Mathematicians and Statisticians


Join Nextstep Career Mentorship Programs in Mathematicians and Statisticians with our partners:


Mathematicians and Statisticians Career, Salary and Education Information

What Mathematicians and Statisticians Do

Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply mathematical and statistical techniques to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields.


Mathematicians and Statisticians typically do the following:

Mathematicians and statisticians typically do the following:

  • Develop new mathematical rules, theories, and concepts in areas such as algebra and geometry
  • Decide what data are needed to answer specific questions or problems
  • Apply mathematical theories and techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering, the sciences, and other fields
  • Design surveys, experiments, or opinion polls to collect data 
  • Develop mathematical or statistical models to analyze data
  • Interpret data and report conclusions drawn from their analyses
  • Use data analysis to support and improve business decisions

Mathematicians and statisticians apply theories and techniques, such as mathematical or statistical modeling, to solve practical problems. Typically, they work with individuals in other occupations to solve these problems. For example, they may work with chemists, materials scientists, and chemical engineers to analyze the effectiveness of new drugs. Others may work with industrial designers to study the aerodynamic characteristics of new automobiles.

To work on these problems, mathematicians and statisticians must first collect data. Statisticians design surveys, questionnaires, experiments, and opinion polls to collect the data they need. Surveys may be mailed, conducted over the phone, collected online, or gathered through some other means.

Mathematicians and statisticians work in many fields, such as education, marketing, psychology, sports, or any other field that requires the collection and analysis of data. In particular, government, healthcare, and research and development companies employ many statisticians.

Government. Mathematicians and statisticians working in government develop and analyze surveys that collect a variety of data, including unemployment rates, wages, and other estimates pertaining to jobs and workers. Others help to figure out the average level of pesticides in drinking water, the number of endangered species living in a particular area, or the number of people who have a certain disease.

HealthcareStatisticians known as biostatisticians or biometricians work in pharmaceutical companies, public health agencies, or hospitals. They may design studies to test whether drugs successfully treat diseases or medical conditions. They may also help identify the sources of outbreaks of illnesses in humans and animals.

Research and development. Mathematicians and statisticians design experiments for product testing and development. For instance, they may help design experiments to see how car engines perform when exposed to extreme weather conditions. Some may analyze consumer data to help develop marketing strategies and prices for consumer goods. 

Colleges and universities. Mathematicians and statisticians working in a postsecondary education institution may study theoretical or abstract concepts in mathematics or statistics. They identify, research, and resolve unexplained issues in mathematics and are concerned primarily with exploring new mathematical or statistical theories to increase knowledge and understanding about the field.


Work Environment for Mathematicians and Statisticians

Mathematicians held about 3,100 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of mathematicians were as follows:

Federal government: 35%

Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences: 17%

Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private: 16%

Finance and insurance: 8%

Management, scientific, and technical consulting services: 7%

Mathematicians and Statisticians Work Schedules

Most mathematicians and statisticians work full time. Deadlines and last-minute requests for data or analysis may require overtime. In addition, these workers may travel to attend seminars and conferences.


How to Become a Mathematicians and Statisticians

Mathematicians and statisticians typically need at least a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics. However, some positions are available to those with a bachelor’s degree.

Education for Mathematicians and Statisticians

In private industry, mathematicians typically need an advanced degree, either a master’s degree or a doctorate. For jobs with the federal government, candidates need at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or significant coursework in mathematics.

Most colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Courses usually include calculus, differential equations, and linear and abstract algebra. Many colleges and universities advise or require mathematics students to take courses in a related field, such as computer science, engineering, physics, or statistics. Because mathematicians often work with data analysis software, computer programming courses may be particularly beneficial for students.

Mathematicians and Statisticians Training

Most statisticians have degrees in mathematics, economics, computer science, or another quantitative field. A degree in statistics typically includes courses in linear algebra, calculus, experimental design, survey methodology, probability, and statistical theory.

Important Qualities for Mathematicians and Statisticians

Analytical skills. Mathematicians and statisticians use mathematical techniques and models to analyze large amounts of data. They must determine the appropriate software packages and understand computer programming languages to design and develop new techniques and models. They must also be precise and accurate in their analysis.

Communication skills. Mathematicians and statisticians must interact with, and propose solutions to, people who may not have extensive knowledge of mathematics.

Math skills. Mathematicians and statisticians use statistics, calculus, and linear algebra to develop their models and analyses.

Problem-solving skills. Mathematicians and statisticians must devise new solutions to problems encountered by scientists or engineers.


Mathematicians and Statisticians Salaries

The median annual wage for mathematicians was $103,010 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $52,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $161,900.

In May 2017, the median annual wages for mathematicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Management, scientific, and technical consulting services: $120,840

Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences: $119,500

Federal government: $111,990

Finance and insurance: $106,070

Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private: $56,320

Most mathematicians and statisticians work full time. Deadlines and last-minute requests for data or analysis may require overtime. In addition, these workers may travel to attend seminars and conferences.


Job Outlook for Mathematicians and Statisticians

Overall employment of mathematicians and statisticians is projected to grow 33 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by occupation.

Employment of statisticians is projected to grow 34 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected to result from more widespread use of statistical analysis to make informed business, healthcare, and policy decisions. In addition, the large increase in available data from the Internet will open up new areas for analysis.

Job Prospects for Mathematicians and Statisticians

Job prospects for mathematicians and statisticians are projected to be very good. An increasing number of jobs over the next decade will require high levels of mathematical and statistical knowledge. Job opportunities are expected to be favorable for those with very strong quantitative and data analysis skills. Computer programming skills will remain important to many employers, as will be keeping up with new statistical methods and programming languages.

Many candidates with a background in advanced mathematical techniques and modeling also may find good job opportunities in other, closely related fields.


Careers Related to Mathematicians and Statisticians


Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk of potential events, and they help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk. Actuaries’ work is essential to the insurance industry.

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow.

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts, sometimes called systems architects, study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures, and design solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.


Economists study the production and distribution of resources, goods, and services by collecting and analyzing data, researching trends, and evaluating economic issues.

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.

Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.

Physicists and Astronomers

Physicists and astronomers study the ways in which various forms of matter and energy interact. Theoretical physicists and astronomers may study the nature of time or the origin of the universe. Some physicists design and perform experiments with sophisticated equipment such as particle accelerators, electron microscopes, and lasers.

Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They may also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.

Survey Researchers

Survey researchers design and conduct surveys and analyze data. Surveys are used to collect factual data, such as employment and salary information, or to ask questions in order to understand people’s opinions, preferences, beliefs, or desires.



Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Mathematicians and Statisticians, 
on the Internet at (visited June 22, 2018).