How Much Math Do I Need to Be a …

Mathematics is  used in  almost all  jobs  and  careers .  To help studentsrealistically choose a profession or trade , it is  necessary  for them to beaware of the math skills needed in specific career paths.  If a student  hates math and has  has struggled to  earned a grade better than a C in an algebra or geometry  class, it may not be a good suggestion to set sites on a career in engineering.  This article is not intended to discourage  children  from  an interest in  a chosencareer , but instead to shed light on the math skills needed and how  students can improve their    understanding of math  so they can pursue   a  chosen profession or trade.

Before I discuss the mathematics requirements for different  fields  , I would like to  discuss what we can do when a student isn’thaving success  in math but still  wants  to pursue aprofession  involving mathematics .  As I said before, I am not trying to discourage anyone from a chosen career . So, with that said, what can  parents and teachers  do for children to help them be successful in  mathematics  so they canenter a profession of interest .

First of all , start when children are young.  When children are young, they can experience failure  that literally traumatize them for the rest of their lives .  One of these experiences is feeling  like a failure  because of not  comprehending  math.  A commonmistake  is to allow young children to use a calculator for  math assignments when they  have difficulty  doing it by hand.    Early In  math education, sets thefoundation for more advanced mathematical  ideas  .  Remember, if someone can’t multiply 23 and 45 , he/she won’t be able to multiply  (3z + 5) and (2y – 1)  .  Doing basic arithmetic is the beginning to mathematical thinking .  Please do not  have students    access  calculators until they  understand  how to solve math problems by hand.  Once  they are allowed to use calculators,  continue to have  them  continuewith  mental math and solve  problems  by  hand to keep their math skills   honed  .  Some basic  ideas for mental math include asking them questions about  the “times” table, calculating  the tip at a restaurant, calculating  the tax on a bill, or even adding-up  and estimating the total cost of items  you are buying  at the grocery store .

What about  children  that already have negative feelings  concerning math ?  The thing to do is go back in their  life  and find out when/where they began not understanding and disliking math.   Re-teach and review  the  ideas  they don’t understand , andgo forward to help them  be  more comfortable with math .    Much of the dislike   that some students have towards math is a result of fear .  It  seems  easier to say, “I  hate  math,” then to  understand the feelings  and move on  .  There are  many  resources    available to help   children   on their way to   math  success.  It will take  much  work, but theend result  will be a child that  will have  a choice of any  profession  .

Some of the online resources available are  online geometry , virtual math lab, and virtual algebra tutoring.  There are also many learning centers and  tutors  that  can be found  through your local school district or college  .  Which ever resource(s) you choose,determine  what you expect  from   tutoring or the learning service .  Express your goals to those  that are working  with your  student  , so you can worktogether to best help your  student  succeed .  If you try a service and it  is making  your child anxious, find out what is causing the anxiety and if  needed  , stop using that service .   More  anxiety will only reinforce the  fear and dislike  of  mathematics  .  Also, you can  discuss your concern with  a school counselor to discuss ideas  to help your child cope with the  fear  .  You can even consult a therapist if the anxiety seems to  debilitate or overwhelm  your child.  

Taking steps to remove the  anxiety  of math can only  benefit  your child.   What ever tools  you choose to use for your child (tutors, counselors, or therapists) will help him/her to be more confident in math  .  Once the  fear  is under control, your child will have the confidence to succeed in  mathematics  !

Here is a partial list of careers and the math that is required.

Actuary: Algebra, Statistics, Calculus

Accountant: Arithmetic, Statistics, Algebra

Administrative Assistant: Arithmetic, Statistics, Algebra

Business: Arithmetic, Statistics, Algebra

Carpenter: Arithmetic, Fractions, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry

Chef: Arithmetic, Fractions, Algebra

Dentist: Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus

Computer Programmer: Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus (Depending on what type of programs you are writing)

Economics: Arithmetic, Statistics, Algebra

Engineering: Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus

Information Technology:  Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus (Depending on the type of systems and processes)

Lab Technician: Arithmetic, Statistics, Algebra

Law Enforcement: Arithmetic, Statistics, Algebra (Calculus for some forensic fields)

Lawyer: Arithmetic, Algebra, Statistics

Medical Doctor: Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus

Nurse: Arithmetic, Fractions, Algebra

Teacher (Elementary):  Arithmetic, Algebra

Teacher (Secondary) Non-Math/Science: Arithmetic, Algebra

Teacher (Secondary) Math or Science:  Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus

Plummer: Arithmetic, Fractions, Algebra

Psychology:  Arithmetic, Fractions, Algebra

Scientist: Algebra, Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus

prevost.magdalene marsolek-ahmad@mailxu.com