What Is the Demand for a Degree in Mathematics? (2023)

Although you like math, you might be wary of choosing the subject as your college major. If you worry that there aren’t any jobs with a degree in mathematics or that the field of math doesn’t have enough real-world applications to make it a viable subject to earn a degree in, you might be pleasantly surprised.The job outlook for math careers is better than average, and the broad and versatile skills you learn as a math major can appeal to prospective employers in a wide range of industries.

IMAGE SOURCE: Pixabay, public domain

What Can I Do With a Math Degree?

More than 176,000 Americans worked in math careers as of 2020, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Countless others who earn a math degree go on to work in industries such as education, legal, business, economics, finance and engineering.

A math degree program can focus on abstract or applied mathematics, which means that your potential career options may emphasize strictly theoretical research to advance the field or purely practical applications of mathematical principles and methods. Generally, more prospective employers will be looking for applied math skills than knowledge of theoretical math concepts, since exploring the field of math purely for math’s sake isn’t beneficial in most companies and organizations outside of academia. Your potential work environments may be limited to universities and their provided research labs if you pursue a degree in theoretical mathematics, according to The Houston Chronicle.

However, if you opt for an applied mathematics program, your work options are virtually limitless. A few of the fields that applied mathematicians could consider include systems biology, data mining, materials science, computer animation, climatology, finance and economics and the connected fields of ecology, epidemiology and environment, according to the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Whatever career direction you decide to pursue with a math degree, you should look for an opportunity that allows you to use skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, logic and reasoning – the same set of versatile skills that you developed by studying math.

The Best Jobs for Mathematics Majors

There are numerous potential jobs for math degrees. If you want to really devote your professional life to the field of mathematics, pursuing a career in what the BLS categorizes as math occupations may be your best option. These jobs include mathematician, statistician, actuary and operations research analyst.

Job Prospects for Math Majors

The math occupational career paths all pay well, with median salaries at least twice the median wage across all occupations in the United States. The BLS predicted that job opportunities for the math occupational group as a whole would increase by 28 percent between 2020 and 2030. Not only is this growth rate 3.5 times the job growth rate predicted for all occupations, but it also stands to add approximately 67,200 new jobs to the field by the end of this decade.

(Video) 5 High Paying Jobs For Math Majors (That Aren't Teaching)

Mathematician and Statistician Jobs

Mathematician might be the career that first comes to mind when you think about college degree programs in math, but it’s far from the most common occupation. Only 2,700 workers in the United States held the job title of mathematician as of 2020, the BLS reported.

Mathematician Job Outlook

Job growth rates for mathematicians aren’t ideal. Despite high rates of growth being projected across the mathematician and statistician occupational grouping as a whole, the BLS predicted that jobs for mathematicians specifically would rise by just three percent, putting the job growth rate at less than half of the average rate for all careers. As a prospective mathematics major, you can probably do the math to realize that this small amount of growth, applied to such a small occupation to begin with, will only lead to a fairly small improvement in job opportunities. By 2030, the BLS has predicted only 100 new job opportunities for mathematicians, bringing the total number of mathematicians to 2,800.

Statistician Job Outlook

Statistician, the occupation most closely related to mathematician, is seeing a much higher growth rate. With 42,000 jobs already established in America as of 2020, the statistician career is already more than 15 times larger than the mathematician career. Further, the BLS had predicted that jobs for statisticians would increase by a much faster than average rate of 35 percent between 2020 and 2030. If accurate, this rate of growth would result in 14,900 new jobs for statisticians, or56,900 total jobs in the field.

Jobs in Actuarial Science and Operations Research Analysis

Beyond mathematician and statistician, the occupations of actuary and operations research analyst are among the best-suited for math majors. Both roles apply math skills to the analysis of real-world issues: computing the financial cost of risk, for actuaries, and identifying ways to solve problems and streamline activities, for operations research analysts.

Actuary Job Outlook

Actuary is the smaller occupation, with just 27,700 workers as of 2020. However, the BLS expects jobs in this career field to grow by 24 percent, a much faster than average rate that works out to three times the rate of job growth anticipated for all occupations. Under the projected rate of job growth, there would be 6,800 new jobs for actuaries between 2020 and 2030. Actuaries may work in the areas of life insurance, health insurance, property and casualty insurance (including home and auto insurance) and pension and retirement.

The work actuaries do by putting mathematical and statistical concepts and methods into practice assessing the risk of financial losses is particularly valued in industries like finance and insurance. The complex knowledge of mathematics and statistics that is required makes this job a challenging one. Equally difficult is the requirement to pass a series of professional certification exams – seven to ten exams, depending on the field of actuary work in which you’re seeking certification – to reach full status as an actuarial fellow.

Operations Research Analyst Job Outlook

Opportunities will be even more plentiful for operations research analysts, who already occupied 104,100 jobs in 2020 and were predicted to see an increase of 25 percent, or 25,600 new jobs, over the decade between 2020 and 2030. Companies and occasionally government agencies turn to operations research analysts to do exactly what the job title suggests: research and analyze the organization’s operations to identify solutions to known problems or opportunities to streamline and improve operations. Jobs that fit into the category of operations research analysis include optimization analyst, analytical strategist, decision analyst and advanced analytics analyst, according to O*NET.

Although both of these jobs are roles you could pursue with a math degree, they may require a different level of education. While most actuaries have only a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree isn’t even in the top three most commonly reported levels of education for this career, 70 percent of all operations research analysts report having a master’s degree, according to O*NET.

(Video) Interview: What can I do with a Mathematics Degree?

The Best Jobs Math Majors Can Get in Other Fields

Each year, tens of thousands of new math degrees are awarded. For example, for the 2017 through 2018 academic year, students were awarded 25,256 bachelor’s degrees, 10,443 master’s degrees and 2,010 doctoral degrees in the category of mathematics and statistics, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Given that the number of undergraduate math degrees awarded in this single year is more than three times the total number of mathematicians in America, it probably comes as no surprise that many math majors wind up using skills that they gained while studying math as undergraduate students in careers outside of the traditional math occupations. Here are some of the alternative career paths you could pursue as a math major.

Math Teacher

If you’re great at doing math, you might also excel at teaching math. Math majors sometimes go on to become teachers, leveraging their bachelor’s in mathematics degrees to get started seeking alternate-route teaching certification. Most teachers who focus on math specifically work in the middle school and high school grades, but elementary teachers typically teach their class all subjects, including math.

The demand for teachers depends on the grade level you’re interested in teaching. As of 2020, high school teachers earned a median wage of $62,870, and the BLS anticipated an 8 percent increase in jobs, leading to 78,200 new job roles by 2030. For middle school teachers, the BLS reported a $60,810 salary per year and predicted that jobs opportunities would increase by 7 percent, or 44,800 new jobs, during this decade. Elementary school teachers, not including special education teachers, earned a median wage of $60,940 per year in 2020, and the BLS was projecting a 7 percent rate of job growth that would add 101,700 new opportunities by 2030.

Lawyer

Studying math as an undergraduate student doesn’t directly contribute to your knowledge of the law, but it does help you develop strong skills in logic and reasoning. These are the same skills you would need to become a lawyer, applying to situations like building a case or constructing a legal argument. Math has become a common choice of major for students who intend to go to law school.

Among lawyers, the median annual pay rate was $126,930 in 2020, the BLS reported. Career opportunities for attorneys were expected to increase by 9 percent, or 71,500 new jobs.

Engineer

Engineers use the principles of math and science to design and develop solutions to different kinds of problems. An undergraduate degree in mathematics could help put you on the path to an engineering job – but there’s a catch. Not having a formal education or experience in the use of math concepts and techniques for the purposes of engineering design could put you at a disadvantage. However, if you decide that the field of engineering is right for you, you may be able to build upon your undergraduate math knowledge with a master’s degree program in engineering.

For the architecture and engineering occupational group as a whole, the BLS expected job opportunities to rise by 6 percent, or 146,000 new jobs, from 2020 through 2030.

(Video) Student Testimonial - Marie from the Bachelor's in Mathematics

Math majors often end up in other roles in business and finance besides actuary and operations research analyst. Math skills are important for jobs like budget analyst, cost estimator and financial analyst.

Top Industries for Math Careers

Graduates of mathematics degree programs find work in a wide array of industries, including marketing, entertainment, healthcare, business and even legal. However, some industries are far more likely to be among the top employers of math majors than others.

For example, as of 2020, the finance and insurance industry employed 76 percent of all actuaries and 27 percent of operations research analysts, while insurance carriers and related activities hired 8 percent of statisticians. Around 22 percent of operations research analysts and 11 percent of actuaries worked in the professional, scientific and technical services industry in 2020, while the related management, scientific and technical consulting services industry employed 26 percent of mathematicians.

The federal government is another major employer, accounting for 47 percent of mathematician jobs, 12 percent of statistician jobs, 6 percent of operations research analyst roles and 4 percent of actuary positions in 2020.

The research and development industry employed 14 percent of statisticians, while management of companies and enterprises accounts for 9 percent of operations research analyst jobs and 5 percent of actuary jobs.

Earning Potential With a Math Degree

Math degree graduates have some serious income potential. Mathematicians earn a median salary of $110,860 in 2020, while the median wage for those in the best-paying industries rose to $121,140 per year or more, the BLS reported. Actuary is another math role that offers a six-figure salary, with a median wage of $111,030.

Statisticians earn a median wage of $92,270, but a six-figure salary is well within the realm of possibility for the 12 percent of statisticians who work for the federal government and even the 14 percent of statisticians who work in the research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences industry.

Even the lowest-paid of the mathematical science occupations, operations research analyst, enjoys an $86,200 median salary, which is still more than twice as high as the median wage for all occupations. Like statisticians, operations research analysts who work for the federal government – about 6 percent of the entire occupation – are the best-paid. The operations research analysts in this industry earned a median salary of $119,720 per year as of 2020.

(Video) What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Math Major (Mathematics Major)

Historically, mathematicians and statisticians who earned a master’s degree have seen a significant pay boost in the form of a wage premium of 33 percent, the BLS reported in 2015. According to O*NET, 25 percent of mathematicians have a master’s degree and 50 percent have a doctorate, while 65 percent of statisticians have a master’s degree and 20 percent have a doctorate. If you choose one of these roles, you may need to consider graduate school in the future.

For mathematicians, one of the industries that have the most rigorous education requirements happens to be one of the least lucrative. Mathematicians who work in colleges and universities earn a median wage of just $63,600 per year, the BLS reported in 2020.

Additional Resources

What Kind of Job Can You Get With a Degree in Math?

What Is the Salary Potential for Someone with a Math Degree?

How Advanced Does My Degree in Math Have to Be to Get a Good Job?

20 Non-Law Firm Jobs with a Law Degree

What Are the 5 Best Careers in Environmental Science?

(Video) WHAT JOBS CAN YOU GET WITH A MATHEMATICS MAJOR: The Importance of Math for Jobs | Nathan Dalaklis

FAQs

Are maths degrees in demand? ›

In fact, by the year 2028, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job market for aspiring mathematicians will grow by a staggering 33 percent - much faster than for all other occupations.

Is a math major high demand? ›

Math degrees lead to lucrative, in-demand jobs in diverse fields. The BLS projects mathematics jobs to grow 27% between 2019-2029, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. Many colleges and universities offer online math degree programs.

How useful is a degree in mathematics? ›

A degree in math is a professional pathway for those interested in solutions and solving real-world problems. It's an important discipline to study because many roles require a basic or advanced understanding of mathematical concepts.

How hard is a degree in maths? ›

At some point in your first year, you will find the mathematics very difficult, perhaps even extremely difficult. At this point you will need to remember that you are good enough to succeed – however you will need to work hard and be sure to seek as much help and guidance as you need.

What jobs can u do with maths? ›

Consider the following maths careers:
  • Teacher.
  • Mathematician.
  • Software developer and computer programmer.
  • Research scientist.
  • Economist.
  • Actuary.
  • Accountant.
  • Engineer.

Where can I work as a mathematician? ›

Mathematicians and statisticians are in demand across a range of sectors and employment opportunities are commonly found in:
  • education.
  • engineering.
  • finance, banking and accountancy firms.
  • government - local, central and agencies.
  • insurance companies.
  • IT, business consultancy and operational research companies.

Do math majors make good money? ›

What is the average salary for math majors? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for math professionals is $90,410 per year. Your specific salary will depend on factors like what industry you're working in and how much experience you have.

Do employers like math majors? ›

Employers love hiring math majors because they possess exceptional analytical thinking skills, pay close attention to details, and can problem-solve through rigorous and methodical processes. “In every job, there will be obstacles to overcome, problems to solve, challenges to face,” says Wagner.

What is the benefit of mathematics? ›

Mathematics provides an effective way of building mental discipline and encourages logical reasoning and mental rigor. In addition, mathematical knowledge plays a crucial role in understanding the contents of other school subjects such as science, social studies, and even music and art.

Why is mathematics important give 5 reasons? ›

Someone who understands math is able to understand basic life skills such as managing a budget, building furniture, forecasting, and telling time. Math helps you understand costs, balance a bank account, and subtract balances which are essential skills as adults.

Is mathematics a good career? ›

In fact, mathematician, actuary, and statistician jobs are among the most promising career paths based on their income levels, growth outlook, and low-stress work environments.

What's the hardest degree? ›

The hardest degree subjects are Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Physics, Biomedical Science, Law, Neuroscience, Fine Arts, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Education, Computer Science and Philosophy. Let's dive right in, and look at why these subjects are the hardest degree subjects.

What skills does a maths degree give you? ›

What skills does studying mathematics develop?
  • critical thinking.
  • problem solving.
  • analytical thinking.
  • quantitative reasoning.
  • ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas.
  • construct logical arguments and expose illogical arguments.
  • communication.
  • time management.

What is the highest degree of math? ›

A doctoral degree is the highest level of education available in mathematics, often taking 4-7 years to complete. Like a master's degree, these programs offer specializations in many areas, including computer algebra, mathematical theory analysis, and differential geometry.

What should I study if I love math? ›

Typical Degree Paths: Bachelor's in mathematics, actuarial science, statistics or other analytical field; master's in mathematics, theoretical mathematics or applied mathematics; some positions may require a PhD in theoretical or applied mathematics.

Is it hard to get a bachelor's degree in mathematics? ›

Mathematics is one of the more challenging degrees at most universities. That said, college is really not that hard if you like the major you choose and are actually willing to read about and learn about the subject a bit outside of your classes.

Can you become an engineer with a math degree? ›

it's difficult to be an enginee without specialized training in a given field of engineering. There are mathematical prerequisites, but there's a lot of engineering to learn. You might be well positioned to now go study engjneering because of your math background, but you need the training and experience.

What kind of people are mathematicians? ›

Mathematicians are investigative and conventional

They also tend to be conventional, meaning that they are usually detail-oriented and organized, and like working in a structured environment. If you are one or both of these archetypes, you may be well suited to be a mathematician.

Are mathematicians well paid? ›

Many math careers offer high salaries; data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the 2021 median annual salary for mathematicians was $108,100. Most jobs require some math skills, such as arithmetic and basic algebra. These are also abilities most people use in their daily lives.

Who is the father of maths? ›

The Father of Math is the great Greek mathematician and philosopher Archimedes.

What do pure mathematicians do? ›

Pure mathematics encompasses the study and research of theories and abstract mathematical concepts. It's an inquiry-based field where professionals often work in academics, research and development rather than practical areas.

How much is the salary of a mathematician? ›

Average ₱18,731 per month.

Is a math degree respected? ›

Math majors are highly employable because so many disciplines require problem solvers, critical thinkers, and mathematicians. A math degree combined with knowledge of other fields will make finding a job much easier. Pure math jobs are few and far in between, math is treated more like a skill than a vocation.

Does the government hire mathematicians? ›

The federal government employs 1,000 mathematicians.

The Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force employs 820. The Commerce Department employs 50, the Department of Health and Human Services employs 30, and the National Science Foundation employs 28.

Do companies hire mathematicians? ›

Math majors develop analytical proficiencies, knowledge of math theory and practical applications, and problem-solving skills that are highly valued by public and private companies in every industry, including finance, computer and data science, and biotechnology.

Why did you choose to study mathematics? ›

Mathematics is an exciting and varied degree that can open up a lot of opportunities for students. The study of mathematics makes you better at solving problems. It gives you skills that you can use across other subjects and apply in many different job roles.

What are the 10 reasons why mathematics is important? ›

10 Reasons Why Math is Important in Life
  • Learning math is good for your brain. ...
  • Math helps you tell time. ...
  • Math helps you with your finances. ...
  • Math makes you a better cook (or baker). ...
  • Math helps us have better problem-solving skills. ...
  • Math is used in practically every career in some way.

How do I succeed as a math major? ›

  1. Work hard. Do not expect to understand everything on the spot. ...
  2. Choose courses properly. • ...
  3. Make the most of your textbooks. • ...
  4. Ask questions in class. Talk to the TA. ...
  5. Attend office hours. ...
  6. Make the most of your lectures. ...
  7. Study in the correct way. ...
  8. Work diligently on your homework assignments.

Why do people love maths? ›

Numbers help us understand the world, and Math helps us understand numbers. The real-life applications of Mathematics are endless. We are surrounded by numbers, equations and algorithms – especially in this age of data science, with huge data sets that can only be understood through statistical models and analysis.

Why is maths so difficult? ›

Maths is cumulative

Another reason many people find maths so hard is that the subject is cumulative. A foundation is built and then new concepts are taught which are based upon an understanding of this foundation, and these in turn are used to understand more complex concepts.

What are the disadvantages of math? ›

whereas few disadvantage are as follows.
  • sometimes they just cant be solved without a calculator.
  • It may result in misconceptions (e.g. the concept of similarity carries different meanings in mathematics and the real world).
  • Makes abstract thinking difficult, some topics should remain abstract.
21 Jan 2021

Who is the No 1 mathematician in the world? ›

1. Pythagoras. The life of the famous Greek Pythagoras is somewhat mysterious. Probably born the son of a seal engraver on the island of Samos, Pythagoras has been attributed with many scientific and mathematical discoveries in antiquity.

What is a math degree called? ›

BA in Mathematics

The Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics provides a strong general mathematics background while still allowing students to create a program tailored to their interests. This is extremely useful for students pursuing careers in teaching or in the actuarial profession.

Which degree is best for future? ›

Here are some fields that are expected to have growth potential and continue to develop.
  • Engineering. Engineering is a large scientific branch focused on the practical design and building of structures or machines. ...
  • Healthcare. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Computer Science. ...
  • Business. ...
  • Information Technology. ...
  • Accounting. ...
  • Economics & Finance.

Which is the simplest degree? ›

The 16 Easiest College Majors – 2022 Rankings
  • Psychology.
  • Criminal Justice.
  • English.
  • Education.
  • Religious Studies.
  • Social Work.
  • Sociology.
  • Communications.
11 Sept 2022

Which degree has the highest dropout rate? ›

Computer sciences and business and administrative studies are among the degree subjects with the highest drop-out rates; with around nine per cent of students dropping out by their second year.

Is math a talent or a skill? ›

It's a skill, but one which some people find easier to learn than other. I suppose you could say that those people were more "talented", but in my opinion they don't have natural ability, they just have to work less hard to get more ability. As for how to start learning, it depends what level you have already.

What is the most difficult subject in math? ›

Most Difficult Types of Mathematics. 1. Algebra: Algebra is a branch of mathematics that studies symbols and the rules that control how they are used.

Is a math major harder than engineering? ›

Mathematics is much more abstract than engineering and that is what makes it more difficult.

How many years does it take to get a PhD in math? ›

The normal time for completion of the Ph. D. program is five to six years. Requirement (1) normally includes basic courses in algebra, analysis, and topology.

Are maths degrees in demand UK? ›

According to reports by the Council for Mathematical Sciences, in the UK almost 2 million people are employed in jobs that require essential maths skills. Moreover, almost 50% of people employed in those jobs are earning £29,000 or more against the national average of 19%.

What is the highest paying job involving math? ›

D. to be considered for the lucrative career path that you want to pursue.
  • Physicist. Physicists obviously need to understand math to do their jobs effectively. ...
  • Mathematician. ...
  • Aerospace Engineer. ...
  • Economist. ...
  • Actuary. ...
  • Statistician. ...
  • Cryptographer. ...
  • Financial Analyst.

What career should I choose if I like math? ›

If you are a skilled mathematician, you can pursue several high-paying jobs across the world in many industries. Some popular career fields for mathematics majors include banking, academia, business, research, analytics, insurance and consulting.

What should I major in if I like math? ›

Typical Degree Paths: Bachelor's in mathematics, computer science, statistics or related field for entry-level positions; MBA or master's in mathematics or statistics often required for advancement; PhD required for academic and research careers.

Are mathematicians employable? ›

There are some job titles below for you to see. They could all be filled by mathematicians. You may be surprised by this, but Mathematics is one of the most employable majors you can have.

What can I do with maths degree UK? ›

Maths degree jobs in the UK
  • Actuary. Being an Actuary means you have a logical brain as well as an aptitude for maths, with problem-solving being one of your main traits. ...
  • Statistician. ...
  • Operational Researcher. ...
  • Accountant. ...
  • Management Consultant. ...
  • Data Analyst. ...
  • Computer Scientist. ...
  • Commodity Trading Adviser.
11 Jan 2021

How much do maths graduates earn UK? ›

How much does a Maths graduate make in United Kingdom? The average maths graduate salary in the United Kingdom is £25,000 per year or £12.82 per hour. Entry level positions start at £22,500 per year while most experienced workers make up to £36,420 per year.

How long is a math degree? ›

A bachelor's degree in math runs for four years and includes 120 credits. Coursework varies, but programs typically offer fundamental training in the first two years.

How can I make a lot of money with a math degree? ›

Other Jobs for Math Majors
  1. Investment banker. Education Required: Bachelor's degree. ...
  2. Business consultant. Education Required: Bachelor's degree. ...
  3. Database administrator. Education Required: Bachelor's degree. ...
  4. Financial analyst. ...
  5. Market research analyst. ...
  6. Math professor. ...
  7. Mathematician/statistician. ...
  8. Software developer.
18 Jan 2021

Do math majors make good money? ›

What is the average salary for math majors? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for math professionals is $90,410 per year. Your specific salary will depend on factors like what industry you're working in and how much experience you have.

Which country is best for mathematics? ›

Top Ten Countries with the Highest Math Ranking:
  • United States — 45.8%
  • United Kingdom — 6.3%
  • Germany — 6%
  • France — 5.3%
  • Canada — 3.8%
  • Italy — 3.1%
  • Australia — 3.8%
  • Switzerland — 2.0%

What is the most difficult math class? ›

What is the Hardest Math Class in High School? In most cases, you'll find that AP Calculus BC or IB Math HL is the most difficult math course your school offers. Note that AP Calculus BC covers the material in AP Calculus AB but also continues the curriculum, addressing more challenging and advanced concepts.

What do pure mathematicians do? ›

Pure mathematics encompasses the study and research of theories and abstract mathematical concepts. It's an inquiry-based field where professionals often work in academics, research and development rather than practical areas.

Videos

1. What are the BEST Math Degrees?
(Shane Hummus)
2. 4 Reasons to NOT be a Math Major (Mathematics Major)
(BriTheMathGuy)
3. The HIGHEST Paying MATH Degrees!
(Shane Hummus)
4. Careers You Can Have With a Mathematics Degree
(Zc Culture)
5. mathematics degree jobs || mathematics degree worth it || mathematics degree after engineering
(Beyond Edu)
6. The math you actually need to know for data science.
(Damsel in Data)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Margart Wisoky

Last Updated: 02/04/2023

Views: 6280

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Margart Wisoky

Birthday: 1993-05-13

Address: 2113 Abernathy Knoll, New Tamerafurt, CT 66893-2169

Phone: +25815234346805

Job: Central Developer

Hobby: Machining, Pottery, Rafting, Cosplaying, Jogging, Taekwondo, Scouting

Introduction: My name is Margart Wisoky, I am a gorgeous, shiny, successful, beautiful, adventurous, excited, pleasant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.