It's become self-evident that the belief that going to college is a shrewd financial investment regardless of what you happen to study. That being said, certain majors lead to career paths that pay more rewardingly. Major in the soft sciences or humanities and chances are strong that your income will be enough for a comfortable life. Major in math, however, and you're probably going to be looking at a more lucrative career. Mathematical aptitude is scarce and the coursework is demanding. Master it, and you could be setting yourself up for a lifetime of healthy paychecks. The following are some of the top paying math-related careers. The latest available information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is as of May 2018.
Actuaries are responsible for minimizing financial risk by using math and statistics. They've traditionally been associated with the insurance industry but their expertise has started to be used in other business industries as well. In the insurance industry, they use their knowledge to predict the probability of certain outcomes, such as accidents and deaths and the costs associated with them. The average actuary makes $102,880 a year. The education level required to be an actuary is a bachelor's degree. There were approximately 25,000 actuaries in the U.S. in 2018.
For those math students adept at applying their knowledge to the physical world, designing planes, missiles, rockets, satellites, and spacecraft is an interesting and noteworthy area of employment. An aerospace engineer earns a median salary of $115,220. There are about 67,200 aerospace engineering jobs in the U.S. and they require a bachelor's degree in an engineering field.
In most universities, the mathematics department is separate from the probability and statistics department. Statistics as a profession means not only designing experiments and interpreting the data collected from them but reaching conclusions that have a profound effect on the direction of the industry. A statistician earns a median salary of $87,780 and usually has a master's or doctorate degree.
A mathematician is an appropriate career for someone who majors in mathematics. Being a mathematician is a profession that requires its practitioners to solve problems. What's the optimal way to get these pallets from the distribution center to the retail outlets? How much money could we save by having the trucks drive a different route? Or switching to diesel? Or using trains instead? That's just one extremely narrow example, but mathematicians have their place throughout dozens of industries. A typical professional mathematician can expect to earn $101,900 annually. Like a statistician, a mathematician typically needs a master's degree for most jobs.
For thousands, this is the culmination: the ideal job for the student who wants to not only study math but tie it to the tangible rewards of the marketplace. "Financial analysis" doesn't take a formal definition, but among other things, it means knowing how to compile, prepare, read, and analyze financial statements that all public companies must create and disseminate. At higher levels, it means determining what capital investments to make, how to pay for them, and where to finance them. When a company decides to issue stock, or buy it back, or split it, financial analysts are the ones doing the work.
A bachelor's degree is sufficient for most financial analyst positions, however, certain roles require additional qualifications. A license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is required to sell certain financial products. Other qualifications can include certifications, though they aren't always necessary. The most common and popular certificate is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
The requisite college degree is essential, but it's only a starting point to becoming a CFA. More study, more examinations, and, if you're willing to put in the time, four years of work experience are all necessary. However, once you become a CFA, you'll be recognized (and employable) all over the world. The median salary for a financial analyst in the United States is $85,660 and there are 329,500 financial analyst jobs in the U.S.
The number of countries that administer the CFA designation.
The Bottom Line
Specialize in the field of mathematics and you'll have strong employment choices. Whether it's an actuary, CFA, or aerospace engineer, there are plenty of careers to choose from. If you have the skills, you're likely to take home a healthy paycheck.