Careers in Mathematics (that do not involve a graduate degree)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has updated information about the job situation for mathematics majors. Even if you do not wish to pursue graduate work, there are many options for a mathematics major in industry, government, and education.
If you like to give back to your community and serve kids, teaching mathematics at the secondary school level can be very rewarding. Every year, many of the positions advertised for secondary school teachers in mathematics go unfilled. Schools are desperate for caring, qualified mathematics teachers.
Perhaps the most popular and among the most lucrative jobs for mathematics majors is in the computer industry. Since computer programming is very mathematical, it makes sense that many mathematics majors do very well in it; but mathematics majors are qualified to address more fundamental issues in the design of the project and in creating new algorithms for new problems. Furthermore, many issues in computers like computer graphics, compression of pictures and sound for the Web, and setting up networks (to name a few examples) involve a great deal of mathematics, and as a result, many computer companies specifically hire mathematics majors.
Many of the same reasons that mathematics majors end up in the computer industry also apply to fields of engineering. The field of engineering involves a great deal of mathematics, and as a result, many engineering firms hire mathematics majors. Your training in mathematics will prepare you to quickly learn the specific issues in a new field, and your creative problem solving skills will be a strong asset to the engineering firm.
There has been a great deal of interest in mathematical biology because of many recent breakthroughs in studying DNA and proteins. Many biotech companies hire mathematics majors because of the high (and growing) mathematical content of the field.
From the U.S. National Security Agency to a smaller company doing commerce on the web, the demand for mathematicians that can understand the number-theoretic issues in cryptography is great.
Among the highest-paid professions are actuaries, who compute the statistics behind life insurance other tables of predictive data. More information is at www.BeAnActuary.org. You can find listings of actuarial jobs at www.actuaryjobs.com, a site hosted by D.W. Simpson Actuarial Search.
More generally, the proliferation of statistics in everything ranging from business to government has brought many organizations to seek mathematics majors. Find out more at www.amstat.org/education/careers.html.
Most branches and agencies in the U.S. government use mathematicians, for the reasons mentioned above. Particularly noteworthy are the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the General Accounting Office.
Most financial companies hire mathematicians to study financial models and make predictions based on statistical evidence.
Management consulting firms look for individuals who can quickly find the root of a problem, and find creative and effective solutions, and critically choose from among many options.
More information can be obtained at www.ams.org/careers. There are profiles of individual careers at http://www.maa.org/careers/.