Majoring in mathematics in college doesn’t mean you are doomed to work in a field with little variety. While mathematician is an excellent career for many reasons, it is far from the only, or even the most popular, career path among graduates of a math degree program. Earning a bachelor’s degree in math will open up a diverse set of job possibilities to you. Math-related jobs don’t end with mathematician and statistician, instead including options such as actuary and operations research analyst. There are plenty of business jobs you could get started in with your mathematics background. Some students even use an undergraduate degree in math to launch careers in law or medicine. One of the benefits of majoring in mathematics is that, though still one of the prized STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and regarded as a demanding field of study, math is also a broad and versatile subject.
Actuary and Operations Research Analyst
If you’re happy staying in the category of a math career, job options like actuary and operations research analyst will award a high salary and build off of the mathematical and statistical knowledge you already have. Actuaries use their math knowledge – including coursework in advanced calculus, linear algebra, financial mathematics and probability and statistics – to calculate the financial impact of risk on insurance companies and financial firms. The median wage for actuaries is $101,560, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.
Operations research analysts apply math skills to the analysis of all facets of a company’s activities to help the organization solve operational problems and run more productively. In this math-related role, you will use your knowledge of calculus, linear algebra and statistics to run advanced statistical analysis software that computes the data. Operations research analysts make a median salary of $81,390, the BLS reported.
For both careers, the top employing industries are finance and insurance; professional, scientific and technical services industry; and management of companies and enterprises. Actuary jobs are more concentrated, with 70 percent working in finance and insurance.
Jobs in Business
If you want to be a business professional, your math degree puts you in a great starting position. work in the finance industry as a financial analyst or, if you crave more interpersonal interaction and the freedom to be your own boss, as a personal financial advisor. Both of these financial specialist roles require workers to use their mathematics and statistical analysis skills to evaluate financial investment opportunities, though personal financial advisors devote more time to managing client relationships and coming up with customized financial plans to meet their clients’ needs.
Perhaps you want to get into the sales and marketing aspect of business. While many people think of creativity and pure sales skills as the most important attributes for these roles, the occupation of market research analyst focuses on understanding the numerical side of sales and marketing. You would use your math knowledge, and particularly the coursework you took in statistics, to analyze sales and market trends and to determine the return on investment for your company’s marketing campaigns.
You might not think that arguing cases in a courtroom has much to do with the complex formulas of advanced mathematics. However, majoring in math can prepare you for a career as a lawyer. Studying mathematics in college teaches you much more than how to manipulate numbers and solve abstract equations. Math majors develop analytical skills that they can apply to qualitative as well as quantitative data. Their studies of mathematical concepts and proofs help them cultivate strong skills in critical thinking, logic and reasoning.
All of these broad skills attained while studying mathematics are just as valuable for attorneys as they are for mathematicians. You might not use calculus on a daily basis, but the same analytical mindset that helps you perform statistical analyses as a student can help you evaluate information about a legal matter. You use the same kind of reasoning skills to construct a legal argument as you would to write a mathematical proof. Mathematics degree programs have a reputation for being difficult, so law schools who tend to view math majors as candidates who are up to the rigorous demands of the Juris Doctor curriculum, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The American Bar Association does not recommend any one undergraduate major for aspiring attorneys, but it does list mathematics as one of many options prospective law school students should consider when pursuing their bachelor’s degree.
Just as law schools approve of a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, so do medical schools. This isn’t because medical schools require students to have a great deal of undergraduate mathematics coursework under their belts, as most medical schools require simply a calculus course and a statistics course. Again, it is the ability of a mathematics curriculum to develop students’ analytical and reasoning skills, coupled with the science-based nature of a math degree program, that makes the degree appealing to Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) programs.
In their work, doctors use math to prescribe the correct dosage of medications as well as to interpret the results of diagnostic tests.