Math. Maths. Mathematics. No matter what you call it, the facts remain, you speak the language of mathematics. You love numbers. Rarely do they lie, and they always make sense. Your analytical and problem-solving skills never make you look fat. You want to spend your life alongside math; you’re best friends forever.
But what can you do with a major in math? Where can you, as a math major grad, find a job? Will it be a useless degree? Find out the answer to all your math major questions by reading on.
HOW USEFUL IS A MATH DEGREE?
We need math in our lives, and we definitely have a strong need for people who can make sense of all those numbers, formulas, and equations. As a major, math is exceptionally useful.There are many fields to head into once you’ve completed your degree.
Sure, many math majors become educators. And that’s perfect, as long as that’s the path you’re looking forward to heading down. But there are so many other industries out there, just waiting to add a qualified math major to their employee equation.
So, if you’re questioning whether or not you should major in math, the answer is yes. On a whole, careers that involve math are going to experience a higher than average employment growth, with over 50K new jobs becoming available through 2026. As far as STEM careers go, math majors are among the highest earners, with the median salary being in the six figures.
IS MAJORING IN MATH HARD?
Math may be one of the oldest sciences, but it is in a constant state of evolution. Discoveries are being made every day.
Most people are equipped with the capability to figure out the basic math functions such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even division. It’s when things get more complicated that brains shut off and deer-in-headlight looks ensue.
If you love math, and you get it, then its difficulties won’t deter you. It’s only if your brain isn’t wired for math to come easily that you may find it’s hard.
Mathematicians comes in two sizes: theoretical (or pure) and applied.
- Theoretical mathematicians use research to expand on math theories and principles.
- Applied mathematicians use math theories to solve difficulties within companies.
If you know that you want to major in math, you’ll enter the math program at your college of choice. Many colleges recommend math-based courses specific to the career direction you take. One thing is certain, if you know you want to go into math, then you need to take action while you’re still in high school. Take AP maths and sciences and maintain a high GPA.
College math majors will take a variety of the following math courses, interspersed with their other core classes:
- Multiple levels of Calculus
- Math lab
- Probability and statistics
- Multiple levels of Algebra
- Multiple levels of Geometry
- History of mathematics
- Discrete mathematics and proofs
- Cryptology and number theory
- Intro to computational algebraic geometry
- Complex analysis
- Numerical methods
- Differential equations
Every college has its own list of courses required for graduation, so check in with your academic advisor to help create your semester schedules.
Most math programs will expect you to complete a capstone as a graduation requirement. A capstone is a presentation based on the culmination of your learnings. It could be a PowerPoint presentation or a thesis; your professors will hand out the rubrik laying out the expectations.
WHAT EVERY MATH MAJOR SHOULD KNOW
Math majors have a long list of objectives. The expectation is that they graduate their programs knowing certain things such as:
- Show where the quadratic formula comes from, how it was derived, and many other important tidbits of information regarding this ancient formula
- Easily prove the Pythagorean Theorem
- Also easily be able to obliterate the Pythagorean Theorem by proving the square root of two is “irrational”
- Show the steps behind Newton’s method
- Prove Euler’s formula regarding convex polyhedrons
- Understand where the concept of zero came from and its purpose
- Know the importance of “n”
- Be able to come up with a formula for the distance from a point to a plane
- Practical uses of math such as computer programming
- The ability to communicate via verbal and written word
- Easily able to teach yourself unfamiliar math concepts
- Be social media-savvy
- An understanding of the various branches of mathematics
- Decent networking skills
- Outstanding problem-solving skills
SOME CAREERS AVAILABLE TO MATH MAJORS
Not all math majors are considered mathematicians. Your actual job title will be dependent on which career you’re in. Many of the following careers begin as math majors, but then turn into a specialty. While many math majors go into teaching on all levels of the educational system, here are some other career options to consider.
Statistician: In order to help businesses solve their problems, statisticians use data analysis and statistical techniques. They may help determine the aerodynamics of a car part, or how effective a medication will be. Information is determined through processes such as experiments, surveys, opinion polls, and other forms of data collection.
- Hiring managers look for a master’s degree in statistics or mathematics.
- A computer programming background may prove beneficial.
- Staticians earn a median annual salary of $106K, with the top 10 percent making more than $160K.
- Through 2026, 12,600 new positions are expected to open, with the employment growth being 34 percent.
Actuary: By using math, stats, and financial theory, actuaries are able to determine the financial cost of risks and uncertainties within businesses.
- A bachelor’s degree in math, actuary science, statistics, or related analytical fields is required.
- Certification through Casualty Actuarial Society or the Society of Actuaries is required to work in the field.
- It takes 4-7 years of work experience to earn the first level of certification, and then an additional 2-3 years for a fellowship certification.
- Actuaries earn a median salary of $100K, with the top tier making over $186K.
- There is an estimated 5,300 new positions expected to open through 2026.
Economist: Broadly, economists study specialized areas and answer questions related to them. More narrowly, they focus on the production and distribution of goods, resources, and services. They research trends, collect data, and analyze economic issues on the daily.
- Most economists have a master’s degree. A Ph.D. may also be required.
- Internships are available through most programs and will get you valuable experience.
- The median annual salary for economists is $101K, with the top 10 percent earning over $181K.
- Average employment growth is expected, with 1,300 new positions opening through 2026.
Financial Planner: Clients use financial planners to advise them on all types of investments and financial management, from college savings to mortgages to retirement and everything in between.
- A bachelor’s degree in math, finance, economics, or a related field is required by most hiring managers.
- Financial planners must be licensed and certified through the North American Securities Administrators Association.
- The median salary of a financial planner is more than $90K. The top 10 percent earn more than $208K per year.
- There will be more than 40K new jobs available to financial planners through 2026.
Accountant: In order to help companies and individual people properly function financially, accountants prepare and examine their clients’ financial records to make sure everything is accurate so taxes can be filed.
- You’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in math, accounting, or a related field.
- Some hiring managers will only look at someone with a master’s degree in accounting or business administration.
- If you’re filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, then by law, you must be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
- Continuing education is required in order to keep up your CPA licensing.
- The median annual salary for accountants is $68K, and the top 10 percent earn more than $120K.
- Average employment growth is expected, with over 139K new jobs opening up through 2026.
Market Research Analyst: Market research analysts look into the potential sales of products and services, by studying the conditions of the current market. They seek to understand what consumers want, and how much companies should sell those things for.
- Get a bachelor’s degree in math, statistics, market research, or computer science.
- Some employers prefer that new hires have a master’s degree in market research.
- Voluntary certifications are available and highly recommended.
- The median annual salary for market research analysts is more than $62K, with the top 10 percent earning more than $121K.
- There are over 138K new job openings for market research analysts predicted through 2026.
Mathematical Technician: You’ll work in scientific research or with engineering projects. Your job will be to solve mathematical equations that help determine the path of certain projects. Or, you can work in education as a math teacher with the proper certifications.
- You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in maths.
- Although not common, some employers will want you to have a master’s degree in math as well.
- The median annual salary of math technicians is almost $50K, with the top 10 percent earning over $100K.
- There is predicted to be over 500 new math technician positions opening through 2026.
With a degree in math, you can’t even add up all the industries you’re needed in. Because of all the discipline, mental acuity, and sharp thinking skills that are involved, having your math degree is a formula for success.