There are math careers and science careers, and there are also lots of occupations that incorporate both subjects. Many of these careers fall into the STEM category: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM jobs are available in the government as well as the private sector.
Math and science careers generally offer high pay and good job stability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage in 2021 for STEM careers was $95,420, which is over twice that of the non-STEM careers ($40,120). The BLS also predicts 10.5-percent job growth in STEM occupations, which is 3 percent higher than the projected growth of non-STEM careers.
How Are Math and Science Compatible?
Math and science have lots of overlap, which is why there are so many occupations that combine both. For example, physics work is grounded in algebra, geometry, and calculus. Applied mathematics incorporates problems for many different sciences, from biology and chemistry to meteorology.
Most engineering disciplines require a strong understanding of both math and science. For example, civil engineering incorporates physics, statics, algebra, geometry, probability, and calculus.
Part of the reason for strong job growth in STEM fields is the expansion of the computer industry and the increasing reliance on big data. Some of the fastest-growing computer fields are information security analysis, software development, and information research science.
Top 10 Careers that Combine Math and Science:
There are hundreds of occupations that have an equal focus on math and science. Here are some to consider.
- Projected average annual salary: $97,410
- Courses to take: algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, chemistry, physics, biology, bioengineering
- Schools that offer majors: John Hopkins, Georgia Tech, MIT, and Stanford
- Scholarships for this career trajectory: Wire Engineering Scholarship, Black Engineering Leaders Grant
A biomedical engineer helps design products and systems used in the medical industry. They may develop, test, and improve diagnostic machinery, artificial limbs and organs, and other healthcare equipment. Biomedical engineers may serve as liaisons with medical professionals and other scientists, and they may also provide training, repairs, and adjustments for high-tech medical devices.
- Projected average annual salary: $72,815
- Courses to take: algebra, statistics, probability, computer science, economics, marketing, business administration
- Schools that offer majors: Harvard, Bently University, University of Pennsylvania, Michigan State University
- Scholarships for this career trajectory: Sean Carroll's Mindscape Big Picture Scholarship, Cliff T. Wofford STEM Scholarship
A research analyst can work in a wide range of fields. Finance, operations, economics, engineering, and computer science are some industries that employ research analysts. These professionals work with data sets, organizing, reviewing, analyzing, and interpreting the information to make predictions and identify trends. An operations research analyst may also author reports of their findings and decide how to display data visually in most useful and understandable ways to the intended audience.
- Projected average annual salary: $88,050
- Courses to take: algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, statics, probability, physics, thermodynamics
- Schools that offer majors: University of California – Berkeley, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Tech, Stanford
- Scholarships for this career trajectory: Markforged Distinguished Women Engineers Grant, Black Students in STEM Scholarship Fund
Civil engineers design pieces of infrastructure, such as bridges, roads, water systems, airports, railways, dams, and power plants. They may also help design industrial buildings. A civil engineer may create plans to preserve or improve existing infrastructure. These professionals often contribute to many stages of the process, from initial design to construction.
- Projected average annual salary: $77,200
- Schools that offer majors: University of California – San Diego, Purdue, Tulane University, Arizona State University
- Scholarships for this career trajectory: Gulo Marketing Website Design Scholarship, Dynamic Edge Women in STEM Scholarship
A web developer designs websites based on the needs and requirements of their clients. Web development may include everything from designing the layout and writing code to providing graphic arts. Web developers must know several programming languages, understand online security, and be able to apply client feedback quickly.
- Projected average annual salary: $94,570
- Courses to take: physical science, atmospheric science, physics, algebra, geometry, computer programming
- Schools that offer majors: Cornell, University of California – Los Angeles, UC – Berkeley, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
- Scholarships for this career trajectory: Virginia Jeanette Drummond Kissane Women in STEM Memorial Scholarship, Mark Caldwell Memorial STEM/STEAM Scholarship
A meteorologist is a scientist who observes and analyzes atmospheric data to predict the weather, climate changes, and other events that affect the earth. They may gather, organize, and interpret data from weather stations, radar, satellites, and other sources. Meteorologists may work for private companies or government agencies and often create and provide weather forecasts and reports.
Information Systems Manager (IT Manager)
- Projected average annual salary: $159,010
- Courses to take: computer programming, software development, algebra, calculus, information security, computer science
- Schools that offer majors: Carnegie Mellon, MIT, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Arizona
- Scholarships for this career trajectory: Rho Brooks Women in STEM Scholarship, Mark Caldwell Memorial STEM/STEAM Scholarship
An IT manager (or information systems manager) provides oversight of a company's computer-related equipment and activities. Some responsibilities may include managing IT networks, diagnosing computer issues, repairing computers, and designing a company's IT infrastructure. They may also purchase new hardware and software and test existing computer systems.
- Projected average annual salary: $95,300
- Courses to take: algebra, calculus, statics, thermodynamics, physics, life sciences, physical sciences, design, and computer0aided design
- Schools that offer majors: MIT, Georgia Tech, Stanford, University of California – Berkeley, California Institute of Technology
- Scholarships for this career trajectory: Young Women in STEM Scholarship, Spring "Future of STEM" Scholarship
Mechanical engineers work with mechanical devices and systems. They may design, test, improve, and build this type of equipment for their clients. A mechanical engineer can assist with many parts of the design process, from analyzing client requirements to overseeing the manufacturing process and optimizing existing systems.
- Projected average annual salary: $105,900
- Courses to take: algebra, calculus, statistics, actuarial science, economics, applied statistics, corporate finance
- Schools that offer majors: University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, New York University, University of Georgia
- Scholarships for this career trajectory: Carey Jackson Future Leaders Scholarship, Focus Forward Scholarship
Actuaries usually work for banks, insurance providers, or other financial institutions. They analyze data to determine the financial cost of actions, such as ensuring a person or company. An actuary must have a good grasp of financial theory, statistics, and data analysis and should know how to read financial records.
- Projected average annual salary: $105,550
- Courses to take: algebra, calculus, chemistry, biology, physics, trigonometry
- Schools that offer majors: MIT, Georgia Tech, California Institute of Technology, Stanford
- Scholarships for this career trajectory: Breanden Beneschott Grant for Chemical Engineers, Markforged Distinguished Black Engineers Grant
Chemical engineers design products and chemicals by applying the principles of chemistry to address real-world problems. Their work must comply with environmental standards and safety regulations. A chemical engineer may work in R&D, production, and testing.
- Projected average annual salary: $128,570
- Courses to take: biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, calculus, pharmacology,
- Schools that offer majors: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, University of California – San Francisco, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, University of Minnesota
- Scholarships for this career trajectory: First-Gen in Health and Medicine Scholarship, Black Medical Students Scholarship
Pharmacists are essential to the healthcare industry. They help patients by preparing and providing medications, particularly those that require a prescription. A pharmacist is an expert in medications and drug interactions and helps ensure that medicine is distributed properly and in accordance with state and federal laws.
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Frequently Asked Questions
If you want more information about promising careers in math and science, check out these common questions and answers.
What job is best for math and science?
Many great jobs combine math and science, and the best one is based on your unique interests and math skills. Some excellent options include data scientist, information security analyst, actuary, computational scientist, and physicist.
What is the highest-paying math job?
There isn't a definitive answer, but some math jobs with the highest salaries are actuary, cryptologist, senior data scientist, algorithm developer, and insurance underwriter.
Which job has the highest salary in science?
There will always be some variability in specific job titles and salaries. However, these science fields generally offer the highest salaries: biotechnology, genomics, immunology, genetics, and clinical research.
What jobs can you do with math and physics?
Many jobs combine math and physics. Some excellent fields incorporating both are civil engineering, technical writing, process engineering, geophysics, data science, meteorology, and aerospace engineering.
Can you be an engineer with a math degree?
It depends. To become a licensed Professional Engineer, you need an engineering degree from an accredited program. However, there are many careers with "engineer" in the title that accept individuals with math degrees.