Mathematics has many professional applications within science, computing, research and development, engineering, economics, actuarial science, and more. Mathematics is a good fit for individuals who are analytical thinkers and like the idea of using their quantitative skills to solve problems and provide valuable analysis for organizations. It is also an education specialization that can help people become effective math teachers in both K-12 and postsecondary education settings. Online degree programs in mathematics allow students a more flexible option for completing their degree, allowing students to log in at the time of day that works best for them rather than having to report to a campus at set times throughout the week. The best online degree programs in mathematics will allow students to take a range of electives that are best suited to the student’s chosen career path.

#### Online Associate Degree Programs for Mathematics

An online degree program in mathematics at the associate level is a good choice for students who plan to transfer their credits into a four-year program that requires a strong general education base in math and science. Many online associate degrees in mathematics are set up specifically as transfer programs, such as Onondaga Community College’s associate degree in mathematics and science, which can be completed online. Programs such as this include courses in pre-calculus, calculus, sciences with labs, statistics, and mathematics electives alongside general education requirements like college writing, humanities, and the social and behavioral sciences. While a student will need further education for math-related careers such as teachers, mathematicians, actuaries, statisticians, and researchers, an associate degree can lay a solid foundation for continued study in these fields.

#### Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Mathematics

Online bachelor degree programs in mathematics equip students with the essential quantitative skills they need to prepare for future graduate study in mathematics and related areas. Students not only learn mathematical skills at increasing levels of complexity, but they also explore the many practical applications of mathematics. Students take courses in algebra, calculus, logic, statistics, technical writing, discrete mathematics, regression analysis, applied linear algebra, and more. Some students complete teacher education programs at the same time in pursuit of becoming a middle or high school math teacher. These students tend to take classes in child development, methods of teaching mathematics, classroom management, and related classes.

#### Online Master’s Degree Programs for Mathematics

Online masters degree programs in mathematics are a good fit for two main categories of students ó those who want to enter academic, scientific, and research professions in mathematics, and those who want to teach mathematics in K-12 schools. Mathematics courses for students in the first category tend to build on a student’s undergraduate education in mathematics by building a student’s skills in increasingly complex mathematical principles. For instance, the University of Washington’s online Master of Science in Applied Mathematics includes courses in Vector Calculus and Complex Variables, Dynamical Systems and Chaos, Methods for Partial Differential Equations, Calculus of Variations, and more. Master’s programs for mathematics educators, however, include courses in curriculum development in mathematics, and methods of teaching different types of math, such as algebra, geography, and calculus. Programs leading to teacher licensure will include a student teaching requirement and a capstone project entailing education research.

#### Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Mathematics

Online college degree programs in mathematics are not commonly available at the doctoral level, the highest degree level attainable in mathematics. Ph.D. programs in mathematics are a good fit for students who seek careers as mathematicians or university professors. At the doctoral level, students often choose to specialize in a specific area, such as applied mathematics, pure mathematics, or mathematics education. Required course work will closely align with a student’s specialization. Students take advanced mathematics courses such as applied probability statistics, numerical optimization, mathematical analysis in biology and medicine, scientific computing, real and complex analysis, and more. Students cap off their course work by taking one or more comprehensive exams in which they demonstrate a mastery of their area of specialization. The program concludes with the completion and oral defense of the student’s dissertation, a book-length document detailing the students original, substantive research into an area of mathematics.

#### Online Degree Programs in Mathematics in the Work Place

While many careers, such as those in finance and engineering, entail the use of mathematics, the two careers that are most directly related to mathematics include mathematics educators and mathematicians. Mathematicians generally must have a graduate degree to find employment although a limited number of jobs are open to individuals with bachelor’s degrees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Mathematicians reported a median yearly salary of $99,380 in May 2010, with careers in scientific research and development services among the highest paying, on average, according to the BLS. Of course, salaries can vary based on a mathematician’s experience, employer, location, and educational attainment. Employment growth for mathematicians is projected to be as fast as average compared to other occupations, with 16% job growth expected between 2010 and 2020.

High school teachers, who require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification, earned a median yearly salary of $53,230 in May 2010, according to the BLS. Salaries vary depending on a math teacher’s experience, educational attainment, and the size and location of the school district they work for. While job growth for high school teachers is projected to be slower than average compared to other professions, demand for math teachers is often higher than teachers of other subjects because of the difficulty many school districts face in filling such positions, the BLS explained. In addition, job opportunities are expected to be more promising in the South and West, rather than other regions of the country.