For some, the mere thought of taking college algebra 101 makes them break out in a cold sweat. Those who took on the challenge of earning a math degree, however, may be rewarded with some promising career prospects. Some jobs -- such as accounting and economics -- are obvious choices, while others may be less so.
Mathematics and business go hand-in-hand. Statisticians and operations research analysts analyze data drawn from company sales histories, customer service surveys and other data. Insurance companies employ actuaries to determine financial risks and make decisions based on probability data. Economists help to spot trends and assist with expansion plans. Smaller businesses often hire those with a math or a finance degree in executive-level positions to make critical economic decisions. For example, companies may seek math expertise in a general manager or a chief financial officer. A minor in economics or business administration is a bonus.
Sciences and Research
Mathematics will always be critical in scientific and technological research fields. Research mathematicians and statisticians use numerical data to solve complex problems. They assist in the software development process. They pursue mathematical biology, or biomathematics, using mathematical principles to simulate processes found in nature to help in fields such as genetics and epidemic modeling. Applied mathematicians, similarly, work with scientists in fields such as physics and geology to help make conclusions based on research data.
Put your mathematics degree to use in the classroom as a teacher. As of 2013, nearly every state had adopted the "common core" standards for primary and secondary education. These standards emphasize math and science throughout the curriculum and will likely lead to the need for more math teachers and tutors in public schools. If you have only a math degree, you can receive a provisional teaching certificate in most states because of a shortage in math teachers. The certificate allows you to work while you are formally trained in teaching methods. Some math teachers also teach related subjects such as physics.
Government agencies, technology firms and other businesses routinely hire math professionals to fill a variety of jobs. Cryptographers create codes or encryption methods for software developers. Government agencies or businesses may hire them to break encryption codes. Mathematicians who gain additional certifications may work as financial services consultants. Information technology firms often hire math professionals as programmers, business analysts or technical writers. Database administrators use mathematical skills and principles to design databases. In government, the National Security Agency, Internal Revenue Service, Census Bureau and similar agencies seek math-minded employees.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Math Occupations
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Mathematicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Actuaries
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Statistician
- Open Education Database: 10 Fastest-Growing Careers for Math Majors
- Mathematical Association of America: Mathematics Careers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: High School Teacher
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Postsecondary Teacher
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 25-1022 Mathematical Science Teachers, Postsecondary
- Common Core State Standards Initiative: Mathematics
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