How to Become a Survey Researcher

How to Become a Survey Researcher: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a survey researcher, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a survey researcher:


• You have an interest in market psychology and behavior

• You have an interest in analyzing and interpreting statistical data

• You are able to design or choose a survey and survey method that best captures the desired information

• You are able to effectively analyze research data and draw conclusions from it

• You enjoy coordinating information with others


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a survey researcher. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Survey Researcher

To become a survey researcher, you typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as marketing, survey research, statistics, mathematics or the social sciences.


A bachelor’s degree in one of these fields will likely qualify you for many different types of entry-level positions in survey research. If you want to get a mid or senior-level technical position in survey research, you will likely need a master’s or doctoral (Ph.D.) degree.


If you’re interested in becoming a survey researcher, you should take courses in research methods, survey methodology, and statistics. You will also benefit from taking business courses, such as marketing and consumer behavior, and social science courses, such as psychology, sociology, and economics.




Survey Researcher Job Description

Survey researchers design, develop and conduct surveys that are used by political parties, market researchers, government agencies and other organizations. Survey researchers may also supervise the interviewers who are conducting the surveys.



Survey Researcher Job Duties

• Recruit, hire and train data collectors

• Consult with clients regarding the survey objectives

• Determine survey specifications, including sources of information and procedures for obtaining the necessary information

• Use methods such as interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, market surveys, opinion polls and literature reviews in order to collect data

• Monitor and evaluate the progress of the survey including the progress and productivity of the staff

• Prepare training manuals to be used by survey interviewers

• Conduct research in order to collect information about the survey topic

• Analyze survey data using statistical software programs

• Report findings and communicate analysis to client



Types of Organizations that Employ Survey Researchers

Survey researchers may be employed on a part-time, full-time, temporary or contractual basis by the following types of organizations:


• Manufacturing, processing, distribution and other large corporations

• Market research companies

• Management consulting firms

• Advertising and marketing agencies, including consulting agencies

• Business associations

• Political consulting companies

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments


Experience Needed to Become a Survey Researcher

Depending on the discretion of the employer, you may need to have some professional or academic experience in areas such as research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques, in order to be considered for survey researcher jobs.


Relevant experience in these areas can be gained while you’re still a student through internships, work placements, and working in relevant entry-level jobs. There are many research agencies that offer placement opportunities in cooperation with colleges and universities.



Skills Needed to Become a Survey Researcher

In order to become effective in a career as a survey researcher, you need to posses a certain set of skills. These skills will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and are likely to be listed as required skills on survey researcher job postings.


• Proficient with statistical and data analysis software

• Able to design or choose a survey and survey method that best captures the desired information

• Able to apply statistical techniques to large amounts of data

• Able to effectively analyze research data and draw conclusions from it

• Able to recognize survey design issues

• Excellent listening, communication and presentation skills

• Able to identify factors that may enhance product or service acceptance

• Able to determine the nature and size of market segments



Characteristics Needed to Become a Survey Researcher

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a survey researcher, you need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your work as a survey researcher is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which can help lead to having a long and successful career.


• Enjoy meeting new people and working with others

• Outgoing and self-confident

• An interest in market psychology and behavior

• An interest in analyzing and interpreting statistical data

• Initiative and self-motivation

• Enjoy coordinating and sharing information with others



Survey Researcher Salary Level

The salary level of survey researchers can vary depending on their personal qualifications and level of aptitude, the size and type of their employer, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many other factors.


Survey Researcher Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Business Development Officers and Marketing Researchers and Consultants occupational group earn an average of between $32.09 and $44.97 per hour, with Survey Researchers being on the lower end of that scale.


Survey Researcher Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, Canadian workers in the Business Development Officers and Marketing Researchers and Consultants occupational group earn an average salary of $53,508 per year.


Survey Researcher Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Survey Researchers occupational group is $45,050 per year. The lowest 10% of salaries in this group are below $19,640, and the top 10% are above $89,080 per year.



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Survey Researcher Career: Work Environment

Working Hours: Survey researchers usually work standard weekday business hours, although they may be required to work overtime, which includes evenings and weekends, in order to complete projects and meet deadlines.


Work Setting: Survey researchers work primarily in office environments. However, some researchers, such as those who directly conduct interviews or supervise interviewers, may be required to travel to various locations in order to perform their duties.


Working Conditions: Survey researchers conduct many duties alone, such as data analysis. They frequently use computer programs, such as statistical and data analysis software. They may also spend a good amount of their time working with other team members, in order to share information and present conclusions. Some survey researchers, such as those that conduct interviews directly, have frequent contact with the general public. 



Careers Similar to Survey Researcher

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Survey Researcher, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Business Development Officer

Market Research Analyst

Market Researcher

Political Pollster

Statistical Assistant



References: Survey Researcher Career Information

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a survey researcher.



Occupations in Alberta:Market Research Analyst.” (February 1, 2009). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 14, 2020.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Survey Researchers.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 14, 2020.

The Writing Studio: Survey Research.” (n.d.). Colorado State University website. Retrieved January 14, 2020.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Scholarships for Becoming a Survey Researcher

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Survey Researcher can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Survey Researcher: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a survey researcher. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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