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College Math Teacher: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a college math teacher. Learn about education requirements, job growth and salary to find out if this is the career for you.

What Does a College Math Teacher Do?

College math teachers provide instruction in several areas within the field, ranging from Calculus, linear algebra and differential equations to applied logic and actuarial science. They typically deliver coursework through lectures and problem sets, and professors may also hold office hours to work with students one-on-one or in small groups. In addition, they may serve as thesis mentors for graduate students. Aside from teaching responsibilities, college professors are typically expected to conduct research in a particular area of interest within the field of mathematics and publish their findings in academic journals.

To learn what's required for a career in this field, take a look at the table below:

Degree Required Master's or doctoral degree
Education Field of Study Mathematical science or a related field
Key Skills Strong communication and critical-thinking skills, mathematical reasoning abilities
Job Growth (2020-2030) 6% growth*
Average Salary (2020) $86,760*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types of Math Are Taught in College?

You could potentially teach a wide variety of courses if you choose to become a college math professor. First of all, there are courses that involve standardized mathematics, such as precalculus, calculus, finite mathematics, probability, numerical analysis and the history of math. You also might teach conceptual math, statistics or even actuarial science and finance. A very common path is to become a professor of mathematical science.

What Education Do I Need?

If you want to become a college math teacher, a good way to do this is to major in mathematics or mathematical science during your undergraduate years. A few of the classes you might encounter are linear and abstract algebra, geometry and computer science. In order to teach at the collegiate level, you'll need to continue your education in a master's or doctoral degree program in mathematical science or a related discipline. Doctorate programs in mathematical science are typically very competitive to enroll in.

What Is the Job Market Like?

The number of positions available for postsecondary mathematical science teachers was expected to grow 6% between 2020 and 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This would amount to 3,200 new positions. However, fierce competition is expected for tenure-track positions at 4-year colleges and universities. When a college teacher is granted tenure, they have the contractual right to not have their job terminated until retirement without just cause.

What Salary Can I Expect to Make?

In May 2020, the BLS reported that the average annual wage for postsecondary mathematical science teachers was $86,760. However, the amount you can expect to draw varies from state to state. For example, the average salary for postsecondary mathematical science teachers in Wyoming was $65,030, while the average annual wage in Massachusetts was $100,440.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Individuals who want to provide instruction in math may look for jobs as high school math teachers. These teachers usually offer courses in lower-level mathematical topics like algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus and calculus. In order to work as a high school math teacher, it is not necessary to earn a Ph.D.; the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor's degree, and those who work in public schools must be licensed or certified. Another option for mathematics experts is a job as a financial analyst. These professionals consult with businesses and individuals on investment decisions. A bachelor's degree in math is sufficient for an entry-level financial analyst job, but it is important to note that higher level positions may require a master's degree in finance or business.