all industries [that] are increasingly using research, and survey researchers play an important role in the research process. A big part of the growth is in market research and public polling, what professionals and policy makers use to help gauge public interest in a variety of areas including social programs, transit systems and other pressing issues. Businesses, too, make use of researchers in a bid to gain a competitive edge in this global economy.


O*Net OnLine: 13-3022.00 — Survey Researcher

US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Survey Researchers —

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Categories: Career Planning