Mathematics Careers

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Rewarding mathematics jobs are available in an array of companies and organizations. A postsecondary education in mathematics provides a variety of career paths. Most math careers go far beyond just crunching numbers, they're challenging, interesting and provide a good salary.

Some careers focus on mathematical research and education, whereas others use mathematics and its applications to build and improve work in finance, sciences, manufacturing, business, engineering and communications. Some mathematicians work in fields such as climate study, astronomy and space exploration, national security, medicine, animated films and robotics.

The Federal Government, mainly in the U.S. Department of Defense, employs many mathematicians. Some working for the Federal Government work for the National Institute of Standards and Technology or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

TheBestSchools provides important information about math careers such as salary, employment growth, training, education and much more.

After you read through this page on Mathematics Careers keep browsing our website's extensive career guide for more information on job options, education requirements and salaries.

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Actuaries

Education and Certification Actuaries Need

People interested in an actuarial career typically need at least a Bachelor of Mathematics, Bachelor of Statistics, Bachelor of Business, or Bachelor of Actuarial Science degree. Many actuarial students obtain an internship while in school.

Actuaries must pass multiple exams to become certified actuarial professionals; many employers expect actuaries to have passed at least one of these exams prior to graduating with their bachelor degree.

The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA) both offer two levels of certification: associate and fellowship

Actuaries working in the property and casualty field become certified through the CAS, while actuaries working in the life insurance, health insurance, retirement benefits, investments, and finance receive certification through the SOA. Certification through either society takes four to six years. It generally takes actuaries two to three years to continue on and earn fellowship status.

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What They Do

Although no one can predict the future with one hundred percent accuracy, actuaries are expected to come as close as possible. Using mathematics, statistics, and financial theory, actuaries determine the risk of certain events happening in the future, and then help businesses and clients create policies addressing these events with the intention of minimizing cost.

An actuary career includes utilizing statistical data and other available information to estimate economic cost of inevitable events such as death, sickness, accidents, and natural disaster. Using their estimations, actuaries develop, test, and administer things such as insurance policies, investments, and pension plans with the intention of minimizing risk and maximizing profitability for insurance companies.

Actuaries use database software for compiling information and advanced statistics and modeling software when forecasting the cost and probability of events. Actuaries may specialize in specific types of insurance or fields such as health insurance, life insurance, property and casualty insurance, pension, retirement benefits actuaries, or consulting.

See also: What can I do with a Mathematics degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Career advancement for actuaries depends on the number of actuarial exams passed, experience, and job performance. It's possible for actuaries with a large knowledge base of risk management to obtain an executive position, such as chief risk officer or chief financial officer.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $101,560
2016 number of jobs 23,600
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 22%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $59,950
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $184,770

 

Mathematicians

Education and Certifications Mathematicians Need

An entry-level position in a mathematician career requires at least a Bachelor of Mathematics or significant coursework in mathematics. Employers prefer candidates who double majored in mathematics and a related field such as computer science, engineering, or physical science.

In the private industry, mathematicians typically need a minimum of a Master of Applied Mathematics or Master of Theoretical Mathematics.

Mathematicians don't need specific certifications or licenses.

Find the best school for you:
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What They Do

If you were one of those kids in school who got funny looks from friends for thinking math was fun, there's good news for you now – you can get paid to do math as a mathematician. Mathematicians develop new mathematical principles, decipher relationships between existing principles, and attempt to resolve real-world problems through high-level mathematics and technology.

Mathematicians demonstrate their solutions to real-world problems in fields such as business, government, engineering, and the sciences through creating models for explanations.

An applied mathematician uses theories and techniques to solve practical problems. A theoretical mathematician aims to resolve unexplained issues.

See also: What can I do with a Mathematics degree?

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $84,760
2016 number of jobs 40,300
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 33%
Entry-level education requirements Master's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $52,860
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $161,900

 

Operations Research Analysts

Education and Certifications Operations Research Analysts Need

An operations research analyst career begins with a minimum of a Bachelor of Operations Research degree, a Bachelor of Management Science degree, a Bachelor in Mathematical Sciences or a bachelor's degree in a related field such as engineering, physics, mathematics, or computer science.

Most operations research analyst jobs beyond an entry-level job require a master's degree such as a Master's degree in Operations Research or a Master's degree in Management Science.

Operations research analysts don't need specific licenses or certification, however taking continuing education courses throughout their career helps them keep up with technology advances.

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What They Do

In some ways, operations research analysts have similar responsibility as parents; they are responsible for aiding organizations in solving problems and learning to make better decisions.

In order to identify business problems, such as production, logistics, or sales issues, operations research analysts must collect large amounts of information and develop a system of organization; this helps them identify any problems, analyze issues through statistical analysis, simulation, and/or optimization, and determine the best method to fix a problem.

When considering possible solutions for problems, analysts must determine what the effects of each change they suggest may have on the overall business operation. This career includes obtaining input from employees involved in any identified business problems.

Once the analyzing of an issue is complete, operations research analysts advise managers on how to proceed in resolving the problem. Operational research analysts generally write their findings and recommendations down in the form of a report or memo.

See also: What can I do with a Mathematics degree?

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $81,390
2016 number of jobs 114,000
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 27%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $45,270
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $134,470

 

Statisticians

Education and Certifications Statisticians Need

A statistician career typically begins with a Master of Statistics, Master of Mathematics, or Master of Survey Methodology degree. Occasionally, a statistician may obtain an entry-level position with a bachelor degree, but a master's degree is increasingly the standard. Research and academic statistician jobs usually require a Ph.D.

No specific certification or license is required for statisticians.

Find the best school for you:
The 5 Best Online Bachelor in Mathematics Degree Programs
The 50 Best Mathematics Programs in the World Today

What They Do

There is a rare breed of people who love both math and analyzing data; these individuals make excellent statisticians. Statisticians analyze and interpret data by using a variety of mathematical techniques. Their interpretations are used to draw conclusions and guide decisions for businesses, government, and other organizations.

Statisticians are responsible for first identifying a problem, determining what data are needed to address the problem, and then figuring out how to collect the needed data. Statisticians must also identify what group or sampling of people must be tapped for a census or poll.

If data is collected via surveys, experiments, or opinion polls, statisticians create, distribute, and collect them, or train someone else to do so. They also further test the data to determine its reliability and validity.

Statisticians study the results, identify trends and relationships, and record their conclusions, analysis, and recommendations. A statistician career often includes using specific statistical software to analyze data.

Statisticians are utilized in a variety of fields, such as education, marketing, psychology, sports, government, health, and manufacturing.

See also: What can I do with a Mathematics degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Statisticians may advance in their career through obtaining further education, such as a master degree or Ph.D., and then designing their own work. Some statisticians develop new statistical methods, while some statisticians become independent consultants.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $84,760
2016 number of jobs 40,300
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 33%
Entry-level education requirements Master's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $50,660
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $133,270

* Salary, number of jobs and employment growth provided by
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