Masters in Mathematics Jobs and Career Outlook

Masters in mathematics jobs and career outlook include many in-demand STEM job openings in the government and private sector. So what is the career outlook with a master’s in Mathematics? US News & World Report named mathematics America’s 18th best profession.

In the data-rich Information Age, a master’s degree in mathematics provides an edge in the job market. Most advanced math careers require at least a master’s degree to apply. An advanced degree in mathematics offers the theoretical base and analytical skills for a career in many industries. Graduates work in education, finance, technology, and business administration. 

In addition, many employers want mathematics graduates or individuals with a degree in a related field like computer science, electrical engineering, or physics. There is a clear need for mathematics master’s alums to conduct calculations on the corporate world’s vast amounts of data. So, let’s explore popular careers for mathematics graduates.

What are the Top Jobs with a Master’s in Mathematics Degree?

This graduate degree studies the scientific, theoretical, and mathematical analysis of numbers. There are jobs in many industries and a wide range of career paths for professionals with a master’s degree in math. Below are a few of the most popular career paths for graduates.

1. Mathematician

Mathematicians use math theories like algebra, calculus, geometry, and trigonometry to solve real-world problems. The United States has over 1,700 mathematicians working mainly for the government, research firms, colleges, banks, and corporations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the employment of statisticians and mathematicians to rise rapidly by 31 percent through 2031. Furthermore, the states with the most mathematicians are California, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and DC. Mathematicians with master’s degrees report an average annual wage of $112,430, ranging from $61,760 to $169,500.

Job Outlook: 31% increase from 2021 to 2031 (BLS)

Salary: $112,430 (BLS)

2. Statistician

Statisticians use various mathematical theories, statistics, and probability to predict data trends from empirical research based on a normal distribution. A statistical analyst may work in various settings, including pharmaceutical companies and consulting firms. The US employs 31,370 statisticians at government agencies, research and development institutions, universities, hospitals, and manufacturers.

By 2031, the demand for statisticians will increase faster than average by 33 percent. California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, and Texas employ the most statisticians. Masters-trained statisticians earn a yearly salary of $99,450, ranging from $49,350 to $157,300.

Job Outlook: 33% increase from 2021 to 2031 (BLS)

Salary: $99,450 (BLS)

3. Actuary

Actuaries are risk management professionals. They use analytical skills to determine the financial cost of risk or uncertainty. The financial risk assessment can also determine the potential profit for insurance policies, securities, and bonds. Many work for insurance companies and use statistical models, mathematical techniques, and also financial data to help businesses minimize risks and reduce costs.

According to the BLS, America has 23,600 actuaries who’ve passed the SOA Exam. These professionals work at banks, credit card companies, rating bureaus, investment firms, insurance carriers, labor unions, and also accounting businesses. The 10-year job outlook for actuaries shows faster-than-average growth of 21 percent. Most actuaries work in New York, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and also California. The median pay for actuaries is $105,900 annually.

Job Outlook: 21% increase from 2021 to 2031 (BLS)

Salary: $105,900 (BLS)

4. Math Teacher or Professor

Math teachers share their numerical expertise by writing and also implementing lesson plans that improve students’ content knowledge. The United States currently has 3.6 million full-time teachers across all subjects in K-12 schools. However, the BLS expects the need for teachers to increase by 5 percent in secondary education by 2031. California, Texas, New York, Ohio, and also Pennsylvania employ the most math teachers. Additionally, high school math teachers earn $61,820 yearly on average.

Teachers with master’s degrees also fill faculty positions at community colleges. Mathematics Professor is a teacher at a college or university. In addition to teaching courses in mathematics and statistics, they also develop and design curriculum plans. Most professors hold a PhD or other terminal degree.

Job Outlook: 5% increase from 2021 to 2031 (BLS)

Salary: $61,820 (BLS)

5. Data Scientists

A data scientist interprets large amounts of complex data to gain valuable insights. These professionals combine both mathematical skills and problem-solving skills to find insights. They use data analytics collection methods and also coding tools to perform these statistical analyses. Insights help improve a company’s operations and create business solutions. They may extract information from data by using tools, systems, and complex algorithms.

The average salary for a Data Analytics professional is around $98,680 per year.

Job Outlook: 29% increase from 2021 to 2031 (BLS)

Salary: $98,680 (BLS)

6. Operations Research Analysts

Operations research specialists evaluate business operations using mathematics and logic to optimize performance and also reduce fixed costs. These analysts may help managers decide how to allocate resources. Or they may work to develop production schedules, set prices, and oversee supply chain logistics.

Job Outlook: 23% increase from 2021 to 2031 (BLS)

Salary: $82,360 (BLS)

7. Machine Learning Specialists

These professionals specialized in Machine Learning. This branch of computer science develops algorithms that can learn from or adapt to primary data and, thus, make predictions. Computer scientists need advanced math education combined with technical computing skills and education. Most have a master’s degree in Computer Science or related fields like mathematics or also engineering.

Job Outlook: 21% increase from 2021 to 2031 (BLS)

Salary: $131,490 (BLS)

8. Quantitative Analyst or Financial Analyst  

Financial Analysts and Quantitative Analysts typically work for hedge funds, investment banks, and also insurance firms. These financial analysts use mathematical methods and complex models to solve financial and risk management problems. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and also other types of securities and investments to determine which carry high levels of risk.

There are a few types of financial analysts specializing in specific investing areas. A master’s degree in mathematics or a related quantitative field is the minimum requirement for employment in many specializations. Below are examples of different types of financial analysts.

  • Financial Risk Specialists
  • Quantitative Analyst or Quant
  • Fund Managers 
  • Investment Analysts 
  • Portfolio Managers 
  • Ratings Analysts 
  • Securities Analysts 

Job Outlook: 9% increase from 2021 to 2031 (BLS)

Salary: Financial and Investment Analysts is $95,570 (BLS), and Financial Risk Specialists is $100,000.

9. Cryptographer or Information Security Analyst

Cryptographers are Information Security Analysts who encrypt confidential data to protect it. The science of Cryptography uses mathematics to hide data with encryption. It involves storing secret information with a key or mathematical value that plugs into an algorithm.

These professionals typically hold computer science degrees but also need strong mathematical skills. So, individuals with an analytics or mathematics degree and computer skills also work in this field.

Job Outlook: 35% increase from 2021 to 2031 (BLS)

Salary: $102,600 (BLS)

Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Mathematics?

Many jobs require a basic or advanced understanding of mathematical concepts. Entry-level jobs require a bachelor’s degree. But a master’s degree in mathematics qualifies individuals for the best jobs and higher salaries. Furthermore, a master’s degree in mathematics qualifies graduates for many advanced jobs. So, a mathematics degree is a great way to improve your career prospects and earning potential. Your master’s degree can lead to a wide range of leadership opportunities.

What Kind of Math Degrees are There?

  • Master of Arts (MA) in Mathematics
  • Master of Science (MS) in Mathematics
  • PhD degree in Mathematics

What are Some Popular Mathematics Specializations?

A math specialization depends on your career goals. Below are some of the most popular math master’s specializations.

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Algebra and Number Theory
  • Functional Analysis
  • Statistics

What Courses Do You Take in a Math Master’s Program?

Below are some typical mathematics courses students in a graduate program take.

  • Number Theory
  • Applied Partial Differential Equations
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Vector Calculus
  • Topology and Geometry
  • Quantitative Finance
  • Probability, Stochastic Processes, and Combinatorics
  • Statistics and Game Theory
  • Machine or AI Learning
  • Data Mining and Management

Other Career Opportunities

There are many opportunities for mathematics graduates and even more for those who complete an internship. Below are some other jobs for individuals with a mathematics master’s degree.

  • Accountant
  • GIS Analyst

How Long Does it Take to Earn a Master’s in Math?

There are two standard master’s degrees for math. Both the Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) degrees in mathematics take about two years to complete, and some require a research project or thesis. These programs prepare graduates for careers in teaching and other jobs in the private sector.

What are the Application Requirements for Graduate Program in Mathematics?

The requirements vary from school to school, but below are some of the most common requirements.

  • an undergraduate bachelor’s degree
  • a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale
  • GRE score of 151 or higher, if requested
  • one to three letters of recommendation 
  • a statement of purpose outlining why you seek a graduate degree in math
  • relevant work experience or math research experience may also set you apart from other candidates

Is a Master’s Degree in Mathematics Worth it?

Yes. Job prospects for math graduate students are excellent, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports these jobs are among the highest-paying jobs in STEM fields. In addition, people with master’s degrees in mathematics hold various positions and pay exceptionally well. So, a healthy job market and great pay make this advanced degree worthwhile!

What are the Best Schools for a Math Master’s Degree?

Top-notch math master’s schools include Cornell, Case Western Reserve, Johns Hopkins, Lehigh, Michigan Tech, Rice, San Diego State, Tulane, and also Western Washington. Some universities, such as Texas A&M and James Madison, even have full online options.

Additionally, the American Mathematical Society (AMS) database searches for graduate programs and is a great tool. So, prospective students can now have confidence that the career outlook with a Master’s in Mathematics is very bright.

Other Career Opportunities

Mathematics master’s alumni have many other career opportunities, such as economist, financial manager, budget analyst, accountant, fraud investigator, data miner, and algorithms engineer. Some excel in operations research, where jobs are booming with 27 percent growth.