## The Field of Mathematics

Math is a very broad subject that covers everything from basic addition and subtraction to ordinary differential equations. The two main types of mathematics are pure mathematics and applied mathematics.

**Pure maths** – mathematics performed in order to find statistics, probabilities, and other answers to specific math inquiries and theories; not applied to real world situations; performing math for the sake of finding mathematical answers

**Applied maths** – mathematics performed in order to solve physical, real world problems; math with practical use; used in business, engineering, science, etc.

## How to Get Your Math Degree

In order to earn a degree of any sort, you must first choose to continue your educational career at an esteemed college or university. It is important that you pick a school that best suits your goals. For example, if you want to earn a bachelors degree in math, you should research higher education facilities with highly-rated math programs. Some schools with exceptional math programs are described here. Click on their links to find out more.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is number 1 on Business Insider’s 10 Best Colleges for Math Whizzes. Here, you will gain the basic knowledge of many types of mathematics within the first few courses in the math program, and from there you are able to shape your studies to focus on the specific area of your interest (i.e., algebra, calculus, etc.). From there, you have the opportunity to advance in the world of academia even farther by joining their graduate program to earn a masters degree in mathematics or mathematics education. The university’s student-faculty ratio is 19:1.

Second on Business Insider’s list is Michigan State University, offering its students a variety of degrees in mathematics including a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, and a PhD in Mathematics Education. This opportunity and the student-faculty ratio of 16:1 are just two reasons you should consider Michigan State as one of your choices for a proper education in math.

Lebanon Valley College falls in at number 3 on the list of best colleges for mathematics. Located in Annville, PA, this private liberal arts school has a unique math department that offers students the option to major in actuarial science, computer science, mathematics, and even earn a secondary teacher certificate. LVC students can also participate in the Mathematical Physics Research Group that blends math and physics majors as well as students majoring in computer science to create and perform research projects in order to build experience in addition to academic knowledge in their fields.

## Math Careers

Once you earn your degree in math, many doors are open to you. With the knowledge you will have received from studying hard to earn that degree, you will qualify for a world full of opportunities.

### Entry Level Math Careers

People with bachelor degrees in math are capable of traveling down a wide array of career paths. Below, you will find just a few ideas of where you can begin once you take that first step into the rest of your life.

#### Revenue Accounting and Controls Associate

In this entry level job position, you will be a member of a company’s finance department responsible for keeping track of its revenue and making sure transactions occur smoothly. You’ll work closely with accounting, as well. For this reason, it is imperative that you possess great verbal and written communication and are highly experienced in the practice of mathematics.

Revenue accounting and controls associates can make around $42,000 with room for promotions as their levels of experience and accuracy increase.

#### Budget Analyst

Budget analysts are responsible for just that–analyzing budgets to be sure they’re accurate and carried out properly while meeting specified regulations. Expectations include excellent communication and analytical skills, the ability to pay strict attention to details in order to be sure numbers are on spot, and a determination to meet deadlines.Budget analysts can make anywhere from $30,000 to over $80,000, depending on your experience and the company you work for. For instance, a budget analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense can make an average of $77,000 annually.

#### Actuary

Many people are quite unfamiliar with this job title and all it entails, but it is a very good job to have. Actuaries are responsible for determining repercussions of financial risks so that companies are better prepared to make financial decisions by knowing potential outcomes. Analytical skills are highly valued in actuaries, as are good reasoning and communication skills for presenting the calculated risks to the finance and accounting departments of a business. To become an actuary, you should obtain at least a bachelors degree in math with a concentration in finance or actuarial science (of course, a masters in said concentration would nearly guarantee you a position).

Actuaries are capable of starting at $60,000 a year. Some companies will pay you to receive specific certifications, as well, which will boost your salary in no time.

### Advanced Careers in Math

With a masters degree or higher in the field of mathematics, you will have even more career path choices. Some are listed below to merely get you started on your journey to find the path that’s right for you.

#### Applied Mathematician

Applied mathematicians take the mathematical skills they learned from high school to their very last days achieving their master or doctoral degrees in mathematics or statistics and apply them to real life situations. They tackle theoretical issues in everything from the world of engineering to that of economics with the use of mathematical theories and tests. They are skilled in solving problems accurately in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. They also possess good communication skills that they use to present their solutions to businesses.

A freshly graduated mathematics or statistics major who earned a doctoral degree can expect to make around $50,000 a year to start, with the potential to reach over $97,000 as he/she gains even more knowledge and experience.

#### Math Professor

If you decide you want to become a member of a university math department by educating students young and old in specific areas of math such as statistics, you’ll need at least a masters degree in mathematics or a specific field. Math professors possess excellent communication skills in order to properly educate their students by presenting the content in multiple ways in order for everyone to understand. Patience is also a highly important quality, as every student learns at a different pace and not everyone understands a lesson the first time it is presented. One-on-one conversing also often occurs when students don’t understand concepts and approach their professors after class or during office hours.

A math professor with a masters degree in math or a related field can earn an average of $82,000 a year; whereas, a professor of mathematics with a doctoral degree can earn around $90,000.

#### Economist

Economists are responsible for determining problems and flaws in the system of economics directly related to goods and services provided by businesses in specific industries related to land and its raw materials. They put their master and doctoral degrees to use by analyzing and developing solutions for the issues they uncover. A masters degree is typically required, but a doctoral degree is preferred.

Economists are capable of earning around $90,000 annually.

## Companies that Hire Individuals with Math Degrees

Tons of companies around the globe hire people with bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees in some form of mathematics. Many insurance companies search for actuaries and mathematicians, and schools around the world are in search of math geniuses with excellent leadership abilities. Just a few companies that hire for these positions and more are listed below.

Sentry Insurance – located in Thorndale, PA; offers commercial, auto, life, among other insurance policies; hires people with actuarial, finance, and other knowledge related to mathematics

Fannie Mae – mortgage company founded during the Great Depression in 1938; hires positions for economists, finance analysts, business analysts, etc.

Children’s Mercy Hospital & Clinic – hospital in Kansas City, MO; hires budget analysis experts, finance analysts, engineers, etc.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – locations throughout the globe; hires mathematicians, survey technicians, architects, project engineers, and others with exceedingly advanced mathematical knowledge

Georgia Tech Research Institute – located in Atlanta, GA; hires mathematicians, research specialists, economists, etc.

These are all just some of the options available in the field of mathematics. When you earn your math degree from any college or university, you’re sure to find an interesting and exciting job with great benefits and an attractive salary. Don’t hesitate. Start submitting college applications as early as first semester of your senior year in high school.

February 26, 2015

I think one should only pursue a higher math degree (such as a doctorate) if one is really passionate about the subject. But if that is the case, then it might be the start of one of the most fascinating experiences of your life; it can be very addictive and engrossing. Teaching can be very rewarding (especially when your students are engaged). One of the frustrations with teaching is that many students (and colleges) see math courses as a means to filter strong students from weak ones, or just a basic prerequisite; as a result some students may not be very interested in the subject material itself – they are just interested in getting a decent mark at the end of the class. When you can take those students to a deeper place, where they get in touch with the beauty of math – symmetry, geometry, the structure behind the patterns and mechanics of the world – it can be exhilarating for everyone involved.

But it is a lot of hard work, and while research can be very exciting, there are also a lot of frustrating dead ends (by necessity). It takes a lot of patience, and some humility.