"Why do I have to learn math?"

“Why do I have to learn math?”

Kids sometimes ask, “Why do I have to learn math?” and believe that they won’t need math later in life. Well, it is true that there are many jobs other than being a mathematician or math teacher, but most careers typically require a college degree. Kids might not understand the value of a college degree now, and it’s important for parents to ensure that their children have a strong academic foundation to give them the most options later on. Math plays a pivotal role in getting into college, succeeding in college, and having the most opportunities for career development.

Based on U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, occupations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) have the greatest job prospects in the near future. Since the beginning of 2000, growth in STEM jobs was three times greater than growth in non-STEM jobs. Workers with a degree in a STEM field were significantly less likely to face unemployment compared with their non-STEM counterparts.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, created by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, offers a projection of the fastest growing professions and of the most amount of new jobs. Overall, the occupations with the best job outlook can be grouped together into the following five categories: Health, Computer, Engineering, Business, and Higher Education.

  1. Health Careers
  • Physical and Occupational Therapists; Optometrists and Dentists; Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse; Surgeons, Physicians, and Physician Assistant; Medical and Health Services Manager; Medical and Clinical Lab Technologists, Sonographers, and Technicians
  1. Computer Careers
  • Computer Systems and information Security Analysts; Computer Support Specialist; Software Developer
  1. Engineering Careers (Environmental, Biomedical, Civil, and Computer)
  2. Business Careers
  • Accountants and Auditors; Financial Analysts
  1. Higher Education Careers
  • Professors, particularly STEM

As we can see, most of the occupations projected to have the best outlook are heavily rooted in STEM. Not only do the majority of these occupations need college degrees, but many of the careers also require a graduate degree. Having a good math performance on standardized tests such as the GRE, GMAT, and MCAT will determine if students are qualified for graduate programs. No matter what the degree is in, mathematics is particularly important to gain admission.