Career Clusters: STEM

What you need to know


Mathematicians analyze data and apply theories and techniques, such as mathematical modeling, to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields.

What is this career like?

Many mathematicians work in the federal government and in private science and engineering research companies. They may work on teams with engineers, scientists, and other professionals.

Some of the things a mathematician might do:

  • Develop new mathematical rules, theories, and concepts in areas such as algebra and geometry
  • Decide what data are needed to answer specific questions or problems
  • Apply mathematical theories and techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering, the sciences, and other fields
  • Design surveys, experiments, or opinion polls to collect data
  • Develop mathematical models to analyze data
  • Interpret data and report conclusions drawn from their analyses
  • Use data analysis to support and improve business decisions
What skills are needed?
  • Analytical skills: Mathematicians use mathematical techniques and models to analyze large amounts of data. They must determine the appropriate software packages and understand computer programming languages to design and develop new techniques and models. They must also be precise and accurate in their analysis.
  • Communication skills: Mathematicians must interact with, and propose solutions to, people who may not have extensive knowledge of mathematics.
  • Math skills: Mathematicians use statistics, calculus, and linear algebra to develop their models and analyses.
  • Problem-solving skills: Mathematicians must devise new solutions to problems encountered by scientists or engineers.
What is the pay?

The average pay for mathematicians in the United States ranges from $52,860 to $161,900.

The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

What is the career outlook?

Overall employment of mathematicians is projected to grow 30 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Businesses will need mathematicians to analyze the increasing volume of digital and electronic data.

What education is required?

In private industry, mathematicians typically need an advanced degree, either a master’s degree or a doctorate. For jobs with the federal government, candidates need at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or significant coursework in mathematics.

Most colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Courses usually include calculus, differential equations, and linear and abstract algebra. Many colleges and universities advise or require mathematics students to take courses in a related field, such as computer science, engineering, physics, or statistics. Because mathematicians often work with data analysis software, computer programming courses may be particularly beneficial for students.

Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Mathematics.