Math may get a bad rap for being one of the more “boring” school subjects, but when it comes to the real world, nothing could be further from reality. Those who choose math-related careers are solving practical problems for people across industries and are paving a path for new, exciting technologies. According to a 2009 National Center for Education Statistics Baccalaureate and Beyond Study, they’re also enjoying pretty high paying jobs–even early on in their careers–along with a high levels of career satisfaction compared to other jobs in STEM.
Do you have an analytical mind? Love to gobble up graphs and dive into data? Sounds like you were made for mathematics. Here are a few of your career options.
What You’ll Do: For this one you’ll need to be problem solver. Statisticians identify which data is most relevant to solve a specific problem, then design studies and surveys to collect it. From testing the function of consumer goods and the efficacy of medications, to assessing environmental effects of chemicals and potential impact of national defense systems, the answers you collect, analyze and present will determine next steps for government, hospitals and businesses.
What You’ll Earn: Statisticians make a median of $75,560 per year but depending on the job, your qualifications and location, can make up to $120,000 per year. Positions with the U.S. government tend to pay the highest when compared to state and local jobs or those in the healthcare field.
Degree You’ll Need: You can certainly find a job as a statistician with a Bachelor’s Degree but positions—especially the high-paying ones—will require a graduate degree. If you hope to work independently as a consultant, you’ll need a Master’s or Ph.D.
What You’ll Do: As companies grow in size and profitability, they have a lot of decisions to make. They need to decide how to invest money to maximize profit while keeping the business stable. Should they buy this company? Should they sell their shares in that company? Should they expand? But before forking up the cash, they need to assess the risk of such decisions. Actuaries use data to help companies do just that.
What You’ll Earn: You’re not doing too shabby with a career as an actuary, as the lowest 10 percent make around $55,000 per year, the highest 10 percent make $175,000 annually, and the median wage, as of 2010 statistics, is $93,680 per year.
Degree You’ll Need: You’ve got your work cut out for you, but as we mentioned, it can seriously pay off. A Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics or statistics is a great start, as is stocking your schedule with business, computer science and calculus courses. Then you’ll want to find an internship or a mentor that can help guide you through the training and certification process, which involves many successful rounds of testing depending on the level of certification you’re after. The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA) can help you determine that.
What You’ll Do: Accountants assist individuals and businesses with their finances, which includes maintaining financial records, and ensuring that bills are paid, invoices are sent and taxes are in order. You’ll also want to have solid communication skills for this one to ensure each client’s needs are met.
What You’ll Earn: According to 2012 data, accountants make anywhere from $39,000 to $111,000 per year with a median salary of $63,550 per year. Higher wages tend to come with positions such as Chief Financial Officers who manage finances of large companies while lower wages go to those in entry-level public accountant jobs.
Degree You’ll Need: A Bachelor’s degree will give you the foundation you’ll need for a successful career in accounting, but a Master’s won’t hurt to score you higher paying positions. You’ll likely also need your Certified Public Accounting (CPA) license, which you can get by taking the national exam and completing additional state requirements. Many states also require continuing education for CPAs as they go through their careers.
What You’ll Do: As with many other math-related careers, it’s about much more than numbers. Mathematicians use advanced numerical data to solve problems people and industries face everyday. There can be a bit of career cross-over here, as mathematicians may be perfect for positions such as statisticians and actuaries.
What You’ll Earn: Mathematicians make a median annual salary of over $100,000. Higher wage jobs come in the scientific research and development and manufacturing sectors, while education and state and local government jobs earn a median of $66,590 per year.
Degree You’ll Need: You’ll need a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree to work in government positions, while private sector jobs will require a Master’s or doctorate degree. Coursework will cover subjects like abstract algebra, calculus, computer science, engineering, physics, and statistics, and you can stand out from your peers by double majoring in two of these math-related areas.
What You’ll Do: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “economists study production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues.” In other words, they take a look at how the systems in society are functioning and assess their national and global economic impact. An economist may forecast economic trends so that governments can make budgeting decisions, or they may follow financial markets closely to guide a company’s next move.
What You’ll Earn: The median salary for an economist is $91,860 per year, however, state and local government positions earn a median annual salary in the low $60,000s and positions in finance and insurance may earn up to around $110,000 per year.
Degree You’ll Need: You can get a start in the field of economics with a Bachelor’s Degree but if you want high level jobs, you’re better off going for your Master’s or Ph.D. And the more solid your math and business background the better. Don’t overlook sometimes low-paying (perhaps even upaid!) internships that’ll beef up your data collection experience and analytical skills, making you a valuable asset in the job market.
Images source: BigStock and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
I love that you can do so much with one subject like math.
I think that being a accountant is the perfect Job for someone who love math. It is challenging as well as getting a good pay check 😉