Mathematician Career Guide 2024

Table of Contents

Mathematician Salary in United States for 2023

Average Annual Salary: $112,110 Hourly Rate: $53.9

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

Best College Majors for Mathematicians in 2023

Projected Job Employment for Mathematician:

Estimated YearProjected YearEstimated EmploymentProjected Employment% ChangeProjected Annual Job Opening

Mathematician Career Path Overview

The career path of a mathematician is as exciting as it is challenging, offering a world of opportunities to those with a passion for numbers and problem-solving. This career path requires not only a deep understanding of mathematical theories and principles but also the ability to apply these concepts to solve real-world problems.

Education Requirements for a Mathematician

The first step on the mathematician career path is typically earning a bachelor's degree in mathematics or a related field. This foundational education provides students with an understanding of calculus, algebra, geometry, and statistics. Some also choose to study computer science or physics, as these disciplines are closely related to mathematics. For more advanced positions or to conduct research, a master's degree or Ph.D. in mathematics is often required. These programs delve deeper into specific areas of mathematics and often involve research projects or internships that provide practical experience.

Career Progression and Opportunities

Mathematicians can find opportunities in various sectors, including academia, government, finance, technology, and engineering. Entry-level roles often involve data analysis or teaching, while more advanced positions may involve designing algorithms, conducting research, or developing new mathematical theories. With experience, mathematicians can progress to senior roles or specialize in particular areas such as cryptography, theoretical mathematics, or applied mathematics. Some mathematicians may also choose to move into related fields such as data science or financial analysis where their mathematical skills are highly valued.

Skills Required for a Mathematician

In addition to strong mathematical abilities, mathematicians also need excellent problem-solving skills. They must be able to identify issues, formulate hypotheses, and use mathematical techniques to test these hypotheses. Other important skills include analytical thinking, attention to detail, and strong communication skills. Mathematicians often work as part of a team and need to be able to communicate complex mathematical concepts to colleagues who may not have a mathematical background.

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

The job outlook for mathematicians is generally positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for mathematicians is projected to grow 33% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Salary expectations for mathematicians can vary depending on the sector and level of experience. However, the median annual wage for mathematicians was $105,030 in May 2019 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in the top 10% earned more than $160,000. Whether you're just starting out or looking to advance your career, the mathematician career path offers numerous opportunities for those with a love of numbers and a passion for problem-solving. With the right education, skills, and experience, you can make a significant impact in this exciting field.

Mathematician Career Path Education and Training

If you are intrigued by numbers, patterns, and abstract concepts, a career as a mathematician may be a perfect fit for you. However, to pursue this career path, a specific level of education and training is required. This article will guide you through the necessary steps to become a successful mathematician.

Undergraduate Education

The journey to becoming a mathematician starts with an undergraduate degree in mathematics or a related field such as statistics, physics, or engineering. These programs offer coursework that provides a strong foundation in mathematical theories and principles. Common courses include calculus, algebra, geometry, statistics, and mathematical modeling. In addition to these core subjects, students are encouraged to take classes in computer science as computational skills are becoming increasingly important in this field.

Graduate Education

After obtaining an undergraduate degree, aspiring mathematicians typically pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in mathematics. A master's degree program deepens the knowledge acquired during undergraduate studies and introduces more complex mathematical concepts. Some individuals may choose to specialize in specific areas such as applied mathematics, theoretical mathematics, or statistics. A PhD is often required for positions in academia and research. During this stage of education, students conduct original research in their area of interest and write a dissertation. The research often involves complex problem-solving and advanced mathematical theories.

Postdoctoral Training

Upon completion of a PhD, many mathematicians undertake postdoctoral training. This involves working under the supervision of experienced mathematicians, usually at universities or research institutions. Postdoctoral training allows mathematicians to gain practical experience, improve their research skills, and build a network within the scientific community.

Professional Development and Continuing Education

Even after formal education is completed, mathematicians must continue learning throughout their careers. This is because the field of mathematics is continuously evolving, and new theories and techniques are constantly being developed. Many professional organizations offer seminars, workshops, and conferences that allow mathematicians to stay updated on the latest research and trends in their field.

Certifications and Licenses

While there are no specific licenses required to become a mathematician, some employers may prefer candidates who have obtained certain certifications. For instance, the Society of Actuaries offers various levels of certification for those interested in actuarial science. Additionally, certifications in related fields like data science or statistical analysis can enhance a mathematician's employability. In conclusion, a career as a mathematician requires a strong commitment to education and training. However, those who are passionate about mathematics will find this career path both challenging and rewarding.

Mathematician Career Path Progression

The career path for mathematicians is diverse and dynamic, offering a plethora of opportunities in different sectors. This progression can be exciting, challenging, and rewarding, depending on one's interests, skills, and dedication.

Entry-Level Positions

Starting as an entry-level mathematician, individuals usually work under the guidance of experienced professionals. They are often tasked with applying mathematical theories and techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering, physical sciences, and other fields. This position typically requires a bachelor's degree in mathematics or a closely related field.

Mid-Level Positions

As mathematicians gain experience and demonstrate aptitude in their work, they may progress to mid-level positions. These roles often involve more complex problem-solving tasks, including developing mathematical models to interpret data and predict trends. Mid-level mathematicians may also supervise junior colleagues and contribute to project management. A master's degree in mathematics or a related discipline is usually required for these roles.

Senior-Level Positions

At the senior level, mathematicians often assume leadership roles within their organizations. They may lead teams of mathematicians and other professionals, design and implement mathematical research projects, and contribute to strategic decision-making. These roles typically require a doctoral degree in mathematics or a closely related field, along with several years of relevant experience.

Academic Career Path

For those interested in academia, the progression typically starts with a position as an assistant professor after earning a Ph.D. With time and successful research publications, one can move up to associate professor and eventually full professor. Academics often engage in teaching, research, and administrative duties within their institutions.

Industry Career Path

In the industry sector, mathematicians can work in various roles across different industries such as finance, technology, healthcare, and government. They can start as data analysts, quantitative analysts, or statistical modelers, and progress to roles like data scientist, quantitative strategist, or even chief data officer.

Government Career Path

Mathematicians working in government agencies often start as mathematical statisticians or research mathematicians. With experience, they can move up to senior roles, managing and directing mathematical research and analysis activities that inform policy-making. In conclusion, the career path progression for a mathematician is diverse and offers numerous opportunities for growth. It is largely determined by the individual's interests, educational qualifications, and work experience. Whether it's academia, industry, or government, each sector offers a unique set of challenges and rewards for those who love to unravel the mysteries of numbers and equations.

Mathematician Career Path Specializations and Subfields

The field of mathematics is vast, offering a wide range of specializations and subfields for professionals pursuing a Mathematician career path. These distinct areas of study offer unique challenges, opportunities, and research fields, thus enabling mathematicians to specialize in areas that match their interests and skills.

Pure Mathematics

One key specialization within the Mathematician career path is pure mathematics. As the name suggests, pure mathematicians focus on theoretical mathematics. They aim to expand mathematical knowledge by developing new theories and concepts without necessarily focusing on their practical applications. Professionals in this field often work in academia, where they conduct research and teach the next generation of mathematicians.

Applied Mathematics

Applied mathematics is another significant specialization within the Mathematician career path. Unlike pure mathematics, applied mathematics focuses on practical applications of mathematical theories and principles. Applied mathematicians often work in industries like engineering, physics, economics, computer science, and even biology, where they use mathematical models to solve real-world problems.


Another popular subfield within the Mathematician career path is statistics. Statisticians use mathematical theories to collect, analyze, interpret, and present data. They often work in a wide range of industries including healthcare, finance, government, and sports, among others. Their work often influences important decisions based on the data they analyze.


The field of cryptology is a specialized branch of mathematics that focuses on codes and ciphers. Cryptologists use mathematical algorithms to develop secure communication channels and protect sensitive information from unauthorized access. This field has seen significant growth with the rise in digital communication and online transactions, making it an exciting area for mathematicians with an interest in cybersecurity.

Operations Research

Operations research is a subfield that uses mathematical modeling, statistical analysis, and mathematical optimization to make decisions that yield the highest level of efficiency or effectiveness. Professionals in this field often work in areas like logistics, supply chain management, and other business operations where optimal decision-making is crucial.

Each of these specializations and subfields presents unique opportunities for those pursuing a Mathematician career path. Whether you're interested in theoretical research, practical problem solving, data analysis, cryptology, or operational efficiency, there's a mathematics specialization that fits your interests and skills.

Mathematician Career Path Job Market and Outlook

The job market for mathematicians is highly favorable and projected to grow significantly in the coming years. With the increasing reliance on data and quantitative analysis in various industries, the demand for professionals with advanced mathematical skills has never been higher.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 33% growth in employment for mathematicians from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is expected due to businesses and government agencies' increasing need for mathematical expertise to analyze the massive amounts of data being collected.

Mathematicians often find employment in sectors such as academia, government, and private industries. The academia sector remains a significant employer for mathematicians, where they work as professors or researchers. In government agencies, mathematicians may work on data analysis to assist in decision-making processes. Private industries offer roles for mathematicians in various capacities, from developing algorithms for tech companies to risk assessment in insurance firms.

Geographical Factors

The job market for mathematicians also varies geographically. Certain areas have a higher concentration of jobs than others due to the presence of universities, research institutions, or industries that heavily rely on mathematical expertise. For instance, states like California and Massachusetts offer numerous opportunities due to their thriving tech industries and renowned universities.

Future Trends

Emerging fields like data science and artificial intelligence are shaping the future trends in the mathematician job market. These fields heavily rely on mathematical concepts, thereby increasing the demand for mathematicians. Furthermore, interdisciplinary fields combining mathematics with other disciplines like biology or economics are also growing, providing more opportunities for mathematicians.

Job Security and Advancement

As a mathematician, job security is relatively high due to the specialized nature of the work. Furthermore, there are ample opportunities for advancement. After gaining experience, mathematicians can progress to senior roles, lead research teams, or transition to managerial positions. Additionally, mathematicians with a PhD often have a competitive edge in both job security and advancement opportunities.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the job market outlook for mathematicians is positive, it's important to note that this career path can be challenging. It requires a high level of expertise and continuous learning. However, these challenges are also opportunities for those who enjoy solving complex problems and are willing to keep their skills up-to-date in this dynamic field.

Overall, the future looks promising for those considering a career path as a mathematician. With strong growth projections, diverse employment sectors, and emerging trends that favor mathematical skills, mathematicians are set to remain in high demand.

Mathematician Career Path Salary and Compensation

When considering a career as a mathematician, it's essential to understand the potential financial rewards. The salary and compensation package can be an influential factor in your decision-making process. Mathematicians often enjoy competitive salaries and benefits due to the high level of expertise required in this field.

Average Salary for Mathematicians

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for mathematicians was $105,030 in May 2019. However, these figures can vary widely depending on factors such as location, level of experience, sector (public or private), and specializations. For instance, those working in the federal government tend to have a higher median wage, while those in research and development services may earn slightly less.

Entry-Level Mathematician Salary

As an entry-level mathematician, you can expect a lower starting salary as you begin to gain practical experience and refine your skills. The BLS reports that the lowest 10 percent earned less than $58,370 annually. However, even at the entry-level, mathematicians often earn a higher salary than many other professions due to the specialized knowledge required.

Experienced Mathematician Salary

As you progress in your career and gain more experience, your earning potential as a mathematician can significantly increase. The top 10 percent of earners in this field made more than $160,550 annually, according to the BLS. This figure can be even higher for those who take on leadership roles or specialize in high-demand areas of mathematics.

Benefits and Perks

Beyond the base salary, mathematicians often enjoy a range of additional benefits and perks. These can include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, tuition reimbursement for continuing education, and more. Some employers may also offer bonuses or profit-sharing opportunities, further enhancing the overall compensation package.

Job Outlook for Mathematicians

The job outlook for mathematicians is positive, with the BLS projecting a 30 percent growth in employment from 2018 to 2028. This rate is much faster than the average for all occupations. The increasing demand for mathematical analysis and problem-solving in business, engineering, and the sciences will continue to drive job growth in this field. Overall, the salary and compensation for mathematicians can be quite rewarding, reflecting the significant knowledge and expertise required in this profession. Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced professional, a career as a mathematician offers ample opportunities for financial growth and stability.

Mathematician Career Path Tips for Success

The journey to becoming a successful mathematician may seem daunting, but with the right guidance and strategies, it is entirely achievable. Here are some essential tips to help you navigate the mathematician career path successfully.

Academic Preparation

Begin with a strong academic foundation in mathematics and related disciplines. A bachelor's degree in mathematics or a closely related field is a standard requirement to start your career. Most mathematicians also have a master’s degree or a Ph.D., especially those working in academia and research. Consider taking courses in statistics, calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and mathematical modeling. In addition, computer science classes will also be beneficial, as many mathematical computations and modeling are now done using specialized software.

Internships and Research Opportunities

Hands-on experience is vital in the field of mathematics. Internships and research opportunities provide practical exposure to real-world problems and enhance your analytical and problem-solving skills. They can also help you build professional connections and open up potential job opportunities. Look for internships in government agencies, financial institutions, engineering firms, or research laboratories that use mathematics extensively.


The field of mathematics is vast, and specialization can help set you apart from others. Whether it's applied mathematics, theoretical mathematics, statistics, or data analysis, find an area you are passionate about and dive deeper into it. Specializing not only increases your expertise but also makes you more marketable to employers looking for specific skill sets.


Although not mandatory, obtaining professional certifications can enhance your credibility as a mathematician. Certifications can demonstrate your proficiency in specific areas of mathematics or software tools commonly used in the field. Some popular certifications include Certified Mathematical Statistician by the American Statistical Association and Certified Analytics Professional (CAP).


Networking is crucial in any career, including mathematics. Attend industry conferences, join professional organizations, and participate in online forums and discussions related to mathematics. Networking can lead to collaborations, job opportunities, and staying updated on the latest trends and advancements in the field.

Continuous Learning

Mathematics is a dynamic field with new theories, applications, and methodologies continually emerging. As such, continuous learning is crucial for success in this career path. Keep yourself updated by attending workshops, enrolling in advanced courses, reading relevant publications, and engaging in independent research. Remember, the path to becoming a successful mathematician involves a combination of academic excellence, practical experience, specialization, certification, networking, and continuous learning. By following these tips, you can navigate your mathematician career path successfully and make significant contributions to the field.

What is a Mathematician?

A mathematician is a professional who uses advanced mathematical theories, techniques, and algorithms to solve practical problems in business, engineering, science, or other fields. They may work in academia, government, or the private sector, applying their knowledge and skills to various real-world situations.

What does a Mathematician do?

Mathematicians often use advanced mathematical methods and models to solve complex problems in various fields. Their daily tasks may include designing surveys or experiments to collect data, analyzing data using mathematical techniques, developing mathematical models to understand or predict real-world phenomena, and presenting findings to non-mathematical audiences.

What education is needed to become a Mathematician?

The entry-level education required for a career as a mathematician is typically a bachelor's degree in mathematics or a related field. However, most jobs in this field require a master's degree or Ph.D. in mathematics. These advanced degrees usually involve specialized courses in areas such as algebra, calculus, statistics, and mathematical modeling.

What skills are needed to become a Mathematician?

Mathematicians need strong analytical skills to identify, analyze, and apply mathematical principles to solve problems. They also need good communication skills to present complex mathematical concepts in ways that others can understand. Other important skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to use specialized mathematical software and tools.

What are the job prospects for Mathematicians?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of mathematicians 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 mathematical techniques in decision-making across many sectors of the economy.

What is the salary of a Mathematician?

The median annual wage for mathematicians was $105,030 in May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest 10 percent earned more than $160,550, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,150.

How to become a Mathematician?

Becoming a mathematician typically involves obtaining a bachelor's degree in mathematics or a related field, followed by a master's degree or Ph.D. in mathematics. It also involves developing strong analytical and problem-solving skills, gaining experience through internships or research projects, and staying updated on the latest mathematical theories and techniques.

What is the work environment of a Mathematician?

Mathematicians often work in comfortable office settings, but they may also work in laboratories or industrial plants depending on their specific roles. They often work as part of a team with engineers, scientists, and other professionals. Some mathematicians may also travel to attend conferences or to meet with clients.