Careers in Math

Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply mathematical and statistical techniques to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields. While jobs in theoretical math might not abound, the logic and critical thinking/problem solving skills built within a math degree are highly sought after skills.

Math is applicable to nearly every industry, and careers in math are anticipated to grow at a much faster average rate than other careers over the next decade, as usage of big data in data science and data analytics grows.

Careers in Math include

Data Scientist
Actuary
Economist
Statistician and Biostatistician
Financial Analyst
Accountant
Software Developer
Engineer
Operations Research

Think of math as one of the more flexible STEM degrees, as it does not lend itself to a particular application (like chemistry or physics, for example), but prepares people to be problem solvers and analytical thinkers, which has applications across industries.

Mathematicians and statisticians typically do the following

  • Develop new mathematical rules, theories, and concepts in areas such as algebra and geometry
  • Decide what data are needed to answer specific questions or problems
  • Apply mathematical theories and techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering, the sciences, and other fields
  • Design surveys, experiments, or opinion polls to collect data
  • Develop mathematical or statistical models to analyze data
  • Interpret data and report conclusions drawn from their analyses
  • Use data analysis to support and improve business decisions

Mathematicians and statisticians apply theories and techniques, such as mathematical or statistical modeling, to solve practical problems. Typically, they work with individuals in other occupations to solve these problems. For example, they may work with chemists, materials scientists, and chemical engineers to analyze the effectiveness of new drugs. Others may work with industrial designers to study the aerodynamic characteristics of new automobiles.

Mathematicians and statisticians work in many fields, such as education, marketing, psychology, sports, or any other field that requires the collection and analysis of data. In particular, government, healthcare, and research and development companies employ many statisticians.

Academic mathematicians teach math at the elementary, middle, high school, and university levels and often do mathematical research within the academic realm.

Many math positions, particularly in private industry, education and research fields, require a master’s degree or further education to pursue.  However, analyst positions, actuarial work, and many other options can be done with a bachelor’s

Education Required

Most colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and offer master’s and doctoral degrees in theoretical or applied mathematics. Courses usually include calculus, differential equations, and linear and abstract algebra. Many colleges and universities advise or require mathematics students to take courses in a related field, such as computer science, engineering, physics, or statistics. Because mathematicians often work with data analysis software, computer programming courses may be particularly beneficial for students. Students who are interested in becoming mathematicians or statisticians should take as many math courses as possible in high school.

Many math positions, particularly in private industry, education and research fields, require a master’s degree or further education to pursue.  However, analyst positions, actuarial work, and many other options can be done with a bachelor’s.  For jobs with the federal government, candidates need at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or significant coursework in mathematics.