Average Salary for Math Majors (Plus 11 Job Titles)
Updated May 2, 2023
A math degree teaches critical thinking and reasoning skills that are useful in a variety of career paths. Many people who pursue this major move on to pursue careers that allow them to earn a high average salary. If you have a math degree or if you're thinking about getting one, it's helpful to know specific jobs that use the skills that math degree courses teach.
In this article, we discuss common jobs for math majors and their average salaries to help you determine the best math-related path for you.
What is the average salary for math majors?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for math occupations is $98,680 per year. Your specific salary may depend on factors like what industry you're working in and how much experience you have. Many mathematicians and other math degree holders enter the industry with a master's degree, but some also work with a bachelor's degree.
Common jobs for math majors
A degree in math can help you do well in many positions, but certain jobs are common for math majors, including the following. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please visit Indeed.com/salaries.
1. Math teacher
National average salary: $53,720 per year
Primary duties: A math teacher's role is to explain mathematics principles and teach students how to solve complex problems independently. A math teacher typically works in a middle school or high school and their salary depends on the specific area they're working in and how many years they've been teaching. Public school teaching jobs come with government employee benefits like health insurance and a pension after a certain number of years.
National average salary: $60,942 per year
Primary duties: An accountant keeps track of a business's finances and creates regular financial reports. All businesses keep financial records, so accountants can find work in every industry. They often work in accounting firms or accounting departments of companies. Employers can hire math majors for this role because it involves using mathematical equations and formulas.
Read more: Learn About Being an Accountant
3. Operations research analyst
National average salary: $65,061 per year
Primary duties: Operations research analysts use mathematical models and algorithms to optimize business operations, such as production schedules, supply chain logistics and resource allocation. They may work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare and transportation. Math majors who develop skills in operations research analysis may find a lucrative career in optimizing business operations.
4. Insurance underwriter
National average salary: $66,029 per year
Primary duties: Insurance underwriters use probability and statistics to determine the price of insurance policies for insurance companies. This price provides the necessary benefits for customers while also maximizing profits for the insurance company. Math majors can do well in this career because it involves analyzing numbers and using predictive mathematical models.
5. Financial analyst
National average salary: $72,269 per year
Primary duties: Financial analysts use mathematical skills to prepare and analyze diverse financial statements. They can work in many industries because every public company in the U.S. releases financial information. Financial analysts use this data to help companies determine their financial goals.
Read more: Learn About Being a Financial Analyst
National average salary: $91,826 per year
Primary duties: Economists study and make predictions about the economy based on data to help influence financial policies and decisions. Economists often work within government or research organizations where their guidance can help inform decisions on financial matters like the national interest rate or the size of import taxes. Someone with a bachelor's degree in math may increase their earning potential as an economist by obtaining a master's degree or a doctorate.
National average salary: $99,899 per year
Primary duties: Mathematicians use mathematical formulas and equations to analyze and manipulate data for businesses and organizations. They can solve problems like determining the feasibility of purchasing new inventory or if distribution trucks can take a different, less expensive route. They often work in government and public education roles, but they may obtain private industry jobs in industries like banking and computer science as well. Math majors may have an advantage in this role because the degree teaches how to read and write mathematical reports.
National average salary: $100,968 per year
Primary duties: A Cryptographer uses mathematical algorithms and principles to develop secure communication protocols and data encryption techniques. They may work in government agencies, financial institutions or technology companies. Math majors who develop skills in cryptography can negotiate higher salaries due to the demand for those with expertise in this field.
National average salary: $105,577 per year
Primary duties: Actuaries use their knowledge of math and statistics to help businesses assess financial risks. They often work for insurance companies and help determine policy rates by estimating the likelihood of events like unpredictable storms and last-minute cancelations of large, ticketed gatherings. Actuaries can also work in industries like banking and consulting where they predict the risks associated with large investments.
Read more: Learn About Being an Actuary
10. Software engineer
National average salary: $108,608 per year
Primary duties: Software engineers create and test software for businesses, often working with companies that have complex technological needs. Software engineers may work with companies that focus on technology, but many non-tech companies use software engineers as well. A plumbing company might hire a software engineer to build its website or a financial company might employ a software engineer to protect and organize sensitive data. A math degree can help someone find a job in software because it teaches ideas and algorithms that are also important in computer science.
Read more: Learn About Being a Software Engineer
11. Data scientist
National average salary: $123,493 per year
Primary duties: Data scientists use mathematical and statistical tools to analyze large datasets and extract insights that can be used to inform business decisions. Data science is an increasingly popular field as larger data sets become more common in the information economy. Math majors who develop skills in data science can expect to earn competitive salaries.
Note that figures from Glassdoor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) help supplement data from Indeed.
How to increase your salary as a math major
Here are some steps you can take to improve your salary after graduating with this major:
1. Earn an advanced degree
Obtaining an advanced degree may help you earn more money as a math major because many employers prefer a master's degree for math-based roles and may be willing to pay more for that qualification. If you know what you want to do or the kind of company you want to work for, you can research the requirements and figure out if an advanced degree is required. While some advanced roles within academia may require a Ph.D., private industry jobs for mathematicians more commonly require a bachelor's or master's degree.
2. Obtain a Chartered Financial Analyst certificate
A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certificate can potentially affect your salary as a mathematics major as the specialized training may qualify you for senior-level positions as a financial analyst. To complete the certificate, you're required to earn a four-year college degree or four years of working experience. After you satisfy this requirement, you log 4,000 hours of work experience within 36 months and then pass three exams to earn your qualification.
3. Get a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority license
Obtaining a license issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority can enable you to pursue advanced or lucrative roles selling financial products in a bank or similar organization. One of these licenses certifies you to sell certain financial products that can only be sold by people with the appropriate active FINRA license. For example, you require the Series 7 license, also known as the general securities representative (GS) license, to legally sell individual securities, including preferred stocks and fixed-income investments. This licensing process also involves an exam.
4. Complete an internship
With an internship, you accept a lower salary at first with the expectation that it may lead to a better opportunity in the future. An internship allows you to connect with a company professionally and demonstrate your ability to work. You may also meet people who can help you find a job elsewhere. Whether you're in school or a recent graduate, a great way to find internships is by reaching out to people you know and letting them know that you're looking for a position. Additionally, you might try reaching out to your academic adviser at school.
Skills for math majors
Here are some skills that you can develop to raise your salary as a math major:
Quantitative reasoning: Quantitative reasoning involves the ability to understand and apply mathematical concepts to real-world problems and this skill is highly valuable in many industries, including finance, engineering and data analysis. Employers look for candidates who can analyze data, identify trends and patterns and make informed decisions based on quantitative information.
Numeracy skills: Math majors typically have strong numeracy skills, which include the ability to understand and manipulate numbers, perform calculations and use mathematical concepts to solve problems. Numeracy skills are important in many fields, including finance, accounting and scientific research.
Communication skills: This skill is important in many industries, including education, finance and research. Being able to explain complex concepts to non-experts is an important skill that can help math majors distinguish themselves in the job market.
Problem-solving skills: Math majors can solve complex problems using a variety of mathematical techniques. This skill is useful in many industries, including finance, engineering and computer science.
Research skills: Mathematicians often engage in research projects during their studies, which gives them valuable experience in conducting research, analyzing data and presenting findings. These skills are potentially useful in many industries, including academia, finance and scientific research.
Analytical reasoning: Math majors often think analytically, separating complex problems into smaller components, analyzing them and developing solutions.
Critical thinking: This skill involves the ability to evaluate information, identify biases and make informed decisions based on evidence. Critical thinking is important in many fields, including finance, law and scientific research.
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