Who ever heard of a job as a mathematician?
How many people have you ever met in your life who, when asked what they did for a living, said that they were mathematicians? There are not many out there; in 2008, in the entire United States, there were only 2,900 jobs for mathematicians. Nevertheless, math is one of the oldest and most fundamental subjects of knowledge that there is, and a mathematics degree is often a great asset for an employer. So how can this incongruity be explained?
Well, even though there may not be tens of thousands of "mathematicians" out there, there is a huge number of working professionals whose understanding of mathematics is essential to their field. These include engineers, computer scientists, physicists, and economists. You will have a great edge when looking for a job if you pursue and undergraduate course in math, paired with another subject such as economics or computer science. A background in math in addition to experience in another related field is a surefire way to enhance your desirability to employers.
What is the curriculum like in a mathematics degree?
There are two types of math; theoretical math and applied mathematics. Both types of math employ theory, algorithms, computational techniques, and nowadays, computer technology in order to solve scientific, economic, scientific, engineering, and business problems.
Theoretical math only concerns itself with developing new principles within mathematics, not with how those new principles can be used in the outside world. The majority of theoretical mathematicians are employed as university faculty and are responsible both for teaching as well as for conducting research. Applied mathematics uses the theories and techniques of math to solve the problems of the outside world. Whereas most businesses have no use for a theoretical mathematician, almost every business needs someone who is skilled in applied mathematics.
In your courses required for your degree, you will encounter a mix of applied math and theoretical math. You will take courses in which you study calculus, differential equations, and linear and abstract algebra. Other courses may include probability theory and statistics, discrete mathematics, mathematical logic, topology, mathematical analysis, and numerical analysis, topology. In a graduate program, you will usually specialize in a subfield of mathematics and conduct research in that subfield. Finally, as we mentioned earlier, it is a good idea to study a closely related field to math, such as engineering, computer science, physical science, or economics in order to have the best job prospects.
Who offers online math teaching programs?
|BA in Mathematics (5-9 or 9-12)||BS in Secondary Education: Math||MS in Education - Mathematics (K-5)|
If you already have a degree, Stanford University has an online program for K-12 math teachers. Also, the University of Illinois has an online certificate program for high school mathematics teachers.
Western Governors University offers a bachelor's program for teachers wanting to teach in grades 5-9 or 9-12. Grand Canyon University also offers a bachelor's program for secondary mathematics teachers.
For students who want to pursue master's degrees, the University of Idaho has an online masters program in teaching mathematics, as does Montana State University and Lesley University. Texas A&M University provides an online master's degree in mathematics that also has a teaching option. Walden University offers three different masters programs in math teaching. One is for teaching math and reading to elementary school students. The other two programs are for teaching math in grades K-5 or for grades 6-8. Finally, Nova Southeastern University has a master's program for teaching math to elementary aged students.
What schools offer accredited online math degree programs?
Empire State College offers both associates and bachelors degrees in mathematics. Ashford University, the University of Illinois and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College also offer bachelor's degrees in math. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is a women's only college.
As for master's degrees, Texas A&M University provides a master's of mathematics online degree that also has a teaching option. The University of Washington offers a master's degree in applied mathematics.
If you want to earn your PhD in math, there is an online program offered by Accredited Online Colleges & Universities.
Finally, Colorado State University offers online programs in statistics. They have a master's degree in statistics, as well as certificate programs.
Employment opportunities in math:
Since there is no singular job path to follow after finishing a degree program in math, it is hard to state the average salary you should be able to get by having a degree in math. For actual mathematicians (of which there are only 2,900 in the U.S.), the median annual salary was $86,930 in 2006. In the same year, the salary for statisticians was $65,720 and the starting salary for systems analysts and programmers was approximately $75,000.
If you are hoping to work in academia as a professor, you can be sure that you will face a lot of competition. Every year, there are many more Ph.D. degrees awarded in mathematics than there are available university positions. However, outside of the universities, there are many opportunities for mathematicians.
One place to look for a job is within the Federal Government. The US government is one of the few employers for whom a bachelor's degree in math can qualify you for a job. Some of the best government jobs you can get with a good mathematics background are working for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Some mathematicians, called cryptanalysts, work for the government to analyze and decipher codes used by military personnel.
Outside of the Federal Government, you will need more than a bachelor's degree in math. It is very common for math graduates to seek advanced degrees in mathematics or related disciplines such as engineering or finance. Once they have their master's degree, these job seekers are usually able to find really good positions in private industry. The need for these workers is expected to rise in the next decade, and these mathematicians will most commonly be working in areas such as software development, physics, computer science, engineering, financial analysis and operations research.
How can you become a mathematics teacher?
With as little as a bachelor's degree in math, you can become a math teacher in public elementary, middle, and high schools. Public school teachers must obtain a license, and requirements for this license differ from state to state. So, if you are licensed to teach in Maryland, you will probably have to get a different license in order to teach in New York. To get a license, most states will require that you have a bachelor's degree and have completed of an approved teacher education program. If you have a master's degree, you will have even better chances of getting a job at a public school, and in many states will be paid more than teachers who don't have master's degrees. If you teach at a private school, you don't have to be licensed, but most private schools will still require that you have a bachelor's degree. Obviously, if you want to be a math teacher, you will either need to have your bachelor's degree in math, or have some other special mathematics licensure. Since there is almost always a shortage of teachers, many States offer alternative licensing programs in hard-to-fill positions like math and science.
What is the curriculum like in a mathematics teaching program?
While any mathematics teaching program will have a solid mathematics foundation, there is also strong emphasis in teaching and classroom practices. Most programs will focus on a certain age level since teaching practices will change depending on whether you teach elementary school age kids, middle schoolers, or high schoolers. For instance, coursework for high school math focused programs may include courses such as "building mathematical understanding," "functions and algebra," "geometry and measurement," and "meeting diverse needs in the classroom."
Employment opportunities as a math teacher:
There is always a demand for teachers, especially for teachers in subjects such as math and science. While the demand for teachers is not expected to grow tremendously like it did in the baby-boom generation, there will always be a need for them. There are about 3.5 million K-12 teaching jobs in the United States.
The median annual salary for teachers of grades K-12 is from $47,100 to $51,180 a year, as of May 2008. The lowest 10 percent of teachers only earn $30,970 to $34,280 a year while the top 10 percent earn $75,190 to $80,970 a year. Teachers with a bachelor's degree will earn around average of $33,227 in their first year of teaching, with pay gradually increasing each additional year they teach.