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.
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
Watch this video to learn about what our mathematician role models do in their careers:
- 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.
Watch this video to learn more from our mathematician role models:
The average pay for mathematicians in the United States was $108,100 in May 2021 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A mathematician’s pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
About 4,100 new job openings for both mathematicians and statisticians are projected each year, on average, over the next 10 years in the United States. In 2021 there were about 2,000 mathematicians and 34,200 statisticians working in the United States.
Overall employment of mathematicians is projected to show little or no growth from 2021 to 2031 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The amount of digitally stored data will increase over the next decade as more people and companies conduct business online and use social media, smartphones, and other mobile devices.
As a result, businesses will increasingly need mathematicians to analyze the large amount of information and data collected.
In addition, much of the employment growth for mathematicians is expected to be in research-based roles in academia, research and development, and consulting services.
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.