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VOL. 42 | NO. 36 | Friday, September 7, 2018

Good news for math and statistics majors

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Between 2016 and 2026 expect job growth of 33.8% for statisticians, and 29.7% for mathematicians

-- Bureau of Labor Statistics

Careers that require trained mathematicians and statisticians are on the rise in almost all sectors of the economy. That’s because technological, engineering and business problems are often of such complexity that they require a high level of mathematical treatment.

In the past, careers in mathematics were generally restricted to the physical sciences and engineering or academia, but today there is a growing demand for mathematical expertise in the biological and social sciences, as well as in finance and business management and the burgeoning field of data science.

“Certainly, those majoring in math who are able to make a move over to the statistics side of things will find great career opportunities,” says Kate Brooks, Evans Family Executive Director of the Vanderbilt Career Center in Nashville. “According to the National Association of College and Employers, an organization I work with, there is a 30 percent increase for continued hiring in the math statistics field.

“NACE just released their salary survey, and from the data for math/statistics grads show an average starting salary that tops the $60,000 a year mark. It’s a well-paid field. The only other fields that top that are computer science and engineering.”

Statisticians and mathematicians are ranked No. 7 and No. 10 on the Bureau Labor Statistics’ list of fastest growing occupations through 2026.

The median salary for a statistician is $84,060, and the career is expected to grow at a rate of 34 percent through 2026. The median salary for a mathematician is $103,080, and the field is expected to grow 30 percent over the next eight years.

Brooks, who in her job at Vanderbilt helps students with professional development and career searches, notes professions that relate to health care – whether home health aide, dentist, pharmacist or physician – are going to “continue to be the winner” in total amount of jobs generated for the economy.

“We have an aging population and we have people that need health care more and more,” Brooks says. “Not everyone is going to be able to afford to go to a nursing home so you’ll see a lot more [growth] in home care. You’re going to see a lot of health professions come to the patient instead of the patient coming to them.

“And anything from physical therapy to physicians to nurses, particularly to all the assistant level and technician positions, are going to continue to be hot.”

– Linda Bryant

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