Mathematicians held about 2,900 jobs in 2018. Most mathematicians work for the federal government or for private scientific and engineering research and development companies.
The industries that employed the most mathematicians in 2018 were as follows:
Federal government  40%  

19  
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services  5 
Mathematicians typically work in offices. They also may work on teams with engineers, scientists, and other professionals.
Work Schedules
Most mathematicians work full time. Deadlines and lastminute requests for data or analysis may require overtime. In addition, mathematicians may have to travel to attend seminars and conferences.
Mathematicians typically need a master’s degree in mathematics. However, there are some positions available for those with a bachelor's degree.
Education
In private industry, mathematicians typically need an advanced degree, either a master’s degree or a doctorate. For jobs with the federal government, candidates need at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or significant coursework in mathematics.
Most colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Courses usually include calculus, differential equations, and linear and abstract algebra. Many colleges and universities advise or require mathematics students to take courses in a related field, such as computer science, engineering, physics, or statistics. Because mathematicians often work with data analysis software, computer programming courses may be particularly beneficial for students.
Many universities offer master’s and doctoral degrees in theoretical or applied mathematics. Many students who get a doctoral degree work as professors of mathematics in a college or university.
Because mathematicians often work with data analysis software, computer programming courses may be particularly beneficial for students.
Students who are interested in becoming mathematicians should take as many math courses as possible in high school.
Mathematicians typically have an interest in the Thinking, Creating Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Creating interest area indicates a focus on being original and imaginative, and working with artistic media. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.
If you are not sure whether you have a Thinking or Creating or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a mathematician, you can take a career test to measure your interests.
Mathematicians should also possess the following specific qualities:
Analytical skills. Mathematicians use mathematical techniques and models to analyze large amounts of data. They must be precise and accurate in their analysis.
Communication skills. Mathematicians must interact with and propose solutions to people who may not have extensive knowledge of mathematics.
Math skills. Mathematicians use statistics, calculus, and linear algebra to develop their models and analyses.
Problemsolving skills. Mathematicians must devise new solutions to problems encountered by scientists or engineers.
The median annual wage for mathematicians was $105,030 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $58,100, and the top 10 percent earned more than $162,060.
In May 2019, the median annual wages for mathematicians in the top five industries in which these mathematicians worked were as follows:

$123,270  
Federal government  112,800  
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private  62,780 
Most mathematicians work full time. Deadlines and lastminute requests for data or analysis may require overtime. In addition, mathematicians may have to travel to attend seminars and conferences.
Employment of mathematicians is projected to grow 26 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 800 new jobs over the 10year period.
The amount of digitally stored data will increase over the next decade as more people and companies conduct business online and use social media, smartphones, and other mobile devices. As a result, businesses will increasingly need mathematicians to analyze the large amount of information and data collected. Analyses will help companies improve their business processes, design and develop new products, and even advertise products to potential customers.
Mathematicians will also be needed to help information security analysts create datasecurity systems to protect the confidentiality and personal information of individuals.
Job Prospects
Because the occupation is small and there are relatively few mathematician positions, strong competition for jobs is expected. Despite the strong competition for mathematician positions, many candidates with a background in advanced mathematical techniques and modeling will find positions in other closely related fields.
Those with a graduate degree in math, very strong quantitative and data analysis skills, and a background in a related discipline, such as business, computer science, or statistics, should have the best job prospects. Computer programming skills are also important to many employers.
Many candidates with a background in advanced mathematical techniques and modeling also may find good job opportunities in other, closely related fields.
In addition to technical skills, applicants with strong communication skills and the ability to interpret and present their data and findings will have stronger job prospects.
For more information about mathematicians, including training, especially for doctorallevel employment, visit
For specific information on careers in applied mathematics, visit
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
For information on job openings as a mathematician with the federal government, visit