Mathematics & Statistics

 

Earnings Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earnings of statisticians were $58,620 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $42,770 and $80,690. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,870, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $100,500.  Median annual earnings of mathematicians were $81,240 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $60,050 and $101,360. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $43,160, while the highest 10 percent earned over $120,900.

Facts at a glance

  • A master’s degree in statistics or mathematics is the minimum educational requirement for most jobs as a statistician.
  • Employment of statisticians is projected to grow more slowly than average because many jobs that require a degree in statistics will not carry the title “statistician.”
  • The number of jobs with the title “mathematician” is declining as the workforce becomes increasingly specialized; competition will be keen for the limited number of available jobs.
  • Master’s and Ph.D. degree holders with a strong background in mathematics and a related field, such as computer science or engineering, should have better employment opportunities in related occupations.

 

Summary of what this career entails

Although employment opportunities exist for individuals with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in statistics or mathematics is usually the minimum educational requirement for most statistician jobs. Research and academic positions in institutions of higher education, for example, require at least a master’s degree, and usually a Ph.D., in statistics. Beginning positions in industrial research often require a master’s degree combined with several years of experience.

Examples and or details of work

Manufacturing firms will hire statisticians with master’s and doctoral degrees for quality control of various products, including pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, aircraft, chemicals, and food. For example, pharmaceutical firms will employ statisticians to assess the effectiveness and safety of new drugs, to decide whether to market them, and to make sure they comply with federal standards. Much of the work in applied mathematics is done by individuals with titles other than mathematician. In fact, because mathematics is the foundation on which so many others academic disciplines are built, the number of workers using mathematical techniques is much greater than the number formally designated as mathematicians. For example, engineers, computer scientists, physicists, and economists are among those who use mathematics extensively.

Degrees that lead to this career

A Ph.D. degree in mathematics usually is the minimum educational requirement to be mathematician or statistician. Some of the degrees individuals can attain include:

  • B.S. in Mathematics & Statistics
  • B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies/Math/ Physics
  • M.S. in Mathematics & Statistics
  • M.S. in Mathematics
  • M.S. in Statistics
  • M.S. in Education-Mathematics

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Mathematicians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos043.htm.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Statisticians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos045.htm.

 

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