The mathematics and statistics fields are actually some of the oldest sciences around and are considered the building blocks for many other industries and disciplines. While the common vision of a math major's career might be that of someone scribbling complicated formulas on a whiteboard, careers in math are actually highly variable, ranging from actuaries to financial analysts to survey researchers to economists. Whether your intention is to immerse yourself in your own research or to work with scientists in related scientific fields, such as engineering or computer science, chances are that earning a degree in mathematics can help you on your way.
We used a wide range of data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to compile our list of the five best online colleges for math and statistics. You can read more about the data points and methodology we used to create our list at the bottom of the page. We hope this list can help you select an accredited school that meets your educational goals and financial considerations.
Visit our methodologies page to learn more about how we use official data to evaluate schools.
Students with an interest in facts and figures can hone their skills by enrolling in online programs for mathematics and statistics. In these programs, students take classes that help them prepare for specialized careers as actuaries, statisticians and mathematicians, among others. For information on some of the possible classes and skills that math programs provide, continue reading this section.
Online education for mathematics and statistics offers students many options of courses they can take. Below is a sample of some of the classes that may be available in math departments, depending on which college students choose.
Students who earn online mathematics and statistics degrees are obviously looking to gain strong math skills. However, there are many other useful skills that math majors can acquire through their coursework, including the following.
A fast-growing industry with a lot of potential for growth across a variety of industries, mathematics is likely to be a reliable career with opportunities in areas that are of interest to you. This time-honored field is one well worth considering.
A common question in high school math classes is, "What's the point?" A mathematician understands exactly what the "point" of mathematics is: to make our lives better and more efficient.
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, many mathematician careers start with a master's degree. However, some mathematicians get their start with a bachelor's degree.
Statisticians are masters of manipulating data. They collect information with surveys, polls, questionnaires and other forms of research, organize that information into charts and reports that make it comprehensible, and then apply their understanding of sampling and probability to draw informed conclusions about their findings. These professionals are instrumental to solving problems in healthcare, business, engineering and an array of other fields; only through their work can the scope of problems and situations that span our entire globe be understood and tackled.
Most statisticians work for the government or for research organizations, although many others work for insurance companies or colleges and universities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most statistician careers begin with a master's degree. However, some entry level careers can begin with a bachelor's degree.
Actuaries weave together math and statistics to help businesses price their products and predict their profitability. Using statistical data and other numeric values, they aim to help businesses anticipate profit and loss, death, sickness and even natural disaster. A common place to find actuaries is in the health insurance industry, where they calculate how best to price premiums so they cover anticipated medical costs while still turning a small profit. If you ever wanted to determine the amount of money that should be paid out for the insurance claim "Struck by a duck," this is the career for you.
Because of the nature of their work, almost two-thirds (71 percent) of actuaries work in the finance and insurance industries. Actuary careers typically begin with a bachelor's degree, and some careers require special certification.
In the space between statisticians and actuaries, the financial analyst works. By assessing past and present trends in economics and finances, these professionals plot the best course for their clients' investments, from an individual's savings to a business' assets. Part historian, part economist, part businessperson and part mathematician, a financial analyst must think quickly and act responsively, always predicting and advising to the best of their ability.
Most financial analyst careers begin with a bachelor's degree, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, a master's degree may be required for advanced positions.
Information is one of the most valuable tools any person or organization can have, and surveys are a key way of gathering that important data. When presented with a topic that needs to be understood in more detail, a survey researcher goes to work: designing a survey and its attendant methodologies using statistics; adjusting for potential errors and biases in the data with complex formulas; summarizing the findings into charts and graphs; and evaluating the results to see what could be done better next time. Although no individual piece of data can tell the whole story, a collection of survey responses can be used to note trends and help us understand people better.
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, most survey researcher careers begin with a master's degree or Ph.D. However, a bachelor's degree is common for certain types of entry-level positions. Either way, employers prefer to hire candidates with plenty of experience performing research, analyzing data and using statistics.