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How to Become a Mathematician

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Knowledge of mathematics opens doors to a broad range of careers from engineer to actuary to architect. Modern advances in mathematics and technology have led to whole new occupations for mathematicians, including biomathematics, cryptography and theoretical physics. Both salary and job outlook for mathematicians are good. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for mathematicians was $103,310 as of May 2013. Demand for mathematicians is projected to grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is considerably faster than the average of 11 percent projected for all occupations.

Understand the Job

Typically mathematicians work in an office or research environment. The BLS reports that 30 percent of professional mathematicians work in a governmental agency while 20 percent work in private scientific research facilities. Another 18 percent teach math in a state, local or private institution, while others work in management or manufacturing areas that solve problems and improve efficiency. Careercast.com rated mathematician as the best job of 2014 based on four factors: work environment, income, career outlook and stress.

Get the Credentials

Mathematicians usually need a master's degree, although some positions require a doctorate. Entry-level positions, often in government, require at least a bachelor's degree with courses toward a master's degree or significant work experience. You will also choose a career path between applied and theoretical mathematics and will take a variety of courses, such as advanced calculus, differential equations and linear algebra, even before entering your specialized field of study. You may enhance your mathematics resume by publishing in a recognized academic journal. High school math teachers are also required to hold a state teaching certification unless your state has alternative certification provisions for hiring teachers in high demand locations or subjects. College mathematics departments usually require that you hold either a doctorate or are a candidate in a doctoral program, although some schools hire those with a master's degree.

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