Mathematical Scientist Career Guide 2024

Table of Contents

Mathematical Scientist Salary in United States for 2023

Average Annual Salary: $71,700 Hourly Rate: $34.47

Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API. Updated at December 8, 2023

Best Colleges and Universities for Mathematical Scientists in 2023

Best College Majors for Mathematical Scientists in 2023

Projected Job Employment for Mathematical Scientist:

Estimated YearProjected YearEstimated EmploymentProjected Employment% ChangeProjected Annual Job Opening

Mathematical Scientist Career Path Overview

The career path of a Mathematical Scientist is one that is marked by intellectual rigor, continuous learning, and a passion for numbers and data. It's an ideal choice for those who enjoy problem-solving and have an aptitude for mathematics.

Education Requirements

Generally, the minimum requirement to enter the field as a Mathematical Scientist is a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or a related field. This should include intensive courses in calculus, algebra, statistics, and mathematical modeling. A master's degree or Ph.D. can open doors to more advanced positions and significantly increase earning potential. Some professionals choose to specialize further by obtaining degrees or certifications in areas such as applied mathematics, computational mathematics, or mathematical biology.

Skills Needed

To be successful in this field, Mathematical Scientists need a strong foundation in mathematics and analytical thinking. They should be able to think logically and solve complex problems. Other key skills include attention to detail, persistence, and the ability to communicate complex concepts effectively. Proficiency with computer software, particularly those related to data analysis and mathematical modeling, is also crucial.

Career Path Options

There are numerous career paths available for Mathematical Scientists. These professionals can work in a wide variety of sectors including academia, government agencies, finance, technology, engineering, and more. They may choose to become researchers, analysts, teachers, or data scientists. Some may even opt for careers that are less traditionally associated with math, such as in the arts or journalism, where their ability to think analytically can offer unique perspectives.

Career Progression

Typically, a Mathematical Scientist starts their career as a junior analyst or researcher. With experience and further education, they can move into roles such as senior analyst or project leader. Those with Ph.D.s often start as postdoctoral researchers, then progress to tenure-track professor positions. In the private sector, progression may lead to roles such as senior data scientist, quantitative analyst, or positions in management.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for Mathematical Scientists is positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of mathematicians is projected to grow 27% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. Salaries for Mathematical Scientists can vary widely depending on education, experience, and the sector in which they work. The median annual wage for mathematicians was $110,860 in May 2020.

Professional Development Opportunities

Continuing education and professional development are important for Mathematical Scientists. They need to stay abreast of new developments in their field and continually improve their skills. This can be achieved through attending conferences, participating in workshops, or obtaining additional certifications. Joining professional organizations, like the American Mathematical Society or the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, can also provide networking opportunities and access to resources.

Mathematical Scientist Career Path Education and Training

Embarking on a career path as a mathematical scientist requires the right mix of education, training, and practical experience. As a mathematical scientist, you will be tasked with applying complex mathematical theories, computational techniques, and algorithms to solve real-world problems in diverse industries such as business, engineering, and physical sciences.

Undergraduate Degree

The first step to becoming a mathematical scientist is to obtain an undergraduate degree in mathematics or a related field such as statistics, physics, engineering, or computer science. The coursework typically includes calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, probability, statistics, discrete mathematics, and numerical analysis. In addition to these foundational courses, you may also take electives in your areas of interest such as computational mathematics or applied mathematics.

Graduate Degree

While an undergraduate degree is sufficient for some entry-level positions, most mathematical scientist roles require at least a master's degree in mathematics or a related field. A master's degree program offers advanced coursework in areas such as mathematical modeling, complex variables, partial differential equations, and theoretical statistics. Some programs may also offer specializations in areas like operations research, data science, or financial mathematics. For positions involving independent research or university-level teaching, a Ph.D. in mathematics or a related field is typically required. A doctoral program involves rigorous coursework followed by original research culminating in a doctoral dissertation.

Internships and Practical Experience

Practical experience is crucial in bridging the gap between academic learning and real-world problem solving. Internships offer students the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge to practical problems in a professional setting. By participating in internships during their undergraduate or graduate studies, aspiring mathematical scientists can gain valuable hands-on experience and make important industry connections. Many universities also encourage students to engage in research projects under the guidance of faculty members. These projects can help students develop their analytical and problem-solving skills, learn to work collaboratively, and gain experience in presenting and communicating their findings.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

The field of mathematics is dynamic and constantly evolving. Therefore, it's important for mathematical scientists to stay updated with the latest developments and trends in the field. This can be achieved through continuing education programs, workshops, seminars, and professional development courses. Joining professional organizations such as the American Mathematical Society (AMS) or the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) can also provide networking opportunities, access to industry journals, and discounts on conferences and seminars.

Certification and Licensing

While certification is not typically required for mathematical scientists, some professionals may choose to earn certifications to demonstrate their expertise in a specific area of mathematics. For example, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) offers the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) certification for professionals in the field of operations research and analytics. Licensing is also not usually required for mathematical scientists unless they are working in a field that does require it, such as engineering. In such cases, licensing requirements will vary by state and specific profession. In summary, the journey to becoming a mathematical scientist involves a solid educational foundation, practical experience through internships or research projects, continuous learning through professional development, and potentially earning certifications to demonstrate specialized knowledge.

Mathematical Scientist Career Path Progression

Starting a career as a mathematical scientist is an exciting journey filled with opportunities for growth and development. This career path is diverse and dynamic, offering various avenues for advancement based on your interests, skills, and experience.

Entry-Level Positions

The journey begins after obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, or a related field. Entry-level positions such as Junior Data Analyst, Actuarial Analyst, or Statistical Assistant are common starting points. These roles often involve applying mathematical principles to solve real-world problems, analyzing data to extract meaningful insights, and assisting senior mathematicians in complex projects.

Mid-Level Positions

As you gain experience and further your education, perhaps with a Master’s degree or higher in Applied Mathematics or a specialized area like Data Science or Financial Mathematics, you can move onto more challenging roles. Mid-level positions like Data Scientist, Quantitative Analyst, or Biostatistician become accessible. These positions require a deeper understanding of mathematical theories and their practical applications.

Senior-Level Positions

Eventually, with several years of experience and continued excellence in the field, you can advance to senior-level positions. These roles might include Lead Data Scientist, Senior Quantitative Analyst, Mathematical Research Scientist, or even Chief Data Officer in some organizations. Responsibilities in these roles can range from leading a team of data scientists to guiding strategic decision-making based on sophisticated mathematical modeling.

Academic and Research Careers

For those with a passion for academia and research, pursuing a PhD in Mathematics or a related discipline can open doors to careers as University Professors or Mathematical Researchers. In these roles, you would have the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of mathematical science through research and teaching.

Specialization and Niches

The field of mathematical science is vast, and there's a wide array of niches you can specialize in based on your interests. For example, if you're interested in finance, you could become a Financial Mathematician. If you're fascinated by big data and machine learning, a career as a Data Scientist might be ideal for you. In conclusion, the career path of a mathematical scientist is filled with opportunities for progression and specialization. By continually developing your skills and knowledge, you can advance in your career and make significant contributions to the field of mathematical science.

Mathematical Scientist Career Path Specializations and Subfields

The field of mathematical science is broad and encompasses various specializations and subfields. As a Mathematical Scientist, you can specialize in numerous areas, each with its unique applications and career opportunities.

Applied Mathematics

In the specialization of applied mathematics, mathematical scientists use their knowledge to solve real-world problems. This can be in areas such as engineering, business, healthcare, or even social sciences. Applied mathematicians often collaborate with other specialists to apply mathematical theories and techniques to solve practical problems.


Statisticians use mathematical theories to collect, analyze, interpret, and present data. This subfield is crucial across many industries, including healthcare, business, government, and sports. Statisticians help design surveys and experiments, predict future trends, and make decisions based on data.

Data Science

Data science is a rapidly growing field that combines statistics, mathematics, programming, and domain expertise to extract insights from complex and large sets of data. Data Scientists can work in a variety of sectors, including technology, finance, healthcare, and e-commerce.

Actuarial Science

Actuarial science applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in the insurance and finance industries. Actuaries use their skills to predict future events and help companies plan for these potential scenarios.

Operations Research

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical methods to help organizations solve problems and make better decisions. They can work in a variety of sectors, including logistics, manufacturing, transportation, and the military.

Computational Mathematics

Computational mathematics involves the use of mathematical models and techniques to solve complex problems. This field often requires a strong background in computer science and programming. Computational mathematicians can work in various industries, including engineering, data analysis, and software development.

Mathematical Physics

Mathematical Physics involves the application of mathematics to problems in physics and the development of mathematical methods suitable for such applications. Mathematical physicists often work in academia or research institutions. Each of these specializations and subfields offers its unique career opportunities. By choosing a specialization that aligns with your interests and skills, you can shape your mathematical scientist career path in a way that is both professionally fulfilling and personally rewarding.

Mathematical Scientist Career Path Job Market and Outlook

The job market and outlook for a career as a Mathematical Scientist are broad and promising. This profession is distinguished by a high level of versatility, offering opportunities in a wide array of sectors including academia, government, finance, technology, and more. Mathematical Scientists are a crucial part of today's data-driven world, helping to solve complex problems and make informed decisions.

Demand for Mathematical Scientists

The demand for Mathematical Scientists has seen a substantial increase over the past few years. This is largely due to the growing need for skilled professionals who can analyze and interpret large amounts of data. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of mathematicians and statisticians is projected to grow 33 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Businesses across various industries are recognizing the importance of data analysis in making strategic decisions, leading to an increased need for mathematical scientists. Additionally, advancements in technology have led to an abundance of data, further driving the demand for this profession.

Job Opportunities in Various Sectors

A career as a Mathematical Scientist offers diverse opportunities. In academia, they may work as researchers or professors, contributing to the advancement of mathematical theories and methodologies. In government, they may assist in policy formulation by providing insights from statistical data. In the finance sector, Mathematical Scientists play a critical role in risk analysis, investment strategy planning, and financial modeling. The technology industry also relies heavily on these professionals for tasks such as algorithm development, machine learning, and data mining.

Future Outlook

The future outlook for Mathematical Scientists is bright. The ongoing digital transformation across various industries will continue to create a need for individuals with strong mathematical skills. The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies has further expanded the scope of opportunities for Mathematical Scientists. Moreover, the global focus on big data and data analytics is likely to continue driving demand for this profession. With organizations increasingly relying on data to guide their strategies and decision-making processes, the role of Mathematical Scientists in making sense of this information cannot be overstated. In conclusion, a career as a Mathematical Scientist offers robust job prospects and a positive future outlook. The growing recognition of the importance of data analysis across various sectors ensures that these professionals will continue to be in high demand.

Mathematical Scientist Career Path Salary and Compensation

As a Mathematical Scientist, your salary and compensation can significantly vary depending on a multitude of factors, such as your level of education, experience, the industry you choose to work in, and your geographical location.

Entry-Level Salary

As a starting point in your career as a Mathematical Scientist, you may begin in an entry-level position where you'll be expected to apply your mathematical skills to real-world problems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for entry-level mathematicians was around $60,000 as of May 2020. However, the bottom 10% earned less than $50,000, and the top 10% earned more than $90,000.

Mid-Level Salary

Once you gain some experience and move up to mid-level positions, your salary will likely increase. At this stage, you might be involved in designing data collection methods or applying mathematical theories to solve practical problems in business, engineering, or the sciences. For these roles, the BLS reports that the median annual wage was approximately $110,000 as of May 2020.

Senior-Level Salary

As a senior-level Mathematical Scientist, you can expect even higher salaries. At this level, you might be leading research teams or developing new mathematical methodologies and theories. According to the BLS, the top 10% of mathematicians earned more than $170,000 annually as of May 2020.

Additional Compensation

Aside from basic salary, Mathematical Scientists may also receive additional compensation. This can come in various forms such as bonuses for exceptional performance, benefits like health insurance and retirement plans, or stock options if working for a publicly-traded company.

Salary by Location

Your geographical location can also significantly impact your salary as a Mathematical Scientist. For instance, areas with a high cost of living like New York City or San Francisco typically offer higher salaries to compensate. On the other hand, states with a lower cost of living like Mississippi or Alabama may offer lower wages.

Salary by Industry

The industry you work in can also influence your salary. For example, Mathematical Scientists working in the federal government and scientific research services often earn higher salaries than those in educational services or state and local government. All in all, a career as a Mathematical Scientist can be financially rewarding, especially for those who advance to senior positions or specialize in high-paying industries. Remember that these figures are averages and actual salaries can vary based on various factors.

Mathematical Scientist Career Path Tips for Success

Embarking on a career path as a mathematical scientist can be both rewarding and challenging. From gaining the right skill set and educational background to finding the right industry and role, here are some tips for success in this exciting and intellectually stimulating field.

Acquire the Necessary Educational Background

A strong foundation in mathematics is essential for a successful career in this field. Typically, a bachelor's degree in mathematics, statistics, physics, computer science or a related field is required. Some roles may require advanced degrees such as a Master's or PhD, particularly in areas of specialization like data science or theoretical mathematics. It's also important to consider attending schools recognized for their strong mathematics programs. This not only provides quality education but also gives opportunities for networking and potential job placements.

Develop Relevant Skills

Being a mathematical scientist is not just about crunching numbers. Strong analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and logical thinking are crucial. Additionally, proficiency in programming languages like Python or R can be extremely useful, as many roles involve creating algorithms and models or working with large data sets. Communication skills are also key. Mathematical scientists often need to explain complex concepts to non-mathematical colleagues or clients, so being able to convey your findings clearly and effectively is essential.

Gain Practical Experience

Internships and research projects provide valuable hands-on experience. They not only allow you to apply the theories you've learned but also give you a glimpse of what the work involves on a daily basis. Moreover, they can help you build a professional network and could potentially lead to job opportunities.

Select the Right Industry

Mathematical scientists are needed across various industries, from finance and technology to healthcare and government. It's important to choose an industry that aligns with your interests and career goals. For instance, if you're interested in applying mathematical theories to real-world economic problems, a career as a financial mathematician may be a good fit.

Stay Updated and Continue Learning

The field of mathematics is constantly evolving, with new theories and applications emerging regularly. As such, staying updated with the latest research and developments is crucial. Attend seminars, subscribe to relevant publications, and engage in professional organizations. Also, consider continuing education options to further specialize your skills or learn about new areas within the field. Following these tips can help position you for success in your mathematical scientist career path. Remember, it's a journey filled with learning and growth, so embrace each step with curiosity and determination.

What is a Mathematical Scientist?

A mathematical scientist is a professional who applies mathematical theories and computational techniques to solve practical issues in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields. They typically work with teams to develop and implement complex mathematical models that represent physical, financial, or sociological systems. These experts may also be involved in developing software or algorithms to analyze data and predict outcomes.

What Does a Mathematical Scientist Do?

The core responsibility of a mathematical scientist involves the application of mathematical and statistical theories to solve real-world problems. They create and use mathematical models and theories to provide insights into complex systems, such as weather patterns, market trends, or biological processes. Other responsibilities may include conducting research to develop new mathematical methods, collaborating with engineers and scientists on technical projects, or utilizing specialized software for data analysis.

What Skills are Required for a Mathematical Scientist?

To be a successful mathematical scientist, an individual should possess excellent problem-solving abilities and have a strong grasp of advanced mathematics. They should be adept at using programming languages such as Python, R, or MATLAB for statistical analysis. Analytical thinking, critical reasoning, and communication skills are also crucial for explaining complex concepts to non-mathematical colleagues. Other important skills include attention to detail, creativity in designing models and simulations, and the ability to work collaboratively on multidisciplinary teams.

How to Become a Mathematical Scientist?

To embark on a career as a mathematical scientist, one typically needs at least a bachelor's degree in mathematics, statistics, or a related field. However, many employers prefer candidates with a master's degree or Ph.D. in these areas. Courses in computer science, physics, engineering, and economics can also be beneficial. After completing their education, aspiring mathematical scientists often gain experience through internships or entry-level positions before moving into more specialized roles.

What is the Job Outlook for Mathematical Scientists?

The job outlook for mathematical scientists is quite promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for mathematicians and statisticians is projected to grow 33% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the increasing use of statistical analysis in decision-making across many industries.

What is the Salary of a Mathematical Scientist?

The salary of a mathematical scientist can vary greatly depending on factors such as location, level of education, years of experience, and the specific industry in which they work. As of May 2020, the median annual wage for mathematicians was $105,030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, those working in research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences earned a median annual wage of $120,840.

What are Some Related Careers to a Mathematical Scientist?

Related careers to a mathematical scientist include actuary, operations research analyst, statistician, data scientist, and financial analyst. These professionals also use mathematical and statistical methods to analyze and solve problems. Other related careers may include roles in computer science, such as software developer or systems analyst, where mathematical algorithms play a crucial role in designing and optimizing software systems.