Career Benefits of an Online Mathematics Master’s Degree
According to graduation data from the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 13,000 students earned master’s degrees in mathematics and related fields (e.g., biostatistics, physics, financial mathematics) in 2013. The average in-state graduate tuition for those programs was nearly $15,000, making mathematics an affordable option for most online graduate students.
|Area of Interest
||Number of Degrees Conferred
|Mathematics Teacher Education
|Applied Mathematics, General
|Biomathematics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology
Mathematician is currently one of the most in-demand, highly rated professions. In 2014, CareerCast named it the best job in the country. Given its career diversity, strong earning potential and growing employment opportunities, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular vocation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects excellent job prospects between 2012 and 2022, which – along with affordable tuition – is good news for prospective graduate students. However, before making a decision, students should examine the career benefits of completing an online master’s program in mathematics, by comparing the program costs to potential earnings in the marketplace.
Mathematics majors should be familiar with the concept of cost opportunity, which entails understanding the importance of their prospective choices. Beyond the simple cost of a program, students should investigate how attending an online program may impact their family obligations, work responsibilities, hobbies, volunteer activities and other lifestyle factors. Ultimately, do the benefits of completing an online master’s in mathematics degree outweigh the costs?
Earning Potential for Online Master’s Degree Graduates in Mathematics
Although completing a mathematics graduate degree may not lead directly to increased earnings or a promotion, it can do three things: 1) increase career opportunities in multiple industries and professional areas; 2) improve the marketability of a job candidate; and 3) create a foundation for continuing education in a doctoral program in mathematics.
A study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) found that 47 percent of undergraduates in mathematics and 52 percent of undergraduates in applied mathematics go on to earn a master’s degree. Ultimately, that decision pays off in the long run, as survey respondents reported salary increases after earning graduate degrees in both fields: 52 percent for applied mathematics graduates and 33 percent for mathematics program graduates.
When comparing the financial investment into a graduate program – a two-year online program could cost $30,000 – with prospective earnings, enrolling in a graduate degree program makes good financial sense. The national median salary for mathematicians reached six figures in 2013 ($102,440), and the top earners in the profession took home at least $155,000 in 2013. Below is a table of the national salary range for mathematicians in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Top 10 %
Salary and employment data from the BLS revealed the top-paying industries for mathematicians in 2013 included the following:
- Aerospace Product Manufacturing: $130,830
- Scientific Research: $124,450
- Computer Systems Design: $121,680
- Federal Government: $107,630
- Architecture and Engineering: $102,850
Location also influences potential career earnings. In 2013, the top-paying states for mathematicians were New Jersey, Maryland and Washington. Below is a list of the 10 states with the highest average salaries for mathematicians in 2013.
||2013 Average Salary
An online mathematics master’s degree can also pave the way to a variety of career fields, including the following:
- Actuary: $94,340
- Statistician: $83,310
- Economist: $101,450
- Market Research Analyst: $67,780
- Accountant: $72,500