Mathematics is a fundamental science that has been studied for hundreds of years. Mathematicians apply mathematical theory, algorithms, computational methods to answer economic, engineering, scientific, physics, and business questions. Mathematics is separated into two categories: theoretical and applied mathematics.

Theoretical mathematicians develop new mathematical theories and connect previously unknown relationships between mathematical concepts. Their research and theorizing has led to engineering advancements while contributing to mathematical theories. Theoretical mathematicians teach and conduct research at universities, think tanks and government agencies.

Applied mathematicians utilize theories, modeling, and computational methods for practical uses in all industries. They can devise the most effective way to schedule airline routes, manufacture cars, develop a high-tension bridge and much more.

Applied mathematicians specializing in industrial research use mathematical models to develop solutions for real-world problems. Cryptanalysts are mathematicians that decipher encryption codes intended to transmit sensitive information such as financial, police, or military records.

Applied mathematicians evaluate practical problems, break down the elements of the problem, and convert elements into mathematical variables, usually using advanced computer modeling to determine relationships, develop theories and come up with mathematical solutions.

Many professionals use applied mathematics in their work since mathematics is the foundation of many disciplines. Engineers, physicists, doctors, economists, actuaries, operations research analysts, computer programmers, technicians, accountants, financial managers and many more professionals use applied math in their daily work.

Work Environment
Mathematicians work in cozy offices. They often work in interdisciplinary teams of engineers, physicists, economists, and other related professionals. Overtime, work deadlines, and ongoing analysis, along with traveling to conferences, consume a mathematicians time.

Mathematicians at universities typically have both research and teaching responsibilities. They conduct research by themselves and in teams of graduate students or researchers from their own or other universities.

Education and Training
Mathematicians are some of the most highly educated professionals in the world. A doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in mathematics is typically the minimum qualification for becoming a mathematician. Some organizations, including government agencies, will hire individuals with a 4-year bachelor's degree in math and/or a master's degree in math. However, most organizations including engineering companies, technology firms, etc., require job candidates to have a Ph.D. in mathematics.

Most mathematicians will find positions in research and development in laboratories, working as researchers and analysts. In this environment mathematicians are involved in basic research using mathematical concepts and principles or in applied research. Those involved in applied research focus on developing processes or processes for application in real-world situations, usually commercial in nature. Those with a bachelor's or master's degree in mathematics usually work in fields related to math, such as computer science, engineering, or systems analysis, but don't work specifically as mathematicians.

There are about 200 colleges in the United States a master's degree program in either applied mathematics or pure mathematics. There are about 200 colleges that also offer Ph.D. programs in mathematics.

As of 2012, the median annual earnings for mathematicians was roughly $85,000. About half of all mathematicians earn between $60,000 and $105,000 a year, with the lowest 10% of mathematicians earning less than $45,000 a year and the top 10% of earners making over $120,000 a year. Those working in federal government positions make about $90,000 a year, mathematical statisticians $92,000 a year and cryptanalysts roughly $74,000 a year.

Mathematicians with a bachelor's degree earn about $45,000 to $50,000 a year, substantially less then those with either a master's degree or Ph.D.

Job Outlook
Even though job openings for the title 'mathematicians' are expected to decline, demand for individuals with a masters's degree or Ph.D. in mathematics, as well as those with degrees in related disciplines, is predicted to be strong. The best employment opportunities for those with a degree in math will be in computer science related occupations and engineering.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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