One of the benefits of studying mathematics is the variety of career paths it provides. Mathematics provides careers as diverse as teaching, computer science, actuary, and finance. CareerCast ranked mathematician as best job for 2014 based on four factors: environment, income, outlook, and stress. Statistician was ranked third and actuary was ranked fourth. A study by PayScale shows that the top 15 highest-earning college degrees have a common element: mathematics.
The MAA publishes two books (She Does Math and 101 Careers in Mathematics), one brochure (We Do Math!), and the MAA Online Career Profiles webpage. Each features accounts by mathematicians of what they do in a variety of fields.
Want to know more? Learn more about careers in mathematics, get tips on how to succeed in math, and read about math in real life at this site developed by math majors at Brigham Young University: When Will I Use Math?
Ready to look for a job? MAA Math Classifieds is available to help you find a career in the diverse field of mathematics. We invite you to explore this site to begin your job search.
Faculty interested in helping math students find careers outside of academia might be interested in applying for our Preparing for Industrial Careers in the Mathematical Sciences (PIC Math) program.
Some Popular Career Choices:
The teaching of mathematics at the K-12 level is a high-demand field and the need is expected to grow in the future. The place to go for explicit career information is the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics homepage.
Actuarial science takes mathematics and statistics and applies them to finance and insurance. Actuarial science includes a number of interrelating disciplines, including probability and statistics, finance, and economics. Check out Be An Actuary.
Computer science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems. Mathematicians, with their training in logical and precise thinking, are highly prized in this field. See the student section of the Association for Computing Machinery for career advice.
Operations research is an interdisciplinary branch of mathematics which uses mathematical methods to arrive at optimal decisions to problems in maximizing or minimizing things like costs or profits. The eventual intention behind using Operations Research is to elicit a best possible solution to a problem mathematically, which improves or optimizes the performance of the system. The group INFORMS is the world's largest society devoted to operations research/management science.
Mathematical biology or biomathematics is an interdisciplinary field of study. It models natural and biological processes using mathematical techniques and tools. Results have been applied to areas such as cellular neurobiology, epidemic modelling, and population genetics. The education page of the Society for Mathematical Biology links to schools offering biomath degrees along with a description of the coursework needed.
Cryptography is the practice and study of hiding information. Cryptography is considered to be a branch of both mathematics and computer science. Not just for spies anymore, cryptography applications include the security of ATM cards and computer passwords.
Finance is a field that studies and addresses the ways in which individuals, businesses, and organizations raise, allocate, and use monetary resources over time, taking into account the risks entailed in their projects. Mathematicians can build models to help explain and predict the behavior of financial markets. Several schools offer Master's degrees in Financial Mathematics. A quick web search will take you to their web pages.
More information on math careers can be found at the AMS Early Careers page, the Cool Math page, and Duke University's Why Major in Math?.