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The Top Careers in Math and How to Get There

Are you thinking of majoring in math in college? Find out which skills you need to master and learn more about the top careers in math.
Mathematics
2 minutes
The Top Careers in Math and How to Get There
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If you enjoy numbers and problem-solving, you want to pursue a degree in math. Fortunately, there are many excellent career paths for those who major in math. Your specific degree will narrow down potential job opportunities, but most math-related careers offer good job security and decent salaries. 

What if you like the idea of a math career but don't feel confident in your skills? Math tutors can help! Getting one-on-one instruction from an expert can help you solidify the core fundamentals you need to succeed in a math, science, or engineering program. Wherever you are on your educational journey, improving your math skills can open new academic and career opportunities.

Why Pursue a Career in Math?

There are many math-related occupations, and most of them offer good salaries and growth potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be a 28 percent growth in math occupations between 2020 and 2030, which is much higher than the average. The BLS predicts the math industry will add about 67,200 jobs. With many private businesses and government entities utilizing big data, demand for math professionals may continue to grow in the upcoming decades.

Most math professions offer good salaries. BLS data from 2021 shows the median annual wage for math occupations was $98,680, which is more than twice the median annual wage for all occupations ($45,760). 

What Skills Are Gained with a Math Degree?

You'll hone many essential transferrable skills when you earn a math degree, especially if you get extra help from Learner tutors.

Problem-Solving

Daily life might not involve word problems about two trains, but you use problem-solving skills all the time. Making a budget, planning your schedule, and working in a team all require good problem-solving abilities. 

Data Analysis

The ability to look at data and make observations and predictions is useful in many careers and in daily life. 

Logic

Math teaches good logic skills, which are important in interpersonal communications. Logic also plays a significant role in software development and other computer-related jobs.

Information Technology

You'll learn to use several software programs in the course of a math degree, such as Excel and Matlab.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking helps with everyday decision-making. It can also help you identify reliable sources of information.

Careers in Math - How to Get Your Start!

What Can You Do with an Associate Degree in Math?

An associate degree in math qualifies you for a wide range of entry-level jobs. 

Bookkeeper

  • Projected average annual salary: $45,560
  • Types of math to master: accounting and arithmetic

Bookkeepers produce and check financial records. Most use computer software, spreadsheets, and databases, but some may use hand-written ledgers. Bookkeepers can work for CPAs, large companies, or individual clients, such as small business owners.

Accounting Supervisor

  • Projected average salary: $65,770
  • Types of math to master: accounting and arithmetic 

An accounting supervisor is usually the head of a small accounting team and may also serve as the liaison between customers and the accounting department. This role typically involves verifying financial information, preparing internal reports, and creating financial documentation for compliance.

Financial Advisor Assistant or Paraplanner

  • Projected average salary: $50,000
  • Types of math to master: arithmetic, algebra, and order of operations

A paraplanner works alongside a financial advisor and may interact with clients, maintain account paperwork, schedule meetings, and create reports. Assistants and paraplanners can complete their bachelor's degree and other coursework to earn a Certified Financial Planner™ credential.

Accounts Payable Clerk

  • Projected average salary: $38,650
  • Types of math to master: arithmetic and accounting

An accounts payable clerk usually works in the accounting department. They typically complete tasks related to the company's payable functions, including preparing financial statements, checking transactions for accuracy, paying invoices, maintaining database entries, and communicating with vendors.

Teaching Assistant

  • Projected average salary: $27,920
  • Types of math to master: arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and possibly trigonometry and pre-calculus

A teaching assistant typically works in a public or private K-12 school classroom. They usually help the teacher with various tasks and may also work with smaller student groups that require accelerated or remedial lessons.

What Can You Do with a Bachelor's Degree in Math?

Earning an undergraduate math degree opens more opportunities in the math industry and other related fields.

Financial Planner

  • Projected average salary: $94,170
  • Types of math to master: accounting, tax calculations, and possibly statistics

Financial advisors help clients manage their money wisely. These professionals generally offer expert advice on investment opportunities, budgeting, estate planning, and retirement planning.

Risk Analyst

  • Projected average salary: $64,750
  • Types of math to master: finance/accounting, statistics, probability, data analysis

Most risk analysts work for insurance providers, banks, and other financial institutions. They generally gather and analyze potential clients' information to determine how risky it would be for the company to insure them or provide other client services.

Mathematician

  • Projected average salary: $71,100
  • Types of math to master: algebra, geometry, logic, and possibly calculus, data analysis, applied math, probability, and statistics

Mathematicians work in various companies and industries. Generally, they perform research and try to improve their understanding of algebra, calculus, logic, and other branches of math. Mathematicians may also provide consulting services for software developers, intelligence agencies, and educators.

Data Analyst

  • Projected average salary: $60,700
  • Types of math to master: data analysis, statistics, probability, algebra, applied math

A data analyst may use computer modeling software and databases to gather, organize, and display large quantities of data. They also analyze data to create reports and identify trends. A data analyst may help create surveys or other data-gathering tools.

Software Engineer

  • Projected average salary: $85,010
  • Types of math to master: algebra, logic, and geometry

A software engineer is a key part of the software development process. They often work with programmers and coders as well as end users to ensure a viable software product. 

What Can You Do with a Master's Degree in Math?

Getting your master's in math can lead to high-level jobs in the government and the private sector.

High School Math Teacher

  • Projected average salary: $50,090
  • Types of math to master: arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus

A high school math teacher works in a classroom setting, teaching students algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, and calculus. Teachers may also choose curricula and help students prepare for college entrance exams.

Math Tutor

  • Projected average salary: $36,222
  • Types of math to master: arithmetic, algebra, and possibly geometry, trigonometry, and calculus

A math tutor helps students improve their math knowledge and skills. Tutors usually work with students one-on-one or in small group settings. If you specifically enjoy assisting students in preparing for standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT, you may want to specialize in test prep tutoring

Project Manager

  • Projected average salary: $114,920
  • Types of math to master: arithmetic, accounting, and possibly statistics

A project manager supervises one or more teams and manages deadlines, work assignments, and interactions with customers. Project managers can work in many fields, but someone with a math background may find opportunities in information technology, computer science, or software development. 

Cryptographer

  • Projected average salary: $145,000
  • Types of math to master: algebra, calculus, discrete mathematics, linear or matrix algebra, and possibly Fourier analysis

A cryptographer works with data security encryption codes, generally designing or breaking them. They need a strong understanding of algorithms, computer science, and information technology. Cryptography jobs exist in the private sector and the government.

Statistician

  • Projected average salary: $95,570
  • Types of math to master: algebra, calculus, statistics, probability, linear algebra, and possibly physics

A statistician analyzes data to discover trends and interpolate or extrapolate information. There are theoretical and applied statisticians, and there is a wide range of public and private sector positions for these professionals. 

What Can You Do with a Doctorate Degree in Math?

If you want to become a math professor or a researcher, you may want to pursue a doctoral degree in math. 

Math Professor

  • Projected average salary: $88,120
  • Types of math to master: algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and possibly linear algebra, statistics, probability, and differential equations

A math professor usually teaches math to college students. Depending on the university they work for, they may also conduct research, choose or develop curricula, author textbooks, and advise students. 

Financial Engineer

  • Projected average salary: $78,420
  • Types of math to master: accounting, economic theory, statistics, applied math

A financial engineer may work in a bank, investment firm, credit union, or government agency. The job typically involves creating and testing these financial institutions' mathematical and analytical tools. Along with math, a financial engineer usually needs a strong computer programming background.

Lead Data Scientist

  • Projected average salary: $130,820
  • Types of math to master: statistics, data science, arithmetic, probability, and possibly calculus

Many data scientists work in the information technology industry, but they can also find opportunities in other fields. These professionals analyze data to identify trends, make predictions, and find solutions to problems. A lead data scientist may manage a team of data scientists.

Chief Technology Officer

  • Projected average salary: $161,180
  • Types of math to master: accounting, arithmetic, spreadsheet/database management

A company's CTO manages all the technology-related decisions and expenditures. They should be familiar with financial documents and budgets and any niche math or science topics related to the company's industry. A CTO may split their time between the executive suite and the information technology department. 

Grant Administrator

  • Projected average salary: $80,798
  • Types of math to master: theoretical math, pure math, applied math

A grant administrator manages the awards process for a foundation, organization, or government body. They may review grant proposals and evaluate them for compliance and merit. Having a Ph.D. in Math may qualify you to direct national funding programs for math and science projects. 

Get Ahead with Learner!

No matter where you are in your math journey, there is always more to learn. Sometimes textbooks and traditional classroom environments don't provide enough support to allow you to master key mathematical concepts truly. If you're falling behind in your class or just not understanding your lessons or homework, Learner can help.

Our tutors are math experts with outstanding teaching skills. They don't just offer quick tricks or basic overview lessons. Rather, they take the time to find out exactly where you need help and then create customized, engaging lessons that help you deepen your knowledge. Learner also has ELA tutors who can help you improve your essay skills and prepare for standardized tests.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about math careers? Get answers here!

What jobs require good math skills?

Math is important in most professions, even those outside the math industry. While engineering and statistics jobs may require mastery of high-order math such as calculus, studies show that 94 percent of all workers use basic math in their jobs.

What are the highest-paying math jobs?

According to the BLS, the median annual pay for actuaries in 2021 was $105,900, which is higher than the median salary for all math occupations. Other high-paying math careers include jobs in engineering, data science, and software development.

Are math majors in demand?

Yes. The BLS predicts much-faster-than-average growth in math occupations between 2020 and 2030. Additionally, math majors can often find jobs in many other industries: science, engineering, consulting, and academia.

What should you major in if you like math?

There are math degrees for theoretical and applied mathematics. Other possibilities include economics, computer science, physics, engineering, information technology, and genetics.

Does the government hire mathematicians?

Yes. Mathematicians can find many federal government career opportunities in the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and other organizations, including intelligence agencies. There are also job possibilities in state and local governments.

About the author:

Mike developed his passion for education as a math instructor at Penn State University. He expanded his educational experience launching and running an Executive Education business - training over 100,000 students per year. As the CEO of Learner, Mike focuses on accelerating learning and unleashing the potential of students. 

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