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What jobs use math?

Professional Math: What Jobs Use Math?

When students choose a school major to prepare for the job search, they look for characteristics that fit their preferences. Some characteristics might elicit a stronger response than others. For example, do you love languages? Do you love essay writing? Do you love math and dealing with numbers?

For mathematics fans out there, we have good news: Math appears in various jobs and majors. Even if you’re not a fan, you might find that math has a lot going for it and is probably worth your time learning—and trust us, the process won’t be that scary!

Let's look at some of the many ways in which math gets used in the professional world.

What jobs use math?

Here’s our most straightforward answer: Most jobs use math to some degree. While many jobs don’t need high-level math skills, basic counting and arithmetic skills are absolutely essential in the field.

For example, office managers deal with budgets all the time and have to make projections. Educators such as teachers and professors calculate grades and leverage basic testing statistics. Social workers use statistics in their research. Psychiatrists use math to calculate correct medical dosing. Truck drivers use math to calculate weights or measure truck layouts.

Then there are the math heavyweights. Some jobs such as academic researchers, scientific computing roles, and data scientists use complex math to answer specific questions—think theoretical physics calculations, stochastic models in data science applications, and more. The specific types of math that get used to explore and predict different occurrences fall into two categories:

  • “Pure” or theoretical mathematics: Pure math includes everything from algebra, calculus, and trigonometry to logic, complex analysis, topology, and more. Theoretical mathematics is about using logic to prove mathematical results that may or may not have applications in the field.
  • Applied mathematics: Applied mathematics is all about using relevant results in pure mathematics to make calculations in practice. Examples include using probability and statistics, differential equations, or dynamical systems to make models of the real world.

What career paths use math?

What career paths use math?

The three most prominent career paths that heavily use math are:

  • Research
  • Academia
  • Industry


Research positions rely on mathematics to "speak the language of the universe." Researchers use mathematics to find patterns and create models of how things work. For example, biotechnology requires math to explore the effectiveness of new materials. 


Academics engage in research and train the new generations of job seekers. Mathematicians can work in secondary schools or higher education. Job seekers may also teach in math-heavy fields like economics, medicine, or even data science.


Potential job seekers also have career options in business where high-level mathematics mastery remains in high demand. Students can take positions in finance, planning, logistics, management, or analytics.

Which jobs use math the most?

Which jobs use math the most?

Math occupations should experience job growth of 28 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average rate of around eight percent. Some career opportunities that use math everyday include:

  • Accounting: Accountants maintain financial records and examine financial statements to ensure compliance and organizational success.
  • Architecture: Architecture leverages math to create safe yet dynamic building designs.
  • Business Analysis: Business analysts—and even managers—use math to make forecasts and compute budgets.
  • Chemistry: Chemists measure formulas, explore reactions, and research new materials.
  • Medicine: Doctors and nurses use math to calculate dosing, apply therapies, and understand risk.
  • Finance: Financial analysts use data analysis to predict trends and ensure sound decision-making.
  • Economics: Economists use mathematical modeling to predict economic trends.
  • Data Science: Data scientists and data analysts use both theoretical and applied math to build insight-driven algorithms.

Some surprising careers that regularly use math include:

  • Agriculture: Farmers and agriculturists use math to calculate fertilizer or pesticide percentages, manage yields, and make reports.
  • Tradespeople: Carpenters, electricians, mechanics, and other similar trade workers rely on mathematics to build, install, repair, and assess our homes, vehicles, and other constructions.
  • Musicians: The language of music is built on math. In addition, sound engineers leverage mathematics to create algorithms for music production, measuring acoustics to master albums, and more.
  • Air traffic controllers: Controllers calculate trajectories, speed, distance, and altitudes of planes landing or taking off.
  • Animators: Math forms the basis of algorithms and methods used to design virtual worlds; illustrating realistic movement, altering frames and images, implementing collisions, and lighting tools all use math.

A love of mathematics can open doors in just about any field.

What are the best careers for math majors?

Some of the best careers in math allow for plenty of creativity and growth, as well as salaries near or above six figures per year. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), operations research analysts can make around $86,000 per year with only a bachelor's degree. Other available career options for math majors include:


An actuary makes about $111,000 per year with just a bachelor's degree. This insurance-related field relies on mathematics to predict risk and mitigate uncertainty. Most work for insurance companies and use a range of mathematics disciplines such as statistics, financial theory, and predictive algorithms.


Economists have a median salary of around $108,000 per year. Economists collect and analyze data to research trends and provide insight into economic issues. Most economists will need a master's degree or more to work in the field, but some jobs may require only a bachelor's. A majority work in research positions or for government agencies.

Financial analyst

Financial analysts make about $83,000 per year with a bachelor's degree. They use mathematics and predictive models to help businesses and other organizations make decisions and mitigate risk. Most work in offices, but some open their own consulting firms or work for government entities.

Computer and information research scientist

Computer scientists make around $126,000 per year designing and maintaining innovative computing technology. The field relies on high-level math for software development and pushing computing systems to their limits. Computer science researchers may require master's degrees, but students with solid portfolios, such as experts in data science, may even be self-taught.


Statisticians have a median salary of around $93,000 per year. Statistics experts analyze data and apply computational techniques to solve problems, drive insights, and assess risks. Typically statisticians need a master's degree to work in the field, but some may find positions with a bachelor's degree.

Building a career using mathematics

Build a career by learning mathematics online!

edX offers courses in mathematical concepts, mathematical modeling, and other industry skills. edX’s online math classes are designed by leading thinkers in the field of mathematics. Whether students want to work in computer science, mechanical engineering, aerospace, or any computational field, edX offers a path. 

Students can explore advanced degrees online and gain the problem-solving skills mathematicians are known for. It's time to leverage those math skills for a thriving career in a lucrative field.