High-Paying Jobs for Math Majors

| TBS Staff

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Earning a mathematics degree helps students build the skills they need to excel in roles such as mathematician, statistician, and actuary.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that mathematicians make more than $100,000 per year, on average, which is much higher than the national average for all occupations. The BLS also projects 30% job growth for mathematicians and statisticians through 2028.

Most math careers require at least a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degrees in math generally cover topics like calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations and emphasize skills like problem-solving and analytics.

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Actuary ranks among the best-paying math careers. Actuaries use math and statistics to analyze the cost of risk. They create estimates of the cost of events like natural disasters, deaths, and accidents. Using that data, actuaries may design and test insurance policies, pension plans, or business strategies to minimize an organization's risk. Actuaries must explain their calculations using tables and reports that communicate proposals to executives.

Most actuaries hold a bachelor's degree, often in a major like mathematics or statistics. Certified actuaries need an academic background in economics, applied statistics, and corporate finance. Prospective actuaries can pursue certification through the Casualty Actuarial Society or the Society of Actuaries. They must meet minimum education requirements and pass examinations to earn certification.

Alternate Job Titles

  • Actuarial Associate
  • Actuarial Mathematician
  • Health Actuary
  • Insurance Actuary
  • Pricing Actuary
  • Product Development Actuary

Personal Characteristics

Actuaries need analytical abilities to identify patterns, communication skills to explain technical concepts, and math skills to quantify risk. They also need problem-solving skills to develop ways to manage risk.

Median Annual Salary


College Professor

A college professor is one of the highest-paying careers in mathematics. Math professors teach undergraduate and graduate students in fields like calculus, statistics, number theory, and differential equations. They write syllabi, present material in lectures, design tests and assignments, and assess student learning through exams.

In addition to teaching classes, math professors often conduct research in their specialty. Many tenure-track professors need an active publishing record, including scholarly articles in academic journals. Math professors also supervise undergraduate and graduate students, serve on academic committees, and attend professional conferences.

The education requirements for college professors exceed most other math careers. Most colleges and universities require tenure-track professors to hold a doctorate. Earning a Ph.D. in math takes several years, which incorporates graduate-level coursework, examinations, and a dissertation.

Alternate Job Titles

  • Postsecondary Teacher
  • Mathematics Professor
  • Math Professor

Personal Characteristics

College professors need public speaking and writing skills to present material and write scholarly articles. They also use critical thinking skills to conduct research and design experiments. Interpersonal skills help math professors interact with colleagues and staff.

Median Annual Salary


Data Scientist

The growing field of data science offers many high-paying jobs for math majors. Data scientists use data to solve problems for businesses. They rely on analytical techniques like text and algorithm analysis to pull important information from large datasets.

Data scientists also devise more efficient ways to sort and manage data. Some data scientists create algorithms that detect patterns in datasets. The job requires strong programming skills since data scientists often use a variety of programming languages.

Many data science jobs require a master's degree in data science, analytics, or a related field. Some employers, including the federal government, hire candidates with a bachelor's degree, such as a mathematics degree. A background in mathematics and statistics helps data scientists succeed.

Alternate Job Titles

  • Computational Theory Scientist
  • Computer Scientist
  • Control System Computer Scientist
  • Programming Methodology and Languages Researcher

Personal Characteristics

Data scientists need analytical and math skills to analyze numerical information and draw conclusions. Logical thinking and a detail oriented outlook help data scientists design algorithms, while ingenuity and problem-solving skills allow data scientists to creatively solve problems.

Median Annual Salary



Mathematician ranks as one of the best-paying math degree jobs. Mathematicians apply mathematical techniques to solve business problems. They also develop new mathematical rules and concepts, including mathematical models that analyze data to solve real-world problems.

Most mathematicians work for the federal government, in higher education, or in research and development. Depending on their specialty, mathematicians may work as geometricians, algebraists, or cryptographers. In these roles, mathematicians may conduct data analyses, develop algorithms that encrypt data, and create new mathematical theories.

A mathematics degree prepares graduates for mathematician jobs. The federal government hires mathematicians with a bachelor's degree, but in the private sector, mathematicians typically need a master's degree or higher. Mathematicians with a doctorate can work as professors. Prospective mathematicians benefit from coursework in computer science, statistics, engineering, and physics.

Alternate Job Titles

  • Algebraist
  • Cipher Expert
  • Cryptanalyst
  • Cryptographer
  • Cryptographic Vulnerability Analyst
  • Geometrician

Personal Characteristics

Mathematicians need strong analytical and problem-solving skills to analyze data and create new mathematical theorems. Mathematicians also need communication skills to explain their work.

Median Annual Salary


Operations Research Analyst

Operations research analysts earn among the highest salaries for mathematics careers. These professionals help businesses identify and solve organizational problems. Their duties include collecting information from sources like databases and customer feedback. They then examine this data using statistical analysis and predictive modeling to understand business problems and develop solutions, presenting their conclusions to managers and executives.

A bachelor's degree represents the entry-level education requirement for operations research analyst jobs, though some employers prefer to hire candidates with a master's degree. A math degree gives graduates the statistical and mathematical tools they need to succeed in operations research analyst positions.

Alternate Job Titles

  • Operations Analyst
  • Procedure Analyst
  • Process Analyst

Personal Characteristics

Operations research analysts need analytical skills to examine and interpret data. They also rely on strong math and problem-solving skills to interpret numerical information and devise solutions. Additionally, writing abilities help operations research analysts explain their findings and recommendations.

Median Annual Salary



Statistician ranks as one of the best-paid math degree jobs. Statisticians use statistical techniques to analyze data in fields like business, healthcare, and engineering. Through their analyses, statisticians help businesses and organizations solve problems.

Statisticians determine what data to collect before designing surveys, questionnaires, and opinion polls to collect that data. For example, statisticians who work for the government may create surveys to track unemployment rates or conduct the census. Statisticians rely on computer programs to analyze data and identify database trends. After analyzing data, statisticians draw conclusions from the data and present their findings to decision-makers.

Most statistician jobs require a master's degree, though some employers hire candidates with a bachelor's degree. Many statisticians earn an undergraduate degree in mathematics, which incorporates classes in statistics, linear algebra, and probability.

Alternate Job Titles

  • Analytical Statistician
  • Applied Statistician
  • Biometrician
  • Biostatistician
  • Environmental Statistician
  • Mathematical Statistician
  • Research Biostatistician
  • Sampling Expert
  • Statistical Analyst
  • Statistical Reporting Analyst
  • Survey Statistician
  • Time Study Statistician

Personal Characteristics

Statisticians need math skills to create models and analyze numerical data. They also need communication and problem-solving abilities to devise solutions to problems and communicate solutions to non-mathematicians.

Median Annual Salary


Where Can You Work with a Math Degree?

Math specialists play a critical role in the workforce, especially in scientific research and development for healthcare, engineering, and the federal government. Attracting experts to crunch numbers, analyze statistics, and interpret data, many math careers require a master's degree, though some employers accept graduates with a bachelor's degree. Most employers also prefer candidates with computer programming skills.

The following list represents some of the top employers of math majors across multiple fields.

  • Aerospace and transportation equipment manufacturers
  • Chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • Communications service providers
  • Computer service and software firms
  • Consulting firms
  • Electronics and computer manufacturers
  • Energy systems firms
  • Engineering research organizations
  • Federally funded contractors
  • Financial service and investment firms
  • International government agencies
  • Medical device companies
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Producers of petroleum and petroleum products
  • University-based research organizations
  • U.S. government agencies
  • U.S. government labs and research offices

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of math degrees?

Many schools offer math degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduates can pursue a traditional program, like a bachelor of science in math, or an integrated program, such as a bachelor of math. Graduate students can pursue an MS or Ph.D. in theoretical or applied mathematics.

What is a math degree called?

Undergraduates can pursue a BS and/or BA in mathematics or statistics. At the graduate level, schools commonly offer an MS and/or Ph.D. in theoretical or applied mathematics.

How long does it take to get a degree in mathematics?

Most BA and BS in math degrees take four years to complete, though some online programs offer accelerated timelines. Master's degrees typically take two years to complete. The length of doctoral programs varies by school.

Is a math degree a BA or a BS?

Students may choose between a BA or BS in mathematics, depending on whether the student desires a more scientific foundation (BS) or a curriculum rooted in the humanities (BA).

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