Do you have a passion for mathematics, and are looking to pursue it as a career? Well, what is a mathematician salary, the job outlook, and the steps required to become one?
Becoming a mathematician isn’t easy, and requires a great deal of skill, time, and money.
If you’re willing to put all of that in, then being a mathematician could be the perfect career path for you to take.
Mathematician Salary Overview
It is necessary to consider a variety of factors when calculating the typical salary a person can expect to make as a mathematician.
Some of these factors include the level of education the person has attained, the amount of formal training the person has experienced, where the person is employed and how long he or she has been employed, and any professional credentials that the mathematician may hold.
For example, a mathematician who has a high level of academic training, such as a doctoral degree and perhaps post-doctorate study, as well as several years of experience in industry or in faculty teaching and research positions will have the potential to earn more money than a similar mathematician who does not have these degrees and experiences.
However, there are other factors that need to be considered when providing an estimate of an expected salary, such as the number of employees at the mathematician’s place of work and the geographic location of the job.
In general, mathematicians who work for large companies or universities in urban areas will tend to earn more money than those who work for smaller companies or institutions in more rural areas.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median mathematician salary is $88,190 as of 2018.
This salary includes both a mathematician salary and a statistician salary.
However, the median annual wage for a mathematician alone is $101,900 as of May 2018.
Mathematicians working in management, scientific, and technical consulting services have the ability to make the most money, with an annual median salary of $116,210.
Mathematicians working in colleges, universities, and professional schools earn the lowest median salary at $61,440.
Job Description and Outlook
Mathematician job duties:
- Develop new mathematical rules, theories, and concepts
- Figure out what data is required to answer a problem
- Apply mathematical theories and techniques to solve problems
- Design surveys, experiments, or polls to collect data
- Develop mathematical models to analyze data
- Interpret data and draw conclusions
- Use data analysis to help make business decisions
Overall, the employment of mathematicians and statisticians is quite high. It is projected to grow 33 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is much higher than the national average of seven percent.
The reason for such large growth is due to the growing number of businesses using the internet, smartphones, and other devices.
Although the projected job outlook is quite high, most of that is for statisticians. In the next decade, there will be about 12,000 new jobs created for statisticians, but only 900 for mathematicians. However, that is still a 30 percent job growth.
Training and Education Requirements
The traditional minimum educational requirement for individuals seeking employment as mathematicians is a doctoral degree in mathematics, except for individuals seeking employment in primary or secondary education or in the Federal Government.
Candidates seeking jobs in mathematics in private industry will typically require a doctoral degree to be competitive, although there are often opportunities for some candidates who hold master’s degrees.
The majority of the positions designated as open for mathematicians will be located in laboratories focused on research and development, where mathematicians may serve on technical teams.
Within the federal government, candidates for entry-level jobs will most often be required to hold a bachelor’s degree as a minimum entry qualification, which must also contain a mathematics major or at least 24 semester hours that were fulfilled in courses related to mathematics.
People with only bachelor’s degrees in mathematics are typically not considered to be qualified for the majority of jobs outside the Federal government, and many people with such degrees go on to pursue advanced degrees, either in mathematics, or in careers and fields closely related to mathematics.
However, people holding bachelor’s degrees who can also meet the requirements of the states in which they live may be eligible to teach mathematics at the primary or secondary school level.
There are no standard national certifications required for a person to work as a mathematician.
However, individuals who choose to earn different forms of voluntary certification tend to increase their earning potentials and may be more likely to earn positions that involve higher salaries.
There are several different associations in the United States that may offer advanced certifications to mathematicians.
The requirements mathematicians must complete for certification may vary widely from one organization to another. For example, some may ask for a certain amount of education before offering certification, while others may ask for a certain number of years of work experience.
Still, others may require a combination of formal educational training and significant work experience for certification.
The most common board of certification is the state, which typically requires certification of people seeking employment as teachers of mathematics at the primary or secondary school levels.
There are numerous professional associations that offer mathematicians the ability to seek certification and membership.
- The American Mathematical Society
- The American Statistical Association
- The Association for Women in Mathematics
- The Association for Computing Machinery
- The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
- The European Mathematical Society
- The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
- The Mathematical Association of America
Steps to Becoming a Mathematician
According to Learn.org, there are five key steps to becoming a mathematician.
1. Get started in high school
If you’re fortunate enough to realize that your career choice is mathematics at a young age, then begin preparing yourself in high school.
Take as many math courses as you possibly can.
Most schools offer algebra, trigonometry, and geometry as basic math courses, so be sure to take those.
However, many schools offer advanced or AP courses such as calculus and physics. Take those if you have the opportunity — they’ll be a huge help to you in college.
2. Undergraduate school
The next step is to pursue your bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
Courses may include:
- Linear algebra and differential equations
- Numerical analysis
- Number theory
- Probability and statistics
You will typically earn your bachelor’s degree within four years.
3. Obtain a Ph.D.
Of course, before this, you need to obtain your master’s, which will typically take two years after undergraduate school.
Admission to doctorate schools is very competitive, and many will require the submission of general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.
You will also most likely need to submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a statement of purpose.
4. Choose a specific track
Doctoral programs are typically divided into two tracks: theoretical and applied.
For the theoretical track, most schools require a competence in core classes, such as topology and geometry or algebra and analysis.
For the applied track, you may take some of the core classes, but you also will mathematics-related courses in another field, such as physics, astronomy, or economics.
Whichever track you choose, you will spend your first two years in classes and then take a qualifying examination.
Once you pass the qualifying exam, you will choose a dissertation topic and advisor. Your final three years will be spent researching and writing the dissertation.
5. Finding a job
Finally, you’ll begin pursuing a job. You’re finally on track to getting that amazing mathematician salary!
Is Becoming a Mathematician Right for You?
Based on the job outlook and mathematician salary alone, becoming one is extremely promising.
However, a lot of time, work, and money goes into becoming a mathematician. It also requires a great deal of skill.
You really need to decide if this is worth it for you, and if mathematics are something you’re truly passionate about that you’re willing to spend the rest of your life studying.
Are you looking to become a mathematician, in the process of becoming one, or already are one?
Let us know in a comment!
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