The 15 Best Jobs for Math Majors in 2021

Have you watched the movies “Hidden Figures,” “A Beautiful Mind,” and “The Imitation Game“? Were you amazed at how brilliant the inspirations, namely: Katherine Johnson, John Nash, and Alan Turing, behind the movies, were when it comes to solving mathematical problems, discovering, and inventing ways to make the impossible possible? Do you look up to or want to achieve what these mathematicians have contributed to the field?

Are you thinking of taking a Math Major in college? Are you planning on pursuing any of these careers?

AccountantEconomistMarket Research Analyst
ActuaryFinancial AnalystMeteorologist
Aerospace EngineerFraud InvestigatorOperations Research Analyst
AstronomerGame DesignerSoftware Tester
CryptographerInsurance UnderwriterStatistician

If you answered “Yes!” to the questions, you should greatly consider getting a Math degree. 

The Importance of Math

You can see the application of Math almost everywhere and in everything that surrounds us. The table you use, the medicines you take, computer systems, the study of history and time, the construction of buildings, the games you play, our finances, transportation, population, trips to outer space, and even the packaging of the goods we consume, all require the use of mathematics. Likewise, it is integrated into other fields and subjects such as science, language, computer, and even arts. Mathematics also helps organize a lot of data, without which every system, business, or any other establishment would be faced with impossibly dealing with overwhelming amounts of data. Math can exist without all these fields, but they cannot exist without math. Math is both a knowledge and a skill that will never be out of demand as long as humankind lives. 

See also: The 15 Best Online Master’s of Mathematics Programs

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an additional 56,100 math occupations will be added beginning 2019 to 2029. It is equivalent to a 27% growth which is a much faster increase than all other occupations’ average. The rapid increase in projection can be attributed to the great demand for many data, requiring analysis and computation. 

What is a Math Degree, and How Can I Get it?

As the name suggests, a Math degree can be achieved by mainly taking math courses and subjects to grasp mathematical theories and concepts fully and applying them in our everyday lives. Although Math generally involves numbers, math degrees can be classified into various specializations like statistics, calculus, geometry, number theory, applied mathematics, and computational mathematics. Taking math courses can help you sharpen several skills and abilities such as problem-solving, logical thinking, decision-making, critical thinking, and analytical skills to tackle any challenge in life, whether work-related or not. 

After surviving college and being awarded a Math degree, the next rational thing to do is find a job in which you can apply everything you have learned over the years in the university and have a return of investment on your education. You don’t have to worry as there are many interesting job choices and career options for Math degree holders. There are even jobs that you think don’t require a Math degree because of its name and general nature when in fact, it requires an educated background in the field. 

jobs that deal with math

The median annual wage for Math occupations is $90,410 as of May 2019, while the median annual wage for all other occupations combined is $39,810. Math degree holders are highly in demand in various industries, businesses, and even in government. The options are not just plenty but also lucrative. The pay is excellent, and the career ladder offers a promising future. Here are the 15 Best Jobs for Math Majors in 2021 that will make you thank yourself for deciding to pursue a Math degree.

The following are organized alphabetically with salary* and job satisfaction** as the primary considerations:

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Accountant

Starting Salary: $44,480 | Median Pay: $71,550 | Best Pay: $124,450 and up

It is probably one of the more well-regarded professions in the field of Mathematics. Their expertise is mainly in audit, finance, and taxes. An accountant balances accounts, profits, and expenses and organizes them in a financial report. Whether a big or small business or even the government, an accountant’s services are required to help them make sense of numbers.

To be a good accountant, aside from the mathematical skill required, one also has to be a critical thinker, keen on details, excellent with analyzing data and is good at communicating and explaining his or her output in layman’s terms understood by clients.  

Accountants will foresee the projected flow of business and determine the said projection based on collected data. They could also help you lessen your taxes by using legal tax avoidance methods by utilizing the allowable deductions to the client’s advantage. They keep up with the latest methods and laws in the profession through the mandated continuing professional education.

The profession’s expected growth from 2019 to 2029 is 4% and is as fast as the average for all occupations.

Job satisfaction: Good. This job’s stress level is usually peaked during the season of tax payments and audits, which is usually done every quarter but is paired with bonuses, pay raises, and other benefits.

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Actuary

Starting Salary: $64,860 | Median Pay: $108,350 | Best Pay: $193,600 and up

One only needs a Bachelor’s degree to be an Actuary, but the more actuarial exams you pass, the higher your position will be. The word that could be best associated with this job is “risk.” An actuary analyzes and assesses risks and events like sickness, accidents, death, natural calamities, and the economy that will affect its finances. They likewise provide possible solutions and safeguards for these incidents to help protect or, at the very least, minimize its impact on the financial standing of the company. They also help companies maximize profits as well. 

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This job is usually in demand in the insurance business, whether health, life, property, or casualty insurance. About 71% of job listings for actuaries come from the finance and insurance sector. They help determine the premiums to be charged and the policies to be issued to each insured individual, and whether their funds would cover all claims. Some actuaries calculate the sufficiency of funds for pension and retirement benefits as well as risks in enterprises. 

Although computers and software nowadays are capable of compiling and computing information, knowledge in advanced statistics is still required for this job. 

Job satisfaction: Excellent. Actuaries usually work in-office during regular 9 to 5 office hours and almost rarely outdoors. It is this fixed work schedule that allows them to balance their life outside work accordingly.

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Aerospace Engineer

Starting Salary: $72,450 | Median Pay: $116,500 | Best Pay: $166,620 and up

If you like designing and building structures and prototypes for aircraft, helicopters, rotorcraft, satellites, spacecraft, and missiles, you should probably pursue a career as an aerospace engineer. However, your imagination is not the limit. As an aerospace engineer, you have to make sure that your design is safe and feasible, technically and financially – this is where the math comes in. Even though computers and software are used in coming up with the design and simulations for test runs, you still need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Advanced Math and other degree choices such as computer programming and physics. 

Aerospace engineers are further classified as either aeronautical or astronautical. Aeronautical engineering is primarily engaged in aircraft commercial production, while the military usually utilizes astronautical engineering products for national defense and subject to set standards. However, the most common industry in need of aerospace engineers is aircraft and part manufacturing

You don’t have to be licensed for an entry-level job as an aerospace engineer, but as you progress in your career, take several exams to advance up the career ladder. Licensing is usually done on a state-by-state basis as they vary in certain requirements, but most states allow engineers to cross-practice among states. 

Job satisfaction: Good. Various interesting projects make the work non-monotonous, and there’s always the thrill of discovering something new. However, there is the pressure that there should be no room for mistakes. Everything must work efficiently and as planned, or else, everybody’s safety is on the line. 

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Astronomer

Starting Salary: $59,420 | Median Pay: $122,220 | Best Pay: $185,780 and up

When you say astronomer, it doesn’t necessarily mean having to be in outer space. More than half of astronomers are part of universities, other educational institutions, observatories, or laboratories. To be a teaching faculty, one has to have a Ph.D. in the field and be constantly engaged in research. They are responsible for explaining how certain natural phenomena exist, like gravity, theories, matter, and energy. It usually involves complicated mathematical formulas and computations of gathered data in and out of our planet.  

However, for those who want to join the federal government as an astronomer, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and many other government research facilities offer a promising future for astronomers – young and seniors alike. The main perk with working in government is the security of tenure it provides. 

If you prefer to work with private corporations, you can expect higher pay than your counterparts in the government but not as much as for the security of tenure. 

Job satisfaction: Excellent. Generally, astronauts are happy, given the nature of their work, where they get to explore and discover life and things beyond our planet. The high salary may seem like just a bonus, given the perks of the job. 

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Cryptographer

Starting Salary: $69,990 | Median Pay: $122,480 | Best Pay: $189,780 and up

Cryptographers or cryptologists are under the blanket of computer and information technology occupations. They create and write codes and algorithms, and ciphers to protect third-party data that can threaten the system. As opposed to cryptanalysts who decipher or decode these codes, cryptographers turn them into understandable information. A strong foundation of mathematics is required for this kind of work, specifically algorithms and abstract algebra. While a college degree is enough, having a master’s or much better, a doctoral title will help you get hired to a higher position earlier in your career as a cryptographer. 

Their main goal is to secure data from or on the government, financial institutions, and businesses transmitted across different channels. They test and try to breakdown their system to see how strong, safe, and secure it is to improve and add further security measures. 

This job is highly in demand in institutions that handle much confidential information like banks, the military, the government, even businesses like healthcare, insurance, and online businesses for their consumers. 

Job satisfaction: Satisfactory, but the job can be stressful because a single mistake can cause glitches and affect the information. The pay, however, makes up for the need to be keen on details. 

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Economist

Starting Salary: $59,450 | Median Pay: $105,020 | Best Pay: $185,020 and up

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Wonder how the flow of supply and demand is monitored and analyzed in the market? From production to distribution to consumption, economists study all phases to determine the trend shaping the economy. Information is usually presented using graphs and tables and published in journals, websites, and newspapers. 

Mathematics and statistics are at play in this field. A master’s or a doctoral degree is usually required. There are two types of economists, the quantitative economist, which deals mainly with numbers, and the qualitative economist, which is more descriptive. They study past and current market data to predict future trends. 

The thing about economists is that it is a vital job in any field – in the government, legislation, and business, both local and international. When the economy crashes, all sectors are affected, including prices of goods, wages, and employment. It is better to keep it in check or, at the very least, be prepared for such an occurrence. 

Job satisfaction: Good. There is fulfillment in a job that lets you know what’s happening and knowing that you can provide solutions for it. It somehow gives you a sense of control. 

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Financial Analyst

Starting Salary: $47,230 | Median Pay: $81,590 | Best Pay: $156,150 and up

Everyone who is into investments, stocks, or bonds seeks a financial analyst or securities and investment analysts’ expertise. They can give well-researched advice through portfolios on where it is smart to invest at the moment or in the future. 

Financial analysts usually work in financial institutions and businesses like banks, insurance, pension, and mutual funds. Their knowledge and research are not only one-sided. They can give you advice whether you are on the buy-side or the sell-side. The former deal mainly with investing funds in various platforms, and the latter is focused only on selling stocks and bonds.

There are many types of financial analysts. One is the risk analyst responsible for evaluating risks before making investments or observing proper investing techniques and methods. Meanwhile, a rating analyst’s primary concern is to evaluate an institution’s financial status.

As a financial analyst, one must be updated with the latest trends in a specific industry of focus and the economy in general so that you know where and when to invest or sell correctly. 

Job satisfaction: Good. There’s always an opportunity to grow and climb up the career ladder, given that there are many options out there for a financial analyst. You also learn something new every day and expand your network with all the different people you meet inside and outside the office. 

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Fraud Investigator

Starting Salary: $30,390 | Median Pay: $50,510 | Best Pay: $89,760

No matter how much screening and background checks are done with employee candidates, there will always be those who will pass only to commit dishonesty and fraud against your company in the end. This is where fraud investigators or examiners come into the picture. They have skills in investigation and have vast knowledge in mathematics, specifically in finance, to make numbers and reports make sense and enough background on fraud law

They usually work in insurance companies, banking institutions, accounting firms, and the federal government. They review all documents, transactions and take hints of early onsets of employees and superiors’ fraudulent practices. 

For career advancement, professionals must be CFE-certified, and you need to have at least two years of experience in the field to be allowed to sit for this exam.

Job satisfaction: Good. The sense of fulfillment is high because you uncover fraudulent transactions.

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Game Designer

Starting Salary: $40,250 | Median Pay: $75,270 | Best Pay: $139,940 and up

Gamers who love coding might want to become game designers! You can design the game of your dreams and have access to all the cheat codes. To become one, you need to have a bachelor’s degree and a coding and programming background. Taking computer science or computer graphics related to interactive media and arts will jumpstart your career in this field.  

You need to know how to use computer programs that will be utilized in game creation, such as Unity and Unreal Engine. The success of the game design relies mainly on the programming code used. It has to be revised as needed if a glitch is discovered until the game’s best outcome is achieved. Every game plan is not the final plan. It undergoes several revisions along the way, so as a game designer, you must have the passion, persistence, and patience to have your desired output and to reach your target market. 

A game designer can either be designated in the mechanics or environment aspect of the game. For the mechanical part, you are responsible for making the game’s rules and technicalities. On the other hand, if you deal with the environmental aspect, you design the plot, the different scenes, and the background. 

Job satisfaction: Excellent. It is a fun job despite some glitches that you can expect to happen here and there. But when the finished product is all you imagined it to be, all the coding and recoding are totally worth it! This makes the job highly satisfying for employees who truly enjoy what they are doing. 

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Insurance Underwriter

Starting Salary: $42,360 | Median Pay: $70,020 | Best Pay: $124,320 and up

This job requires data analysis and risk assessment to come up with the decision of whether to accept or reject an insurance application. It requires a background in mathematics, specifically in finance and accounting. To get promoted, you might want to take several examinations administered by the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters

Insurance underwriters are responsible for determining how much premium insured individuals must pay, the amounts included in the coverage, and the terms and conditions that shall apply to each policy. Simply speaking, they determine the worth of risks associated with your chosen insurance plan and decide whether such risks would obligate them to pay a high amount for a claim, just in case it happens. 

With modern technology and programs, insurance underwriters no longer need to individually check and analyze each insurance application since this can be done by simply encoding information. Their knowledge and skills are required in special circumstances like when rare illnesses, diseases, or accidents are involved, and when a further assessment is needed for a new policy or a client has made several claims already, or just when anything is out of the usual in the day-to-day business of the insurance industry

As an insurance underwriter, you have to know the laws governing insurance in the state you practice.

Job satisfaction: Good. Insurance underwriters are usually at the back office. Environment-wise, it may not be stimulating for some. The job’s stress level is relatively low on rare occasions that you come face-to-face with clients.

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Market Research Analyst

Starting Salary: $34,350 | Median Pay: $63,790 | Best Pay: $122,630 and up

A market research analyst studies the consumers for the producers. Their findings based on research will tell who are the target market and consumer, their demographics, buying habits, their demand, and how much they are willing to pay for such demand. It is beyond the numbers, but the latter plays a very important role in it. 

Publishing industries seek numerous market research analysts who determine a certain product’s sale potential. Research analysts also formulate marketing strategies to increase sales and profit for the company. As researchers, they collect data through surveys, polls, and questionnaires. They study their competition and evaluate the state of the market and the economy.

Job satisfaction: Good. There is always a high chance for promotion and pay increase which goes along with the work you have to put in. The work schedule can be tight, leaving little time for life outside work—that is, if you struggle with time management. 

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Meteorologist

Starting Salary: $49,700 | Median Pay: $95,380 | Best Pay: $147,160

A meteorologist must study the weather and its effect on us and our planet. Besides obtaining a Bachelor’s in Meteorology or a master’s or doctoral for research purposes, you also need to complete advanced mathematics and computer programming courses. These disciplines are essential to the very nature of the work. 

There are different types of meteorologists. Broadcast meteorologists give weather forecasts through various mediums like the radio, television, internet, and social media platforms. Some are referred to as forensic meteorologists, the qualified expert witnesses in court. They study the weather condition and climate in an area around the time incidents happen like fires, lightning strikes, and traffic accidents and whether it has any effect or impact on the said incident. 

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As the name suggests, research meteorologists focus mainly on research that could develop new and improved weather forecasting methods, invent new instruments for such purposes, and study the interaction of natural elements that affect our weather. 

The federal government has the highest hires of meteorologists. They are usually assigned to different weather stations across the country.  

Job satisfaction: Good. The stress level is moderate, and there are freedom and flexibility on how to go about the job despite the need to monitor the weather 24/7 since there is shifting. The work and office environment needs a little improvement, especially if you are assigned to remote areas. 

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Operations Research Analyst

Starting Salary: $48,670 | Median Pay: $84,810 | Best Pay: $140,790

A few educational institutions offer specific coursework and training for this job. As such, most operations research analysts have obtained training in Computer Science and Mathematics. Get a solid foundational knowledge in Statistics, Linear Algebra, and Calculus. A master’s degree will give you a boost when it comes to employment. Aside from analytical skills, you also have to develop communication, writing, and interpersonal skills. 

Operations Research Analysts identify the problem, give a solution, and provide guidelines on dealing with similar problems in the future. Problems could range from resource allocation, schedule management, meeting demands, and even price setting. They also evaluate records, data, customer reviews, and management insights. 

The federal government, the U.S. Armed Forces, and the manufacturing, finance, and insurance sectors require an operations research analyst’s expertise.

Job satisfaction: Good. This is a stable career path with top-rated benefits and scheduling flexibility as the perks.

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Software Tester

Starting Salary: $62,240 | Median Pay: $107,510 | Best Pay: $164,590

When software programs are created, software testers determine any glitch, defect, or weak points and recommend improvements to the program. They ensure that the program functions properly for its intended user. The tests are either conducted manually or automated. Typically, software testers work independently in testing the system, the design, the integration aspect, and the regression phase of a program. 

Most companies require certifications such as the ASTQB, ISTQB, IQBBA, and AT*SQA for promotion purposes. Experts must embrace continuous learning to keep up with technological innovations. 

Job satisfaction: Good. It’s a meticulous job, but overall, the pay makes up for the stress level. 

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Statistician

Starting Salary: $58,100 | Median Pay: $105,030 | Best Pay: $162,060

Statistics is probably the most widely used division of math in the real world. We see statistics being applied everywhere from business, population, government performance, polls, researches, and many others.

Statisticians determine what type and the quantity of data are needed to come up with a significant answer to a specific question or problem. They also consider from what group of people these data should be collected. They then design and prepare interview questions, checkboxes, surveys, questionnaires, and other instruments to gather the needed data. They could also be in charge of administering these instruments, which could be done personally, online, phone calls, or by mail. 

Some statistical software requires only encoding of information, and statisticians interpret the results and provide descriptions. They are needed in research and development, the federal government, colleges, universities, and other industries. 

Job satisfaction: Excellent. Statisticians have been ranked as second in best business jobs by U.S. News. There are many opportunities for career advancement. You can work at your own phase as projects and assignments are usually done for a long time, and the stress level is low. 

Ranking Factors:

* Stated annual salary rates are based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook. At least 10% of the workers in each job listed above receive less than the starting salary stated therein, and they are usually those at the entry-level job. Please note that salary may vary from state to state. 

**Job satisfaction is ranked as satisfactory, good, and excellent based on various factors such as career advancement, job difficulty, and work-life balance the job allows.