Many students think that majoring in mathematics will only prepare them for a career in teaching.
This is simply not true!
Even though many mathematics majors do go on to rewarding careers in teaching at the primary, secondary, and collegiate levels, many more go on to careers outside of academics. In fact, according to a National Science Foundation survey of recent college graduates, more than half of mathematics majors go on to careers in business, industry, and government. [See Ref. 1]
As a mathematics major, you will develop skills in
- critical thinking and problem solving,
- oral and written communication,
- quantitative and computer proficiency, and
- the ability to work in groups.
All of these are highly desirable for a wide range of careers, including law, medicine, and business. Indeed, studies show that mathematics majors consistently score higher than most other majors in entrance exams for
graduate school (GRE),
law school (LSAT),
medical school (MCAT), and business school (GMAT). [See Refs. 2-5]
For the most part, mathematics majors will follow career paths which do not fall under the job title of "mathematician." Instead, they might be better described as
- research scientists,
- program managers,
- system engineers,
- consultants, or
However, just because the name is different does not mean that you will be at a disadvantage. Remember that mathematics is a discipline, not a single career. With a judicious choice of electives, the mathematics curriculum at Ave Maria University can prepare you for any one of these careers.
The best reason to major in mathematics, however, comes right down to doing what you enjoy. In the latest edition of The Jobs Rated Almanac, which ranks jobs on the basis of working conditions, job satisfaction, income, and stress levels, ``mathematician'' was rated eleventh out of 250. (In past editions, it has ranked in the top five!) In addition, many of the other highly-rated jobs also involve significant mathematical reasoning and knowledge, and would be appropriate career options for mathematics majors. [See Ref. 6]
If you like to solve problems, get a kick out of building and interpreting models, and have an eye for detail, then you might have what it takes to major in mathematics, and that could be the gateway to a successful career in whatever your vocation might be!