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It has been said that math rules our lives. From the number of years of school required to do one thing, to the amount of money someone wants to earn, to the average number of children to have, to the number of cars owned our lives are, to a great extent, measured, planned, and organized according to mathematical principles.

Math and statistics degree programs cover a lot of ground, so students might choose to obtain broad-based, fundamental training, or specialize in a particular field, such as algebra, theoretical mathematics, or statistical modeling. Degree programs may be designed for newcomers to the field, or for professionals who want to improve their career prospects with additional study.

A math and science degree is typically the minimum requirement for most professional careers. Some math and statistics degree programs focus on a specific segment of the field, and allow students to develop an expertise in the applications and techniques associated with that area. Others are more general in nature, providing a broad overall foundation in core concepts. Both types of programs should cover general mathematical principles, science concepts, computers, and technology. Because there is so much to know in order to effectively teach math and statistics, it is fairly common for mathematics and statistics teachers to earn a bachelor's degree, start teaching, and then earn their master's degrees part-time or online. In fact, in many states this sequence is required of public school teachers. As a result, many math teachers choose to pursue an education degree with a math or statistics concentration.

Math and statistics skills are valued in a wide range of occupations, including business, physics, accounting, drafting and design, finance, operations research, engineering and even healthcare. Any research field, in particular, needs the assistance of qualified statisticians. Below are a few of the most common careers pursued by math & statistics grads. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for mathematics and statistics graduates varies by career path. Job opportunities for math teachers are expected to be very strong, depending on geographical location. The outlook for mathematicians is expected to increase by about 10 percent in the coming years.

However, it is important to note that there are many job opportunities for students who earn math degrees. Students who earn advanced math degrees often enter the growing job fields of engineering and computer science. A similar scenario is predicted for statisticians. The BLS reports that job opportunities carrying the title "statistician" are expected to grow more slowly than average (about 9 percent), but graduates enjoy job opportunities in economics, biology, psychology, computer science engineering, and many other professional fields.

The BLS reports that the median income of statisticians was $65,720 in 2013; mathematicians earned about $86,930 (which reflects the high levels of education required to pursue a career as a theoretical mathematician). Teachers' salaries range from about $43,000 to $48,000 per year, but again, this varies considerably by location.