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Career Information for a Degree in General Mathematics

As much as many people wish that calculators would simply do all their math for them, knowledge of mathematics is a requisite for many jobs in the modern economy. A degree in general mathematics can prepare students to work as actuaries, statisticians, operations research analysts and more. Read about it here.

Career Options for a Degree in General Mathematics

For students wishing to stop at the bachelor's degree level, there are career options available. For example, if you wish to work for the federal government, you might could work as a statistician with a bachelor's degree. But, in many careers, employers prefer their professionals to have a master's or doctoral degree in a mathematics field.

ActuaryStatisticianOperations Research Analyst
Educational LevelPost-graduate certificationBachelor's for some industries; master's for mostBachelor's for entry-level; master's or doctoral degrees preferred
Job DutiesRisk assessment and managementUse numerical data to predict information and trendsImprove business functions with management science, analysis and research
Median Annual Salary (2015)$97,070$80,110$78,630
Job Outlook (2014-2024)18% growth34% growth30% growth

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Actuaries

Actuaries use their mathematics skills to conduct risk assessments and risk management for business concerns. Most actuarial work is done within the insurance industry, although banks and credit institutions also use actuaries to determine borrower creditworthiness and the relative profitability of proposed ventures. The recent economic downturns have made risk assessment very important to both the insurance and the lending industries.

Applicants must pass a difficult exam in order to become certified as actuaries, but job prospects are good, with a much faster-than-average growth of 18% between 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov. The BLS also reports that the median annual income in this profession was $97,070 in 2015.

Statisticians

Statisticians are in the business of extrapolating information and trends from numerical data. They take samples from experiments and surveys and determine such things as the likely number of families viewing a particular television show at a given time, the probability that a product will fail under certain circumstances or the amount of pedestrian traffic that passes a busy shopping corner each day.

Many statistician jobs require a master's degree in mathematics or statistics, but the federal government only requires a bachelor's degree for most jobs within its agencies and services. According to the BLS, statisticians and related workers will enjoy good job prospects between 2014-2024, with an expected job growth of 34%. In 2015, statisticians earned a median income of $80,110.

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts apply management science, analytical techniques and research results to help management professionals make better business decisions and streamline business functions. The discipline was developed by the military establishment and is now widely used in industry and commerce. Entry-level opportunities may be available with a bachelor's degree, but many employers prefer their analysts to have upper-level degrees.

Some operations research analysts specialize in areas such as industrial manufacturing or data management, examining the ways that production facilities manufacture goods or how companies store and manage information. They determine ways to increase the efficiency of these processes. Workers in this and similar fields should have good opportunities between 2014-2024 with a 30% employment increase, according to the BLS. The median annual salary in 2015 was $78,630.

Degree Program in General Mathematics: An Overview

A degree program in general mathematics develops students' abilities in algebra, calculus, statistics, differential equations and other subjects. Students develop and complete geometric proofs, memorize countless formulas and refine their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Although some general mathematics majors go on to pursue graduate studies and careers as mathematicians, many others use their mathematical skills to begin careers in related professions, not all of which require education beyond the bachelor's degree.

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