If you’ve always excelled in your math studies, a degree in the mathematical sciences could be a great option for you. The mathematical sciences include all branches and subfields of mathematics as well as other academic pursuits that are distinct from, though related to, mathematics. Whether you pursue a traditional math degree, a math education degree, a statistics degree or a degree in another of the mathematical sciences, you’ll find that there are numerous advantages to this academic and professional field. The skills you develop, jobs you become qualified for, booming job market and lucrative earning potential are all among the reasons to consider majoring in the mathematical sciences.
Develop Your Analytical Skills
While there are certain skills math majors develop that they might not use much outside the realm of mathematics, there are also crucial skills that have a breadth of career and life applications. The analytical and reasoning skills you cultivate as you study college-level math will help you in every aspect of your life, from the work you do in just about any career role to the personal decisions you make and opinions you form.
Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries certainly use analytical skills every day in their work. However, so do professionals in a wide range of other occupations. Lawyers use these skills to interpret facts and construct legal arguments. Psychologists use them to draw conclusions about research findings or their patients’ mental health conditions. Analytical skills help engineers finetune their designs, scientists carry out experiments, architects plan functional buildings and business professionals make sound business decisions. The range of job titles that incorporate the word “analyst” is so extensive and varied that it’s nearly endless, including everything from budget analyst to broadcast news analyst.
One math career that’s of interest is operations research analyst, a career with an $81,390 median wage, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. In this role, you would apply your analytical skills to the assess business activities and solve problems.
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Follow Your Passion
When students choose a math major, it isn’t because it seems easy, prestigious or marketable. Students of a math degree program really like math. No matter what it is that you find so appealing about the subject, your career with a math degree will allow you to keep finding fulfillment in your work year after year. Maybe you like the challenge of solving a tough equation, the way those who aren’t so fond of math like solving a puzzle or a mystery. Perhaps you find joy in sharing your love of math with others. You might have a deep desire to contribute to the academic field of mathematical science research, or you might like putting math calculations to work on real-world issues. The roles you can get with a degree in the mathematical sciences encompass all of these opportunities.
With a math degree, you can go on to discover new mathematical principles, teach math to children of any age or apply your math knowledge to fields as diverse as business and forensics.
Enjoy Plentiful Job Opportunities
The job outlook for the math occupations is highly positive. The BLS predicts much faster than average rates of job growth for roles such as mathematician, statistician, actuary and operations research analyst. The 30 percent growth rate for mathematicians will likely add only 900 new jobs, because the current size of the occupation is so small. Statistician is a somewhat larger occupation, so the similar 34 percent growth rate is expected to result in 12,600 new jobs. The expected rate of job growth for operations research analysts is just five percent above that of actuaries – 27 percent and 22 percent, respectively – but this larger occupation will add 31,300 new jobs compared to the 5,300 new opportunities expected for actuaries.
The expected amount of career growth for math teachers is less remarkable, with the BLS predicting just seven percent growth for elementary school teachers and eight percent growth for high school and middle school teachers.
Earn a High Salary
High median wages accompany occupations in the mathematical sciences. Mathematicians as a whole earn a median salary of $103,010, and those in the top-paying industries enjoy a median wage as high as $120,000, the BLS reported. Actuaries, too, have six-figure median salaries. Statisticians earn a median salary of $84,060, though the 13 percent who work for the federal government make a median wage of $103,630.
Math teachers make some of the lowest salaries of math-related careers, with median wages in the $57,000 to $59,000 range depending on their grade level, the BLS reported. However, mathematicians in college settings earn a median wage of just $56,320.