Careers in Mathematics
Yes, you can teach with a Mathematics major! But this page is devoted to showing the many outstanding non-academic career opportunities available to Mathematics majors at Baldwin-Wallace College and elsewhere. Please review the extensive information available here to see where your mathematical skills could take you after (or even before) graduation.
As you read, keep in mind that Mathematics not only makes a great major, it is also one of the best second majors around. For example, a Business student who also majors in Mathematics can grasp the quantitative side of business and finance in a way that other students may not be able to. Mathematics also combines powerfully with such majors as computer science and the traditional sciences. (It's also served as a good route to Law School, not to mention being quite valuable to the lawyer after Law School!) Even if you don't complete a full Mathematics major, the quantitative strength you gain from studying mathematics will enhance whatever career you choose.
The Big Picture
The best all-around sources for information about mathematical careers are the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America. Start your exploration of mathematical careers by visiting the following sites. Take your time!
Specific Mathematical Career Areas
The ways in which mathematics is used in the workplace are too numerous to list. However, there are a number of special areas of interest where mathematicians are especially concentrated:
- Actuarial Science
- Actuaries are experts in the mathematics and finance of risk, and they are in demand throughout the private and public sector. In the rankings published by Jobs Rated Almanac, "Actuary" has never been listed lower than the fourth best job (out of 250 rated), and in two editions of the Almanac was ranked first. Qualified actuaries are well paid and always in demand. If you like mathematics, statistics, and finance, then you should strongly consider this very rewarding career.
For an excellent on-line resource describing all aspects of the Actuarial profession, visit BeAnActuary.org. (Don't miss the very well-done ten-minute video A Career Without Boundaries.)
Also see Baldwin-Wallace College's Pre-Actuarial Course of Study intended to help students prepare for the first two of the all-important Actuarial Exams. Please review this site carefully to get more information about preparing for an Actuarial Career at B-W.
- Applied Mathematics
- The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics is the leading professional organization devoted to the advancement of applied mathematics. Their Careers & Jobs page not only lists openings in this vast field, but also gives an excellent summary of what applied mathematics is.
- Mathematical Finance
- Mathematical finance is the branch of applied mathematics that deals with the financial markets. As these markets become increasingly complicated, the mathematical tools used to analyze them become correspondingly more complex. Experts in mathematical finance are employed by financial institutions, investment banks, and commodities firms. An internet search on "mathematical finance" will bring up technical information, graduate programs, and more.
- Operations Research and Management Science
- According to thescienceofbetter.org, operations research is "the discipline of applying advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions". This is another very rewarding field for someone who enjoys applying mathematics to real-world situations. See the Institute for Operations Research and the Mathematical Sciences, especially their Career Page and Career Booklet.
- According to the American Statistical Association, statistics is "the scientific application of mathematical principles to the collection, analysis, and presentation of numerical data." An excellent resource for careers in statistics is the ASA's Career Center. Statisticians are in constant demand, with plentiful career opportunities in a wide variety of fields.
Finding a Position
Of course you want to get help writing a good resume, learn interview skills, etc. But here are some tips specifically for mathematics majors seeking employment:
- The MAA has an excellent new clearinghouse to link employers and applicants for both academic and non-academic positions in the mathematical sciences: mathclassifieds.org. Here you can search for openings, post a resume, set searches, and more. Internships are also listed. Everyone searching for a position in the mathematical sciences should make use of this resource. (Also see math-jobs.com.)
- Don't think that a position isn't for you just because it doesn't say "mathematics" in the title, or even the description! Many jobs whose most important requirement is an understanding of mathematics are disguised by titles like "Business Analyst", "Specialist", "Engineer", "Associate", etc. Read the description to see what the employer is really after.
- There are more employers of mathematics students than you might think! This list is by no means complete, but is provided to help you see the great opportunities available to those with solid mathematical training:
- The National Security Agency is likely the largest employer of mathematicians in the country. It is "the Nation's cryptologic organization. It coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. information systems and produce foreign intelligence information." Start with Careers and also see this snapshot of the crucial role that mathematics plays in the work of the Agency.
- Many other Federal Government agencies likewise hire people for their mathematical skills, for example the Federal Reserve System, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Social Security Administration, to name a few.
- Review the profiles here and here to see some of the many large and small private organizations that hire mathematically-trained graduates and interns.