There are many job fields individuals with a degree in mathematics can pursue. Mathematicians can work for the federal government, while actuaries analyze risk and typically work in the insurance industry. Other career options include working as a statistician or engineer.
While many may think graduates with a bachelor's degree in mathematics are limited to teaching jobs, this degree can open up a variety of opportunities. Some graduates find entry-level mathematician or statistician work within the federal government, while other graduates work as actuaries or go on to pursue advanced degrees in mathematics or engineering.
|Education Requirements||Master's degree typically required||Bachelor's degree||Master's degree typically required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||21%||18%||34%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$111,110||$97,070||$80,110|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Many think that the only career path available to graduates with bachelor's degrees in mathematics is that of a secondary school teacher. While it is true that this degree can help qualify individuals for such a career, there are many other options available. Some of them include working for the federal government or seeking specialized engineering jobs. Three of the most common jobs that can obtained with a degree in mathematics are mathematician, statistician, and actuary.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a Ph.D. is the standard credential for mathematicians with one major exception: the federal government. College graduates can find jobs in the federal government with a bachelor's degree being the minimum educational requirement. The BLS reports that in 2015, the average annual salary for mathematicians employed by the executive branch of the federal government was $108,890.
Most actuaries work in the insurance industry due to the fact that their job is to analyze risk. They must be proficient with operating the complex modeling technology that is used to take scenarios and turn them into numbers. These numbers include the amount of risk involved in a situation and policy details such as premiums, rates and payments. Actuaries combine their knowledge of mathematics with financial capability.
Though full licensure is required in order to become a direct professional, many actuaries are hired without having taken an initial actuarial exam. The BLS reports that this is changing quickly, and increasing amounts of employers require this initial exam. The BLS listed the median annual earnings of actuaries at $97,070 as of May 2015.
Though a bachelor's degree in engineering is the standard credential for entry-level engineering jobs, graduates with bachelor's degrees in mathematics can sometimes qualify for these jobs. This is especially true of specialized engineering professions in high demand. For example, biomedical engineers will be in high demand throughout the decade, as will civil and environmental engineers.
Biomedical engineers work in health-related fields doing tasks such as developing prosthetics and medical instruments. The median annual salary of these professionals was stated to be $86,220 as of May 2015, according to the BLS. This specialization is expected to see faster-than-average employment growth of 23% from 2014-2024, per the BLS.
Civil engineers lay out public works projects and make decisions on how roads, airports, subways and sewage systems will operate. The BLS reported this profession's median annual wage as $82,220 in May 2015 and average 8% job growth for the field between 2014 and 2024.
Environmental engineers use their understanding of chemistry to find solutions to environmental issues. Such issues include water pollution, disposal of human wastes and recycling. Median annual wages were reported at $84,560 as per May 2015 BLS data, with employment projected to rise 12% over the 2014-2024 decade.
A degree in mathematics opens the door to many career options, all which tend to be high paying. Statisticians, for example, earn around $80,000, and mathematicians earn roughly $110,000. All of these fields are expected to experience much faster than average job growth, meaning that mathematics graduates can look forward to well-paid, abundant opportunities.