Careers in Mathematics
About 40% of our mathematics majors plan to become K–12 teachers. Good K–12 mathematics teachers are always in demand. A few of our majors do graduate studies in mathematics, and end up teaching at the college level.
Many Careers Besides Teaching
You may be one of those students who likes mathematics, but who does not want to teach, and who wonders what else can be done with a mathematics major. There are umpteen career opportunities for you! They are challenging, and interesting.
Here is a sampling of what you might consider. Some of these fields require study beyond the undergraduate degree. For many you will find companies willing to employ you while you are doing these studies, and to pay for your studies. For some of these careers it is a good idea to combine the mathematics major with a minor in a related field.
The hottest career in the mathematical sciences, with high demand and high salaries! Actuaries use mathematics to analyze risk. Just one of the places where you will find actuaries employed is in the insurance industry.
Mathematicians with expertise in computers can be found doing tasks such as developing efficient algorithms for computers, or working as systems analysts. (A mathematics-computer science double major is a very useful degree.)
Sometimes called "Management Science," Operations research analysts use mathematics to find the most efficient ways of dealing with large numbers of people, or large quantities of resources. You will find operations research analysts designing schedules for airline companies, helping manufacturing companies decide where to send their raw materials and finished products, and working in the department of defense on the deployment of military resources.
Biostatisticians do important work for pharmaceutical companies and medical research institutes, helping to design and analyze clinical trials of drugs and medical procedures.
Cryptographers work on ways to transmit messages without having anyone but the recipient being able to read it. Mathematicians in this field sometimes work for the National Security Agency, which employs more mathematicians than any other organization in the United States; many start with simply an undergraduate degree in mathematics.
You will find mathematicians working for Wall Street companies, doing financial analysis, or perhaps working in the field of derivatives.
Applied Mathematics in Many Other Fields
Applied mathematicians can be found in all sorts of industries - doing things such as analyzing data from geological surveys, or assisting in the design of automobiles.
Mathematics Is More Than Just a Career
Finally, do not underestimate the value of the training in analytic thinking and quantitative reasoning that a major in mathematics provides. Mathematics majors go on to a wide variety of careers such as medicine, law, business and marketing, and they consistently say that the ways of thinking they learned in mathematics were tremendously helpful in their chosen careers.
Faculty in the mathematics department at SUNY Plattsburgh can give you further advice on pursuing the career of your choice.
To find out more about the many career opportunities in mathematics, please visit the following websites:
- MAA Undergraduate Career Resources
- The AMS-MAA-SIAM Careers Page
- Guide to Careers in Statistics (ASA)
- Information on a career as an Actuary
- Information about careers and internships
You could also look at the book 101 Careers in Mathematics, edited by Andrew Sterret, which is available in SUNY Plattsburgh’s library.
SUNY Plattsburgh Career Development Center
Our Career Development Center provides services, resources, and programs designed to help students and alumni to better understand the career development process, and to enhance their professional preparation and employability.
Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
If you would like more information about the mathematics program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact
Robert Keever, Chairperson
Office: Hawkins Hall 244
Phone: (518) 564-4133
Fax: (518) 564-4124