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Mathematician

Mathematicians use logical reasoning to study quantity, structure, space, pattern and change. They develop techniques and insights that can be applied in a variety of fields such as physics, engineering, biology, medicine, finance, and organizational structure and decision making.

  • Avg. Salary $80,589.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.22
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Research Scientist

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Average Wage
Starting
Overall
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  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Mathematician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Mathematicians
NOC code: 2161.1
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to extend knowledge in traditional areas of mathematics through research, to develop and improve mathematical techniques and to solve problems in other areas such as scientific research, engineering and management

METHODICAL

Interest in applying mathematical techniques to the solution of problems in scientific fields such as physical science, engineering, computer science and other fields including operations research, business and management; and in using computers and measuring instruments

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to advise researchers concerning mathematical applications, methods and analyses

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Many problems that mathematicians study arise from within mathematics itself, or with some inspiration from physics. This is often the situation with pure mathematical areas such as algebra, analysis and geometry. While in the natural sciences physical theories are tested by experiments, mathematical statements are verified objectively by proofs. At an abstract level, mathematicians deal with a collection of assumptions and explore the corresponding consequences. 

Mathematicians in the fields of science (for example, physics, chemistry, engineering), social science (for example, psychology, sociology, political science) and business (for example, finance, actuarial science, risk analysis). Through their work, they may:

  • apply established methods of numerical analysis, statistics and other known techniques
  • develop new and more efficient methods of dealing with mathematical processes.

For example, mathematicians may develop mathematical models of the ocean floor, of changing demographics or of blood flow. Or they may apply number theory to computer-security problems or to the analysis of seismological survey results.

When confronted with any problem that has some mathematical basis, an organization may consult a mathematician for advice about:

  • the existence of possible solutions and their accuracy and cost
  • ways to better understand the observed behaviour of a system
  • the possible behaviours that a configuration might exhibit.

Mathematicians may work in manydifferent areas:

  • Applied mathematicians use mathematical theories and techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering and the sciences. For example, they may investigate the cost of establishing a new business or the mathematical aspects of drilling for oil.
  • Biomathematicians use mathematical techniques and tools to model natural and biological processes. For example, they may investigate the effectiveness of vaccination programs in preventing epidemics.
  • Theoretical mathematicians seek to advance mathematical science by developing new principles and new relationships between existing principles.
  • Mathematical consultants assist with business and research projects that demand advanced knowledge of mathematics. They may work on mathematical problems in a variety of fields (for example, mechanics, electromagnetic theory, economics, communication networks or the petrochemical industry).
  • Financial mathematicians develop mathematical and probability models of stock markets, options and currency futures. For example, they may use mathematical models to help understand and manage risk.
  • Statisticians and actuaries use mathematics to solve problems in finance, business and government.
  • Biostatisticians use statistics to measure the reliability of treatment methods and the performance of drugs.
Working Conditions
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Although mathematicians usually work in an office environment with standard office hours, overtime is not uncommon. Mathematicians may work alone or as part of a team.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Jan 31, 2017

In addition to talent and an interest in mathematics, mathematicians need to possess:

  • the ability to think logically
  • the ability to formulate scientific problems in mathematical terms
  • the ability to apply individual and prolonged effort to a problem
  • the ability to communicate ideas clearly
  • creativity and imagination
  • the ability to work independently with little supervision and in a team environment.

They should enjoy synthesizing data, applying mathematical techniques and advising others regarding mathematical applications and methods.

Educational Requirements
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Ideally, prospective mathematicians should start their education by combining a general education with an honours degree or specialization in mathematics, or in mathematics and a related subject. Most mathematicians have graduate degrees in mathematics. Admission to a master's degree program requires an acceptable average in a 4-year bachelor's degree program in mathematics. Post-graduate work in pure or applied mathematics at the doctoral (PhD) level usually is required for mathematicians employed in a research environment. 

Students interested in pursuing a career in mathematics should explore mathematics beyond the high school curriculum by:

  • reading books about mathematics
  • working on mathematical problems found on the Canadian Mathematical Society website and in contest papers, magazines and books
  • participating in mathematics clubs, fairs and university outreach programs
  • participating in regional, provincial and national math competitions.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Concordia University of Edmonton

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Mathematicians are employed by:

  • financial institutions
  • governments
  • hospitals
  • insurance companies
  • pension benefit consulting firms
  • science and engineering consulting firms
  • scientific institutions and research agencies
  • schools, colleges and universities
  • trading and risk-management departments of energy companies.

The computer industry also employs many people who have mathematical training. These positions generally are located in the head offices of large organizations.

In large institutions, mathematicians who have strong communication and people skills may advance to management positions.

Mathematicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2161: Mathematicians, Statisticians and Actuaries. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook (PDF) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries
NOC code: 2161

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $25.79 $47.38 $34.59 $32.24
Overall $36.44 $61.81 $43.22 $42.58
Top $40.04 $66.81 $49.81 $46.89

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

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Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

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2015 Vacancy Rate

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Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Physics
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Jan 31, 2017

Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society (CAIMS) website: www.caims.ca

Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) website: cms.math.ca

Mitacs website: www.mitacs.ca

Mathematics with a Human Face website: mathcentral.uregina.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Jan 31, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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