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Jobs Outlook: Mathematicians




Competition is keen for the limited number of jobs as mathematicians. Employment of mathematicians is expected to decline through 2012, reflecting the decline in the number of jobs with the title mathematician. However, masterís and Ph.D. degree holders with a strong background in mathematics and a related discipline, such as engineering or computer science, should have better opportunities. Many of these workers have job titles that reflect their occupation, such as systems analyst, rather than the title mathematician, reflecting their primary educational background.

Advancements in technology usually lead to expanding applications of mathematics, and more workers with knowledge of mathematics will be required in the future. However, jobs in industry and government often require advanced knowledge of related scientific disciplines in addition to mathematics. The most common fields in which mathematicians study and find work are computer science and software development, physics, engineering, and operations research. More mathematicians also are becoming involved in financial analysis. Mathematicians must compete for jobs, however, with people who have degrees in these other disciplines. The most successful jobseekers will be able to apply mathematical theory to real-world problems, and possess good communication, teamwork, and computer skills.

Private industry jobs require at least a masterís degree in mathematics or in one of the related fields. Bachelorís degree holders in mathematics usually are not qualified for most jobs, and many seek advanced degrees in mathematics or a related discipline. However, bachelorís degree holders who meet State certification requirements may become primary or secondary school mathematics teachers. (For additional information, see the statement on teachersópreschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary, elsewhere in the Handbook.)

Holders of a masterís degree in mathematics will face very strong competition for jobs in theoretical research. Because the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded in mathematics continues to exceed the number of university positions available, many of these graduates will need to find employment in industry and government.