Career Detail

“It's about the numbers. ”
Mathematicians use mathematical theory, computational techniques, algorithms, and the latest computer technology to solve economic, scientific, engineering, physics, and business problems.
The Job
Applied mathematicians working in industrial research and development may develop or enhance mathematical methods when solving a difficult problem. Some mathematicians, called cryptanalysts, analyze and decipher encryption systems-codes-designed to transmit military, political, financial, or law enforcement-related information.
Work Environment
Mathematicians usually work in comfortable offices. They often are part of interdisciplinary teams.
College Majors
bachelor's degree with a major in mathematics or 24 semester hours of mathematics courses.
Minimum Qualifications
A Ph.D. degree in mathematics usually is the minimum educational requirement for prospective mathematicians, except in the Federal Government.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Mathematicians also should have substantial knowledge of computer programming, because most complex mathematical computation and much mathematical modeling are done on a computer.
Quick Facts
  • A Ph.D. in mathematics usually is the minimum educational requirement, except in the Federal Government.
  • Master's degree and Ph.D. holders with a strong background in mathematics and a related field, such as computer science or engineering, should have better employment opportunities in related occupatio
  • Average employment growth is expected for mathematicians.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of mathematicians were $95,150 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $71,430 and $119,480. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $53,570, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $140,500. In March 2009, the average annual salary in the Federal Government was $107,051 for mathematicians; $107,015 for mathematical statisticians; and $101,645 for cryptanalysts.
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Job Growth Outlook
Hyper growth industry Hyper growth industry
Average growth Average growth
Declining job market Declining job market
No growth No growth
Dead end profession dead end profession

H.S. diploma H.S. diploma
BA Degree BA Degree
Masters Degree Masters Degree
Doctorate,MD,PHD,JD Doctorate,MD,PHD,JD

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