Careers that do not involve a graduate degree
The Bureau of Labor Statistics
has updated information about the job situation for math majors.
Even if you do not wish to pursue graduate work, there are many options for
a math major in industry, government, and education.
- Teacher If you like to give back to your community and serve kids,
teaching mathematics at the secondary school level can be very rewarding.
Every year, roughly half of the positions advertised for secondary school
teachers in math go unfilled. Schools are desperate for caring, qualified
- Computers: Perhaps the most popular and among the most lucrative
jobs for math majors is in the computer industry. Since computer programming
is very mathematical, it makes sense that many math majors do very well in
it; but math majors are qualified to address more fundamental issues in
the design of the project and in creating new algorithms for new problems.
Furthermore, many issues in computers like computer graphics, compression
of pictures and sound for the web, and setting up networks (to name a few
examples) involve a great deal of mathematics, and as a result, many
computer companies specifically hire math majors.
- Engineering: Many of the same reasons that math majors end up
in the computer industry also apply to fields of engineering. Engineering
involves a great deal of math, and as a result, many engineering firms
hire math majors. Your training in math will prepare you to quickly learn
the specific issues in a new field, and your creative problem solving skills
will be a strong asset to the engineering firm.
- Biotech: There has been a great deal of interest in mathematical
biology because of many recent breakthroughs in studying DNA and proteins.
Many biotech companies hire mathematics majors because of the high (and
growing) mathematical content of the field.
- Cryptography: From the U. S. National Security Agency to a
smaller company doing commerce on the web, the demand for mathematicians that
can understand the number-theoretic issues in cryptography is great.
- Actuary: Among the highest-paid professions are actuaries, who
compute the statistics behind life insurance tables and other related
tables. More information is at http://BeAnActuary.org/.
You can find listings of actuarial jobs at http://www.actuaryjobs.com, a site
hosted by D.W. Simpson Actuarial Search.
- Statistician More generally, the proliferation of statistics
in everything ranging from business to government has brought many
organizations to seek math majors. Find out more at http://www.amstat.org/education/careers.html.
- Government Most branches and agencies in the U. S. government
use mathematicians, for the reasons mentioned above. Particularly
noteworthy are the Department of Defense,
the National Security Agency,
the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the General Accounting Office.
- Finance Most financial companies hire mathematicians to
study financial models and make predictions based on statistical evidence. As
an example, here is a list of jobs for math majors at
J. P. Morgan.
- Management Management consulting firms look for individuals who
can quickly find the root of a problem, and find creative and effective
solutions, and critically choose from among many options. As a result,
math majors are in particularly high demand from management consulting firms
McKinsey and Co.
- Others More information can be obtained at http://www.ams.org/careers. There are
profiles of individual careers at http://www.maa.org/careers/index.html.