Math Matters for Careers and Jobs

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There are many jobs for new workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). STEM jobs are increasing every day. The demand for more STEM workers creates job opportunities for many qualified young people. There are at least 50 STEM occupations that teenagers could choose. Your child too could become one of those new successful STEM workers. Please encourage them to think about these jobs.

Mathematical knowledge is very important in STEM jobs and in many other jobs. For example, people who deal with money need math skills. These jobs include people who work in banks, stores, and businesses. Workers who build or fix things use math in their jobs. For example, car mechanics that do wheel alignments need math to be successful at what they do. Medical technicians, nurses and doctors need to use math too. For example, they need math to treat patients, understand medical tests, and operate medical equipment. In fact, math is a basic skill in most occupations. Therefore, math skills are very important to your teen’s future and job success. In a math forum Dr. Math talks about the importance of math in your child’s education.

Benefits of STEM Jobs

U.S. Department of Commerce reports the great benefits of STEM jobs.

  • STEM jobs are expected to grow = there will be more jobs available in STEM fields when your child graduates from high school or college
  • STEM workers earn more money (26% higher) = STEM jobs pay better than other jobs regardless of your child’s educational level
  • STEM major college graduates receive higher earnings = graduating with a degree in any STEM occupation will result in earning more money
  • Workers in STEM experience lower unemployment rates = if your child works in any of STEM fields, he or she will be more likely to keep a job

A person must have mathematical knowledge and math skills to get a job. Those math skills are taught at school. Unfortunately, many adolescents just do not know how important math is for them. They do not see the connection between the math skills they learn in school and the jobs that may have in their future. That’s why they may not care about doing their math homework. That’s why they may not be paying attention in math class. That’s why they may not try to do their best on their math assignments and tests. Parents can influence their children’s ideas about the value of mathematics. Parents can also influence their children’s work habits. One way to do this is by talking to your children about the benefits of knowing math for their future jobs and careers. Please share with your teens what you have learned here. Help your children be successful in life by teaching them how important math really is.

A Math Matters video summarizes the U.S. Department of Commerce report about the importance of STEM jobs.

Please visit Career Cornerstone Center
to see career-planning resources for mathematics. On this website, you will find information about math-related jobs, career preparation, profiles of mathematicians, earnings, and much more.

Also, please visit Why Must I Learn Math?
resource. You and your child will find here answers to many questions frequently asked by teenagers. Also, you will find a list of jobs that use math.

Finally, please watch the testimonials that we recorded. In these testimonials, you will find out how Latinos and Latinas use math in their jobs.

Benefits of Math for Continuing Education

Taking many math courses during high school will help your child when he or she goes to college, technical schools, and job-related training. When your teens have the needed math skills, they will feel more prepared to take college level math classes. Actually, their mathematical knowledge will help them in all STEM-related courses and many non-STEM-related classes. They will feel more confident to face new challenges. They will be more likely to succeed in those courses and graduate from colleges. So, it is important for them to do well in math during middle school and high school. If they study hard, it will help them.

The Washington Post reports that best paying jobs are in STEM-related careers. Jobs in business-related majors that require math, such as accounting and marketing, pay well too. All these majors require mathematical knowledge and skills. For example, a computer scientist’s average base salary is $70,000 per year. A mechanical engineer’s average base salary is $68,000 per year. Individuals with nursing degrees earn around $59,000 per year for their base salary. Base salaries do not include benefits, bonuses, and other compensations that employees receive in addition to the base pay.

A Math Matters video summarizes the Washington Post report about the fifty college majors with highest earnings.

Other Benefits of Learning Mathematics

Studying mathematics has other benefits for your child. The Department of Mathematics at Duke Trinity College reports that learning mathematics helps your child develop analytical thinking skills. It also improves your child’s problem solving abilities. Problem solving and analytical skills are highly desired in many jobs. Your teens will have a greater chance finding a job if they develop these skills in school. They will also do better on tests and exams that they take at school and college if they know how to solve problems.

Careers in mathematics are growing and so are their annual salaries; however, there is another great benefit of studying mathematics. Math-related occupations promise high-levels of job satisfaction. Job satisfaction makes people feel better about their lives.

A Math Matters video summarizes the Duke Trinity College report about the growing careers in mathematics and their benefits.

Teenagers do not always appreciate the importance of their math schoolwork. Also, they don’t always see the relevance of their math schoolwork to their futures. However, research shows that when they do perceive value, they become more interested in their schoolwork and work harder. Parents can help teenagers discover the connections that are most meaningful to them. By talking with your children about the importance of mathematics for their future lives, you can motivate them to be more engaged in math learning. This engagement will help them learn new math skills and become successful later on in life.

 



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Math Matters
Lee Shumow
lshumow@niu.edu