Math Careers: 2021 Guide to Career Paths, Options & Salary

Math Careers: 2021 Guide to Career Paths, Options & Salary
Imed Bouchrika by Imed Bouchrika
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

Math is applicable to almost every industry today, be it in science and technology, business, retail, or health care (Robinson, 2021). Moreover, the demand for math experts has increased massively. The Mathematical Association of America states that math jobs, such as mathematicians, actuaries, and statisticians, are becoming more appealing due to their income range, job outlook, and work satisfaction (Become, 2019).

Not everyone enjoys working with numbers and studying difficult problems. But, if you do, a math career may be for you. Discover the best math career path to take, considering job prospects, mathematician salary potential, and degree options in this article.

Math Careers Table of Contents

  1. Why pursue a career in math?
  2. Math Career Outlook
  3. Required Skills for Math
  4. How to Start Your Career in Math
  5. How can I advance my career in math?
  6. Alternative Career Options for Math

Why pursue a career in math?

Math professionals assess risk or solve problems with the help of math, statistics, and financial theories. They exemplify skills in mathematical, problem-solving, and communication.

For those who will take the time to obtain a degree, the math career path ensures a broad range of professional opportunities.

professionals who use some form of math in their work

Math Career Outlook 

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 27% growth in math careers between 2019 and 2029. One of the reasons that could explain such a high demand for math workers is that many fields are now data-reliant (Robinson, 2021).

Below is a table showing the top jobs that use math, alongside their median annual income and academic requirements.

Top Jobs in the U.S. That Use Math

JobMedian Annual IncomeAcademic Requirements
Accountant$52,000Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
Architect$75,000Bachelor's Degree in Architecture
Research Analyst$62,000Bachelor's Degree in a Mathematics Major
Mechanical Engineer$72,000At least a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, but usually, a master's degree, too
Actuary$84,000Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics or a relevant field
Source: Zippia, 2021

Required Skills for Math

Math professionals are in demand for their skills to comprehend, make sense of, and transform complex problems and data sets into solutions. Relying purely on logic, reasoning, and analysis, math professionals help many businesses and organizations achieve growth and success.

Essential Skills for Math Professionals

  • Quantitative Reasoning. Quantitative reasoning is the ability to use basic math skills on quantitative information to make a sound conclusion, This skill integrates pure math with critical thinking.
  • Problem-Solving. For math teachers, problem-solving is the main focus of teaching math. This skill deals with using logic to apply math learning to everyday tasks.
  • Analysis. Analysis is a procedural, step-by-step take to solve a problem. Analytical individuals transform elaborate problems into easy ones so that they can think of a solution.
  • Critical Thinking. Math experts are usually asked to explain the steps they took to come up with a solution. This task requires strong critical thinking skills, which are commonly entailed in math programs.
  • Active Learning Skills. Math jobs often involve a lot of complex information and making theories. Active learning skills help math professionals to stay informed about certain issues affecting their companies.

General Skills for Math Professionals

  • Attention to Detail and Precision. Precision is crucial in any mathematical task. In this field, number experts must develop accurate formulations, using mathematical structures and symbols plus, oral and verbal communication.
  • Communication. Mathematicians need to express their knowledge in a way that can be easily understood by others.
  • Teamwork. Collaboration is an essential part of a math-focused job. Workers in the field collaborate with each other to solve technological and mathematical problems.
  • Time Management. With exemplary time management skills, math experts can save businesses from losing huge amounts of money concerning lost productivity, processes, and logistics. This skill is a combination of pure math and mathematical logic.
  • Patience. Coming up with a successful math solution requires extensive analysis of a usually huge number of elements.

How to Start Your Career in Math

The first thing that you need to do to achieve your career goals in math is to earn a degree. When doing so, consider costs, requirements, and entire length.

professions that work directly with math

What can I do with an Associate’s Degree in Math?

Accounting Supervisor

Accounting supervisors handle a small team of accountants. They may also handle customer service roles for small companies. They study financial information, confirm their accuracy, and prepare reports. They also manage the documentation of their team’s tasks to meet regulatory needs.

Median salary: $65,770

Bookkeeping, Accounting, or Auditing Clerk

Clerks are designated in payroll or accounting departments for ledger management, check deposits, and accounts processing. Some clerks also handle bookkeeping for CPAs or auditors.

Median salary: $41,230

What can I do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Math? 

Actuary

Actuaries conduct thorough data analysis to aid insurance firms in minimizing risk exposure. They do this through data gathering, synthesis, analysis, and application.

Median salary:  $91,180

Software Engineer

Software engineers team up with programmers, designers, and coders to make various software types into useful programs for the end-user. They are responsible for plotting tasks, writing code, testing software, and recording test results.

Median salary: $85,010

Source: College Factual

Can you get a math job with just a certificate?

While it is not a guarantee to land you a math job, a certificate demonstrates how experienced and trained you are. However, certification is usually optional.

How can I advance my career in math?

Holding advanced degrees, such as a master’s or doctorate degree, can qualify you for higher math positions and earning power. These degrees also continue to make you relevant in the field as tools, techniques, and theories in math change over time. (Robinson, 2021).

What can I do with a Master’s in Math?

Senior Software Engineer

Senior software engineers use both their skills in paying attention to details and multitasking with expertise in web coding and applied math. They manage teams that develop, alter, and debug software for client applications.

Median salary: $117,370

Senior Data Analyst

Senior data analysts usually work for marketing or finance industries. They manage teams that gather, arrange, and study data. They also report their findings to executives.

Median salary: $81,250

What kind of job can I get with a Doctorate in Math?

Professor

Professors teach courses, counsel students, design curricula, and conduct research. They may also be tasked to offer consulting services, handle a team of researchers, and make presentations in public.

Undoubtedly, both the mathematics classroom and the mathematics teacher education are changing because of the internet. This notion is described in Johann Engelbrecht et al.’s 2020 article “Transformation of the mathematics classroom with the internet,” which can be seen on Springer. “The development of new digital technologies provides new opportunities to mathematics educators, and new ways of thinking about how the teaching and the design of teaching-learning environments evolve, generating new practices and establishing goals, which we did not think about several years ago.” It was pointed out that, “in the educational field, tools facilitating the performance of a task, thereby extending the power of human capabilities and amplifying the power of the mind. Although these tools impose constraints on learning activities, they also generate new opportunities for learning. These opportunities for learning are linked to new ways of looking for information, which shape students’ mathematical experiences.”

Median salary: $88,120

Chief Technology Officer

Chief technology officers make technology-related policies for their businesses or organizations. They also handle teams within their IT departments.

Median salary: $161,180

Which certification is best for math?

Obtained voluntarily, certifications can help you actualize your career development plan in math (Become, 2019). The certified analytics professional and IBM data science professional are two highly recommended professional certifications in the math field.

Alternative Career Options for Math

There is more to a math career than just accounting, statistics, teaching, and research. Lucrative math jobs are everywhere, especially if you are highly skilled in calculation, logic, and problem-solving. Criminal justice, meteorology, and even liberal arts fields also now employ math majors (Robinson, 2021).

What else can a math professional do?

Animator

Art goes together with math in animation. Here, trigonometry aids in rotating and moving characters, alongside algebra that makes the special effects of images.

Meteorologist

Meteorologists keep an eye on and predict the weather. They must be able to make easily readable graphs, reports, and presentations out of complex data. Hence, strong math skills, knowledge in atmospheric science, and communication skills are needed in weather forecasting.

Source: Become, 2019

Make the Impossible Possible with Math

Math is integral to any endeavor related to science, engineering, and analytics. Without it, suspension bridges would not be built, the moon landing would not have happened, high towers would not be constructed, and more. All groundbreaking events in the history of mankind occurred with the power of math.

Presently, it is solving our biggest and most pressing problems. So, if math is where your expertise lies, the most reasonable thing to do right now is to grab the opportunity to learn everything you can about it (Audsley, n.d.).

 

References:

  1. Audsley, S. (n.d.). 6 Reasons to Study Mathematics. Keystone.
  2. Become Team. (2020, November 9). Careers for Numbers People STEM, Silicon Valley & Beyond. Become.
  3. Become Team. (2019, December 16). Careers in Mathematics. Become.
  4. Engelbrecht, J., Llinares, S., & Borba, M. (2020, June 26). Transformation of the mathematics classroom with the internet. Springer.
  5. Robinson, T. (2021, August 19). Careers for Math Majors. Best Colleges.
  6. UC Davis. (n.d.). Why Choose a Mathematics-Related Profession? UC Davis.

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