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  • A math major could focus on any number of specialty areas, from mathematical finance to data science.
  • As of May 2021, overall employment for mathematicians and statisticians is projected to grow 31% from 2021 to 2031, according to the BLS.
  • Statisticians are expected to be most in demand.

Whether you’re tallying the tip after a dinner out with friends, creating a monthly budget for household expenses, or putting tax information together for your accountant, math plays a huge role in our daily lives.

But some mathematical calculations are more behind the scenes—like the encryption that occurs when you enter sensitive information into the computer or the algorithms that bring your favorite animated characters to life. While the math that underpins such programs is not something most people are actively aware of, it's essential. If you love numbers and like diving deep into advanced algebra, calculus, and geometry, becoming a math major could be a great way to spend your undergraduate years.

Specializing in math

As a math major, you should be able to think critically and analytically—and be ready to hone your problem-solving skills creatively. Math majors not only need to understand complicated equations, but they also need to learn to translate and apply sophisticated mathematical concepts to real world situations.

Math departments tend to offer different specialties within this major. Those may include:

  • Math with a teaching focus
  • Mathematical finance
  • Mathematical biology
  • Data science
  • Applied mathematics

Depending on your area of specialty or career objectives, you may want to pursue a graduate degree.

Jobs for math majors

The career possibilities for math majors are wide. Your job title could be:

  • Actuary
  • Air traffic controller
  • Astronaut
  • Cartographer
  • Chemist
  • Climatologist
  • Computer scientist
  • Data analyst
  • Economist
  • Financial analyst
  • Graphic designer or animator
  • Mathematician
  • Physician
  • Software engineer
  • Teacher

There are math major jobs in most industries, from the private sector to academia to federal and state agencies.

Where you could end up living

As of May 2022, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) had statistics on the number of mathematicians in 11 states. The top five states with the highest employment levels for mathematicians were:

  • Virginia
  • California
  • Maryland
  • Washington
  • Utah

If you’re hoping to maximize your earnings, know that some states have a higher average wage than others. As of May 2022, the top five states based on mean annual wages for math-related jobs are:

  • Washington
  • New York
  • California
  • Virginia
  • Maryland

How much can a math major make?

Math major salaries tend to be on the higher end of the spectrum, although there is some variation. As of May 2021, the median annual wage for mathematicians was about $108,000, according to the BLS. The lowest 10% of earners made less than approximately $62,000, and the highest 10% brought in more than $169,500. The industries in which mathematicians made the most money as of May 2021 were:

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
  • The federal government
  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools

Job outlook for a math major

As of May 2021, the BLS projects that overall employment for mathematicians and statisticians will grow 31% from 2021 to 2031. That’s a faster clip than the average for all occupations. Over that decade, roughly 4,100 job openings are expected each year. Statisticians may have the most leverage, thanks in part to an increasing amount of digitally stored data. Businesses will likely need statisticians to analyze it all and help make informed decisions.

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Visit our Free Scholarship Search to find college scholarships for mathematics majors.

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