A full grasp of how numbers, equations, and methodologies work is imperative in various fields, like commerce, government, technology, and more. This serves as one of the many grounds that make a mathematics degree-holder sought-after by employers from different industry sectors. (Kowarski, 2020). Other top skills needed for math careers include analytical, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and problem-solving,. These skills enable math majors to understand complex concepts and make logical discourse.
The most common career paths for math degree-holders are banking, business, academic research, and economics. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be a 27% increase in mathematical roles from 2019 to 2029 (Wintermute, 2021). As such, opportunities for math degree graduates will continue to grow as huge organizations are now becoming heavily dependent on mathematical reasoning and data analysis.
So if you are an aspiring math professional, this article will be your guide in preparing requirements, targeting career prospects, and expecting salary ranges.
The mathematics definition paints it as analyzing data, numbers, and structures to design models. These models help us understand everything around us.
A math degree develops skills in quantitative predictions, data analysis, and complex mathematical problem-solving. If you plan to take a math degree, you can start by differentiating pure math and applied math fields from each other. Pure math is fully academic, while applied math explores interdisciplinary strategies like applications in technology and business.
Usually, math is also designed as a joint-honors degree, being matched with business management, computer science, and economics subjects (Quacquarelli Symonds, n.d.).
Mathematics degree graduates have endless career possibilities, be it in engineering, technology, or finance. The sectors of government and health care, for instance, are suitable for mathematicians and statisticians.
The latest BLS employment data reports that 40% of mathematicians and 11% of statisticians are employed by the federal government. These experts are tasked with analyzing public data, identifying trends, and partnering with scientists and public health authorities. The latest BLS occupational data also reports that 18% of mathematicians and 7% of statisticians are employed in higher academic institutes. There, they carry out research and teach math to students (Wintermute, 2021).
On the other hand, math experts can work for corporations and financial agencies as operations research analysts, budget analysts, and actuaries. These professionals find out and solve problems through mathematical models, statistics, and data analysis.
Bachelor’s-level applied math degrees are mostly required for these positions, but pure math programs may also qualify. Some organizations demand a graduate-level degree or experience in a specialized math discipline as well.
Residency, type of school, room and board, books and supplies, and many other expenses make up the full mathematics degree tuition. Nevertheless, many colleges, universities, as well as private companies, organizations, and government institutions offer scholarships and financial help. Online degrees in math are also an affordable and equally remarkable option.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the 2019-2020 median mathematics degree tuition and fee costs are $9,349 at public in-state four-year universities and $3,377 for two-year colleges. For private four-year schools, tuition and fees averaged $35,807 and $16,898 at two-year colleges. Tuition and fees for graduate math degrees at in-state public schools cost $12,171 and $27,776 for private schools.
School | Student Body | Tuition and Fees | Fields with Most Influence | Influential Alumni |
---|---|---|---|---|
Anne Arundel Community College | ~8,000 | $8,000 | Law Criminal Justice Medical Sociology Computer Science Business Education Engineering | Edward Snowden, attended but did not graduate Brian Crecente, editor of Kotaku Ronald Malfi, horror novelist Travis Pastrana, motocross racer |
Roxbury Community College | ~1,000 | $6,000 | Mathematics Nursing Biology Criminal Justice Computer Science Education | No information available |
Eastern Maine Community College | ~2,000 | $4,000 | Medical Nursing Education Criminal Justice | No information available |
Springfield Technical Community College | ~4,000 | $5,000 | Business Computer Science Biology Nursing Criminal Justice | Paul Mark, American politician |
College of Marin | ~3,000 | $1,000 | Anthropology Computer Science Physics Chemistry Literature Medical Communications Biology Engineering Business | Robin Williams, actor and comedian Jim Saia, American basketball coach Joel Blum, actor Lisa Law, American photographer |
By all accounts, a mathematics degree will take much of your time, energy, and sometimes money. This degree may even oblige you to take advanced or graduate degrees. However, this trend happens only because math is used in many disciplines to make accurate measurements, recognize business gains, and think and act reasonably. Without question, a math degree can take you to limitless options and bring you the best employee perks (Carlton, 2021).
Turn your love for numbers into a lucrative career. Today, nearly every job entails math to some extent. These jobs use different kinds of math, from basic addition or subtraction to algebra or statistics (Trade Schools, n.d.).
Alexandre Borovik’s 2021 arXiv article, “A Mathematician’s View of the Unreasonable Ineffectiveness of Mathematics in Biology,” discusses the effectiveness of mental arithmetic in physics. It highlights Enrico Fermi’s calculation on the first-ever nuclear explosion. “About 40 seconds after the explosion, the air blast reached me. I tried to estimate its strength by dropping from about six feet small pieces of paper before, during, and after the passage of the blast wave. Since, at the time, there was no wind I could observe very distinctly and actually measure the displacement of the pieces of paper that were in the process of falling while the blast was passing. The shift was about 2 1/2 meters, which, at the time, I estimated to correspond to the blast that would be produced by ten thousand tons of TNT.” This was an on-the-spot mental arithmetic account of the event, from observations of pieces of paper falling on the ground. It was then verified that Fermi’s estimation was correct.
The thriving importance laid out on big data, technology, and economic productivity across industries makes mathematics degree jobs always in demand. Besides making you a highly qualified professional, math also continues to hone your desirable skills, making this degree a marketable field (Palmer, 2020).
Math degree graduates achieve business goals in a multifaceted manner across industries, a manifestation of how flexible and more valuable they are to organizations.
Exact salary rates for math degree graduates differ by occupation, location, and organization, but they can gain exceptionally high income.
As of 2020, computer and information research scientists have an average yearly salary of $126,830, physicists have $128,950, actuaries have $111,030, economists have $108,350, and mathematicians and statisticians have $93,290.
Source: BLS, 2021
Some mathematics degree types are focused on applied mathematics that covers statistics and engineering, while others center on philosophical discussions and usually leads to scholastic careers. Even so, math has diverse programs and degrees because of its relevance to many disciplines and fields.
Average time to complete: Less than 2 years
An associate degree in mathematics generally spans about 60 credits. Most math-related careers set a full-time bachelor’s degree as a requirement; thus, many students take associate degrees first to pursue business, finance, or engineering careers later on in their practice.
In this degree, expect to tackle courses on calculus, intermediate algebra, basic statistics, introductory linear algebra, analytic geometry, and problem-solving.
Graduates of this degree are already eligible to work right after graduating. Some organizations employ associate degree holders for occupations in the business or finance sector.
Entry-level jobs: financial clerks, claim adjusters, actuaries
Average time to complete: 4 years
A bachelor’s degree in mathematics includes 120 credits. Coursework differs, but programs usually offer basic training in the first few years. Eventually, coursework advances into more challenging discussions, such as intermediate calculus, complex variables, probability and statistics, abstract algebra, applied regression analysis, complex variables, and applied probability.
After graduating with this degree, students can obtain varied careers depending on their specialization and preferences.
Entry-level jobs: Operations research analyst, financial analyst, accountant
Average time to complete: 1 to 2 years
A master’s degree in mathematics looks into advanced study and research. Here, students will learn more about complex and numerical analysis, differential equations, probability, symbolic algebra, algorithms, real and complex analysis, categorical data analysis, coding theories, and graph theory
Specializations have a major role in education programs at the graduate-level. Master’s degree students can normally customize their own concentrations or pick from popular choices, like mathematical finance, modeling, and more. They can also take related programs focused on either actuarial science or math education.
A BA in Math typically goes into more fundamental topics, including a range of courses in liberal arts. BA graduates are more likely to seek interdisciplinary fields like business or teaching.
Meanwhile, a BS in Math has the more specialized training, particularly in math. BS graduates are more equipped for finance or computer science careers.
Many schools offer both BA and BS degrees, but a BA in Math is a more preferred course.
High-level positions: mathematician, statistician, survey researcher, economist
Average time to complete: 4 to 7 years
The highest education level available in a mathematics program is a doctoral degree. This degree also offers specializations, such as in computer algebra, mathematical theory analysis, and more. Courses in a doctoral degree often start with an original dissertation.
Only a few require a PhD in math, but it can land you in any career or field. Many doctoral programs are focused on math education, and that is why most doctoral students take teaching and research professions.
Classes in PhD math programs are differentiable manifolds, combinatorics, partial differential equations, logic, analytic number theory, and algebraic number theory.
High-level positions: Postsecondary teacher, physicist, astronomer
Source: College Factual
Compared to other degrees, mathematics degree prerequisites are usually reliant on a student’s educational background in math. Most requirements are also quite test-centered.
Mathematics may be a challenging degree, but some points could make this program easy to take. Here are some important matters to bear in mind when looking for a math program.
Colleges and universities offer a wide variety of specializations in mathematics degree programs. Some of these specializations are algebra and number theory, analysis and functional analysis, and applied mathematics, just to name a few.
See to it that your target program or school is accredited first because everything depends on it, from financial aid to future employment. The DOE and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) acknowledge the bodies that regionally accredit colleges and universities.
Check only for regional acknowledgment as math degrees do not need programmatic accreditation.
Look for a school that has a club or a professional association that you can join. Clubs and associations regularly organize events, where you can meet industry experts. Some associations also offer travel grants and huge discounts to support students in attending meetings and conferences in other countries.
School programs offer grants to recruit top students in a forward-thinking area like a mathematics degree program. Moreover, aid options from the federal and state go beyond financial assistance as they also help math students improve their worldwide academic competitiveness.
Often heralded as the language of science, mathematics helps us find errors and resolve them at the same time. It also adds to the credibility of our works. Quantifiable facts are vital to reports, studies, and research. Without math, computers, quantum mechanics, GPS satellites, and more sophisticated technologies would not be here. (Stokdyk, 2020).
Most people have this notion that math is only a never-ending chain of numbers, fractions, or figures, and it will not be that helpful in real-life situations. In essence, the complexity of math and its many significant breakthroughs lead us all to life’s simplest answers and solutions (College Choice, 2021).
For more options on which college to go to when pursuing a math degree, here is a list of the top US college that pay off the most.
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