Planning Your Future in Mathematics
Choosing a career is a very important decision. Taking all the mathematics and science you can is a smart choice, because training in those areas opens doors to many exciting career options.
Talk to your parents, teachers, and guidance counselors about the kinds of opportunities mathematics can bring. Your school may sponsor mathematics contests, which can be a fun way to work on challenging problems, or you can try entering a mathematics project in a science fair.
If competition isn't to your taste, go to the library and find books on mathematics (see Suggested Reading below). Join your school mathematics club, or ask your teachers or counselors about extracurricular mathematics programs that may be available in your community.
As this booklet shows, a wide variety of career opportunities is available to those with degrees in mathematics at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. A bachelor's degree generally requires four or five years of study. To earn a master's degree, you need to study for two to three years beyond the bachelor's degree and, for a doctorate, five to seven years beyond the bachelor's degree.
Even if you do not choose a career in the mathematical sciences, studying as much mathematics as you can is a good way to keep your options open. Mathematics is an excellent foundation for, and is usually a prerequisite to, study in all areas of science and engineering. Students in such areas as anthropology, sociology, and psychology, as well as law, business, and medicine, also benefit from a solid background in mathematics and statistics. In addition, mathematical training will help you to better understand science and technology and their effects on our world.
Because their skills are in demand, mathematical scientists often find they have a number of possible career paths and generally command good salaries. As you plan your future, remember that study in the mathematical sciences can lead to an interesting, rewarding, and well-paying career---a career that counts.
About the Author, Allyn Jackson
I work as the staff writer for the American Mathematical Society, a professional organization for mathematicians, located in Providence, Rhode Island. After finishing my master's degree in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley, I was surprised to land a job as a writer! But having the opportunity to combine two rather different skills has been very rewarding. Because my job involves communicating with mathematicians, my background in mathematics has proved invaluable. I work primarily as a journalist for the news publication of the Society, mailed to our 30,000 members worldwide. I've written about the application of mathematics to DNA research, the job market for mathematicians, developments in mathematics education, women in mathematics, and science policy issues, among other topics. My job allows me to travel, which I enjoy, and to meet many interesting people. I studied mathematics because I found it a rich and fascinating subject, and I'm gratified that it led to a career that offers so much variety.
This brochure was originally published in 1991 and was "republished" on the the AWM website in 1998. Printed copies of this brochure may be ordered from AWM.
AWM gratefully acknowledges the Exxon Education Foundation for supporting thepublication of this booklet and the AWM Resource Center.
Careers that Count:
AWM President (1991):
AWM Resource Center Committee (1991):
Photo credits (1991):
The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) was established in 1971 to serve and encourage women to study and have active careers in the mathematical sciences. Equal opportunity and equal treatment of women in the mathematical sciences are promoted.
This brochure was published in 1991, so some information may be out-of-date.