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A major in Mathematics opens many careers, including many in the list of best and top professions. A 2009 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers tracking college graduates' job offers reveal that the top 15 highest-earning college degrees have a common element: mathematics. Most of these top 15 degrees relate to various branches of engineering and computer science.
The list of careers for mathematics majors extends to include jobs as mathematicians in government and private sector, and jobs in statistics, actuarial science, computer science, operation research biomathematics, business finance and teaching.
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The government remains a major employer of mathematics majors. Major employers include the US Department of Defense, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the US Census Bureau.
Mathematicians working for the government apply their knowledge of analysis, probability, and statistics to develop new statistical methodologies, perform computing research to solve problems, make models and practice forecasting, design surveys, and more.
In all, such mathematicians held 2900 jobs in 2008. This includes mathematicians working for the government as well as similar jobs in private sector research organizations.
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One of the most common careers involving mathematics is statistics. Statisticians collect and study data to make effective analyses of the issues at hand.
Mathematics majors seeking a career as statisticians find work in the government, scientific research and development services, insurance carriers, and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing. They usually design surveys and experiments that facilitate better decision- making.
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One of the fastest growing career options for people who have majored in mathematics is actuarial science. Actuarial science involves applying the knowledge of mathematics, probability, statistics, finance, economics, current affairs, and social trends to predict the probability of events happening in the future, and create policies and make business investment decisions. A strong background in mathematics remains the major requirement.
The major employers of actuaries are insurance companies and management, scientific, and technical consulting houses.
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Another good career incorporating mathematics is computer science. Mathematics majors can apply their ability to think logically and precisely to various areas of computer science such as systems engineering, software engineering, and programming.
One niche profession related to computer science is cryptography, or the scientific approach to hide information. Cryptographers apply their knowledge of mathematics and computer science to generate computer passwords, ATM cards, and access control mechanisms.
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Biomathematics or mathematical biology is an interdisciplinary field combining mathematics and biology. Biomathematicians prepare models of natural and biological processes using mathematical tools and techniques. The application extends to areas such as cellular neurobiology, epidemic modeling, and population genetics.
Major employers of biomathematicians include the government and large research organizations.
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Business management, especially finance management and even marketing management ranks amongst the popular careers with mathematics.
Mathematics is an important component of business management. Mathematics majors apply their knowledge of analysis, probability, and statistics to seek effective ways for the organization to raise, allocate, and use monetary resources over time, and consider the risks involved. Mathematicians involved in business management require knowledge of computer science, and marketing as well.
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Operations research involves formulating and applying mathematical modeling techniques to resolve problems and make better business decisions. This field requires strong quantitative and computing skills, besides knowledge in economics and engineering. Operations research helps to create better business strategies and helps to manage money, materials, and other resources optimally.
Operations research analysts find employment in almost every industry. It also ranks amongst the best jobs for introverts.
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Teaching is another stable and popular career choice for people with mathematics degrees. Depending on the level, mathematics teachers teach arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and many other skills. The total number of post-secondary teaching jobs in mathematics alone was 54,800 in 2008.
Most of the jobs available from the list of careers for mathematics majors found above are high growth jobs in great demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the overall job prospects of mathematics will grow by 22 percent through 2018, which is faster than the average of all professions.
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- Mathematical Association of America. “Mathematical Careers.” http://www.maa.org/careers/. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
- Westfield State College. “Careers for Mathematical Majors.” http://www.wsc.ma.edu/math/careers/math.html. Retrieved 10 March 2011
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11” www.bls.gov. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
Image Credit: flickr.com/Mike Cattell