Salaries & Careers for Math Majors

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Students who enjoy math may find decent wages in a variety of careers.
Students who enjoy math may find decent wages in a variety of careers. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Every industry around the world uses mathematics, which is considered a universal language. Every student at the elementary, middle school and high school level is required to complete courses in math, but for those who wish to continue those studies in college will have many career choices as mathematics is the basis for most sciences, financial services and areas of engineering. Along with the different careers available to a math major, there are different salaries.

Mathematicians

A career as a mathematician is common for a math major. A mathematician must usually hold a Ph.D., and the job market is highly competitive, but the number of positions is expected to grow at a faster than average pace. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that there were around 2,770 mathematicians earning an average salary of $93,920 a year as of 2009. The middle 50% averaged between $66,870 and $115,670 annually, but the bottom 10% of wage earners only averaged $50,960 while the top 10% made $142,460 a year. Mathematicians use math and apply it to research, science, business or other industries to find solutions to problems.

Actuaries

An actuary is a professional in charge of sorting through data and numbers for the purpose of calculating risks and possible outcomes of policies and actions of a business or organization. More than 17,000 actuaries work and earned an average of $97,450 a year as of 2009, according to the bureau. More than half of these were employed in the insurance industry, but actuaries working for the federal government, consulting firms and other businesses can easily average more than $100,000 a year. The bottom 10% of earners made $51,950 on average, but the top 10% brought in an annual mean wage of $158,240.

Statisticians

Statisticians use their understanding of mathematics to obtain, organize, analyze and present data in a usable way. They commonly make sense of the numbers behind the economy, a business' profits or environmental issues. The bureau estimates that there are more than 21,000 statisticians working for an annual mean wage of $75,220 as of 2009. Some averaged as low as $38,430 while the top 10% of earners averaged $117,210 a year. Most statisticians worked for the federal government, and the highest paying area of the nation was Washington D.C., where the average wage was $102,820 a year as of 2009.

Math Teachers

One of the most continuously stable options for math majors is to become a mathematics teacher. As every child across the country is required to study math throughout school, math teachers are often in high demand. Teachers in general earned a median annual wage between $47,100 and $51,180 as of 2009, according to the bureau. While new teachers only averaged $33,227 a year, the top 10 percent of earners, perhaps those with the most experience and education, made between $75,190 and $80,970 annually on average.

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