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

Also Known As

Research Scientist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 2161.1: Mathematicians

2006 NOC-S

  • C061: Mathematicians, Statisticians and Actuaries

2011 NOC

  • 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries

2016 NOC

  • 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries

2021 NOC

  • 21210: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries

2023 OaSIS

  • 21210.02: Statisticians
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Many problems that mathematicians study arise from within mathematics itself, or with some inspiration from physics. This is often the case with areas of pure math such as algebra, analysis, and geometry.

In natural science fields, scientists test physical theories with objective experiments. Mathematicians verify mathematical statements objectively using proofs. At an abstract level, mathematicians deal with assumptions and explore their consequences.

Mathematicians work in science (such as physics, chemistry, and engineering), social science (such as psychology, sociology, and political science), and business (such as finance, actuarial science, and risk analysis). Through their work, they may:

  • Apply established methods of analyzing numbers and statistics
  • Develop new and more efficient methods of dealing with numerical processes

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

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

  • The existence, accuracy, and cost of possible solutions
  • Ways to better understand the observed behaviour of a system
  • The possible behaviours that a configuration might exhibit

Mathematicians may work in many different areas.

Applied mathematicians use math theories and techniques to solve practical problems in business, engineering, and science. For example, they may explore the cost of creating a new business or certain aspects of drilling for oil.

Biomathematicians use math techniques and tools to model natural and biological processes. For instance, they may research the effectiveness of vaccination programs in preventing epidemics.

Theoretical mathematicians seek to advance mathematical science. They develop new principles and new relationships between existing principles.

Mathematical consultants help with business and research projects. They may work on math problems in fields such as 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 instance, they may use mathematical models to understand and manage risk.

Statisticians and actuaries use math to solve problems in finance, business, and government.

Biostatisticians use statistics to measure how well drugs and other treatment methods perform.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Mathematicians tend to work in an office environment with standard office hours. They often work long hours. They may work alone or as part of a team.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.


2006 NOC: 2161.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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


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


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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2022

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

  • Logical thinking
  • The ability to convert scientific problems into mathematical terms
  • The ability to apply prolonged, individual effort to a problem
  • The ability to communicate complex ideas clearly
  • Creativity and imagination
  • The ability to work alone with little supervision or in a team setting

They should like synthesizing data and applying math techniques. They should enjoy advising others regarding the applications and methods of math.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

Ideally, prospective mathematicians start their education by combining a general university education with a major or honours degree in math, or a double major in math and a related subject. Most mathematicians have graduate degrees in their field.

Admission to a master’s program requires an acceptable average in a 4-year bachelor’s program in math. Mathematicians who wish to work in research most often need to do post-graduate work in pure or applied math at the doctoral (PhD) level.

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

  • Reading books about math
  • Working on problems found on the Canadian Mathematical Society website and in contest papers, magazines, and books
  • Participating in math clubs, fairs, and university outreach programs
  • Participating in regional, provincial, and national math competitions

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2022
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Mathematicians work for:

  • 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 with training in math. These positions are most often located in the head offices of large organizations.

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

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group, 78.1% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 10% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Sep 29, 2022

Mathematicians are part of the larger 2016 National Occupational Classification 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries.

According to the 2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries occupational group earned on average from $38.83 to $51.54 an hour. The overall average was $46.51 an hour. For more information, see the Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries wage profile.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2022

Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society (CAIMS) website:

Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) website:

Mitacs website:

Mathematics with a Human Face website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. 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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