How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Mathematician: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $112,560
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 20%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Good Entry Level Salary
    Career Attribute

Mathematicians are professionals who apply the principals of mathematics to solve real-world problems. They work across a variety of industries, including engineering, information technology, and education. They use theoretical and applied mathematics to identify, research, and resolve issues.

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What is a Mathematician?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in mathematician roles:

  • Study the principles of algebra, calculus, geometry, statistics, and trigonometry
  • Apply principles from the field of mathematics to solve real-world problems
  • Form new mathematical theories and publish those theories in scholarly journals
  • Analyze data using mathematical equations and algorithms to form data-driven insights
  • Educate aspiring mathematicians, engineers, and web developers

A Day in the Life

Mathematicians are experts in using the principles of many different areas of mathematics to solve real-world problems. While all mathematicians are experts at math, few mathematicians have the job title mathematician. Instead, they take math-based roles across a variety of industries. For example, a mathematician may work as an engineer, a developer, a college professor, a scientist, an actuary, or an astronomer. All of these professions use math extensively, and are prefer careers for mathematicians.

Mathematicians who work in business often analyze data using mathematical equations and algorithms. This process can transform large amounts of data into actionable insights that enable businesses to become more profitable, reduce costs, or better understand customers. For example, some mathematicians work for insurance companies as actuaries, helping determine how insurance policies should be priced. Others work for technology companies and help develop search algorithms or marketing automation software, as just a couple of examples.

Mathematicians are also needed in the sciences. Some work as engineers, developing new equipment and components for products like computers, cars, appliances, and machinery. Others work alongside chemists, using math to determine the proper concentrations of ingredients for medicine. Others may work in astronomy, helping map out our knowledge of the universe. Because much of the universe is not visible using modern equipment, mathematicians use mathematic principles to create informed theories as to what galaxies and plants exist beyond what we’ve observed using telescopes and satellites.

Typical Work Schedule

Most mathematicians work full-time during normal business hours. However, the schedule can vary greatly depending on employer. Mathematicians in some roles may be required to work overtime on occasion to complete projects and provide reports to stakeholders and company leadership.

Projected Job Growth

Demand for mathematicians is expected to grow significantly in the coming decade as a result of data being available in increasing amounts. As most people in the world now own mobile phones and other internet-connected devices, the amount of data that is available to be mined for insights is increasing exponentially, creating demand for mathematicians to analyze and interpret the data.

Mathematician Specializations

While mathematicians are employed to work across a variety of industries in many different roles, there are two major specializations within the field of mathematics:

  • Applied mathematicians apply the principles of mathematics to solve real-world problems. They commonly work alongside chemists, engineers, systems and software developers, and scientists.
  • Theoretical mathematicians are scholars of mathematics that study the principles of different types of math to form new mathematical theories or attempt to resolve unexplained issues in the field. These mathematicians commonly work in research or as college professors.

Typical Employers

Mathematicians are employed to work in a variety of industries, but the industries that hire the most mathematicians include government, research and development, education, insurance, and manufacturing.

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How To Become a Mathematician

The educational requirements for finding work as a mathematician vary greatly depending on the type of role you’re pursuing. Some mathematicians are able to find work in the field with only a bachelor’s degree. For all mathematician careers, a bachelor’s degree is required and is the starting point for becoming a mathematician. The most common major pursued is mathematics, though engineering or information technology degrees may suffice as well as long, as you complete significant coursework in math. With a bachelor’s degree, you may qualify for government mathematician positions.

In the private industry, on the other hand, a master’s degree is usually required. You’ll need a master’s degree to work as an engineer, actuary, or business intelligence analyst for a private company. When choosing a master’s degree program, you’ll need to know what role you want to work in—these degrees are more career-specific than general undergraduate majors. You may choose to earn a master’s degree in theoretical or applied mathematics, or you could choose an engineering or business administration degree if you hope to work as an engineer or business intelligence analyst.

If you hope to become a college professor or in research, you may also need to earn a Ph.D. With a Ph.D., you’ll qualify for tenured professorship roles in mathematics, and you may also be able to find work with research facilities, developing new products and theories using the concepts of mathematics.

Mathematician Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Mathematician salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Mathematician's can make an average annual salary of $112,560, or $54 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $81,590 or $39 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #42 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Mathematician. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Mathematicians

  • 19.3%   Doctorate
  • 42.8%   Masters
  • 30.1%   Bachelors
  • 2.9%   Associates
  • 4.8%   College
  • 0.1%   High School
  • 0%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Mathematician job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 700 jobs for a total of 4,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 20% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #51 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Mathematicians

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Federal government, excluding postal service 1,000 100 0%
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 600 100 0%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 400 100 0%

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