Technology and Engineering Career Opportunities That Use Mathematics

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While, on the surface, many technical and engineering careers may not appear to use mathematics extensively, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Studying mathematics and science in school is necessary to become prepared for university programs that will lead to careers in aerospace engineering, agricultural engineering, materials engineering, architecture, or surveying, where mathematics is an integral part of the daily routine.

aerospace engineering

Aerospace engineers rely heavily on mathematics. Principles found in advanced mathematics such as trigonometry and calculus are necessary for design work, analysis, and troubleshooting. Aerospace engineers are typically involved with the design and development of spacecraft, aircraft, satellites, and missiles. They are also involved with the development of new technologies to be used in the aerospace industry. These technologies may include guidance systems, navigation controls, robotics, combustion systems, or instrumentation to name a few. To become an aerospace engineer, a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering is required. In addition to a degree, many companies require security clearances that need to be obtained through the U.S. Government. The aerospace profession is estimated to grow by five percent between 2010 and 2020. Since many aerospace engineers are involved with defense-related projects that require security clearances, these jobs will most likely remain in the United States and are not likely to be "off-shored" for cheaper labor (U.S. Department of Labor, 2012).

The U.S. Department of Labor (2012) reports the median annual salary of an aerospace engineer at $97,480 as of May 2010. (2012) reports the median base salary as $62,278 and indicates 401k/403B retirement plans, disability insurance, healthcare insurance, and time off are typical benefits that accompany the base salary.


agricultural engineering

Agricultural engineers use mathematics and technology in many of the activities in their industry, which include designing machinery and equipment with computer-aided design technology, testing machinery and equipment, designing food-processing plants, designing structures to house animals and crops, and control water resources. A bachelor's degree is required in agricultural engineering or biological engineering. Students in school should plan to take advanced mathematics courses in trigonometry and calculus as well as coursework in biology, chemistry, and physics. With regard to employment outlook, a growth rate of nine percent is expected for agricultural engineers between 2010 to 2020. As the United States markets its agricultural technology to other countries, additional job opportunities may be created (U.S. Department of Labor, 2012).

The U.S. Department of Labor (2012) reports the median annual salary of an agricultural engineer at $71,090 as of May 2010. (2012) does not report specific salary information for agricultural engineers; however, a related occupation called soil science lists a median base salary as $63,830.

materials engineering

Materials engineers use mathematics when testing the structure of materials and determining how materials fail. Data from failure tests can help to determine causes as well as possible solutions. Materials engineers not only test materials, they are involved with the development of materials to be used in products ranging from computer chips to golf clubs. Individuals in this profession get to work with metals, plastics, ceramics, composites, and semiconductors. A bachelor's degree is required; practical experience through a cooperative program is recommended. Students in school should pursue coursework in algebra, trigonometry, calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics. The projected growth rate is nine percent for materials engineers from 2010 to 2020. …