The answers to the question, “If I major in math, what kind of job can I get?” are many and varied. "Teacher" might be the response most would expect to hear, but there are scores more career options. The Mathematical Association of America describes some careers in which math is used “on a daily basis, while others rely on the general problem solving skills acquired in their mathematics courses.” A book titled “Great Jobs for Math Majors” breaks down math “career paths” into four categories.
Mathematics majors may choose to move into academia and teaching and share their love of math with others. The Mathematical Association of America says in 2010, “the teaching of mathematics at the K-12 level is a high-demand field, and the need is expected to grow in the future.” Teaching at the college level requires an advanced degree, such as a doctorate in mathematics, mathematics education or related field.
Actuaries, mathematicians, statisticians and operations analysts all use math as a “primary skill,” according to “Great Jobs for Math Majors.” For example, the math association says, “actuarial science takes mathematics and statistics and applies them to finance and insurance.” The association says math skills are highly valued in the field of computer science.
Marketing, research and financial analysts all use math skills, logic and reasoning, according to “Great Jobs for Math Majors.” The math association also says math majors can choose a career in operations research, which is “interdisciplinary branch of mathematics which uses mathematical methods to arrive at optimal decisions to problems in maximizing or minimizing things like costs or profits.” Many schools offer advanced degrees in financial mathematics.
Buyers, sales representative and purchasing agents also use math in their day-to-day business, according to “Great Jobs for Math Majors.” Math can also apply to accountants, marketing and retail jobs.
Other career options available to math majors include engineering, law enforcement, law, medicine, biomathematics, science and even cryptology, according to the Mathematical Association of America and Westfield State College.
According to Careercast.com, the 10 best jobs for 2010 include many jobs using mathematical sciences: actuary, ranked first; mathematician, ranked sixth; and statistician, ranked eighth.
April is Mathematics Awareness Month, which began in 1986 as Mathematics Awareness Week with a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan, who said: “Despite the increasing importance of mathematics to the progress of our economy and society, enrollment in mathematics programs has been declining at all levels of the American educational system. Yet the application of mathematics is indispensable in such diverse fields as medicine, computer sciences, space exploration, the skilled trades, business, defense and government.”