In the global, knowledge-based economy of the 21st century, careers involving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are of increasing importance, and so is an awareness of where a STEM education can take you. Success in these fields will be dependent on the kinds of students who excel, and those skilled in these areas will have a global competitive edge. STEM knowledge and skills are not just important for mathematicians and scientists, but span a wide variety of career paths from manufacturing to microeconomics. With technology influencing almost every part of daily life, the workplace increasingly needs STEM skilled workers equipped with the knowledge and tools to function in the global environment.
For students and parents, the earlier a pursuit of STEM education starts, the better. It is important to get students at the junior high level involved in mathematics, science courses, and projects that are engaging and fuel interest in these disciplines. Teachers who enjoy the field and can convey a passion for eager students, and serve as positive role models. Students from junior high through post-secondary education can also benefit by finding role models in STEM careers.
Through job-shadowing and internships, an individual can build skills and see the various career pathways available. To determine what careers may be suitable, take a personal inventory of interests, skills and abilities in STEM areas.
A Sample of STEM Careers
There are a wide variety of career possibilities in STEM disciplines.
Stairway to Science
Those who specialize in the science field can pursue atmospheric science, biology, chemistry, geosciences, or science technology. Career pathways in science range from biotechnology and food science, to astrophysics and oceanography.
Preparation for the various fields varies from an associate degree for many science technicians, to a master’s degree for research in geosciences and a Ph.D. for high-level research or college professorships.
Taking to Tech
Technology careers include the fields of science, engineering, healthcare, and education. One technology pathway is semiconductor processing. People in this field oversee the manufacture of microchips to ensure quality control and maintain equipment. Degrees for various technology careers can be 2 or 4 years in length.
Those with an aptitude in engineering can find career pathways in computer science and a wide variety of engineering disciplines including aerospace engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, and software engineering. Most engineers specialize in a discipline or further in a particular industry. Although many entry level positions are open to engineers with a bachelor’s degree, online degrees open doors to faculty positions and research and development programs.
Made for Math
Mathematics specialties include actuarial science, mathematicians, and statisticians. Individuals with training in mathematics are invaluable in business, government and industry. Modeling and simulation, analysis, scheduling, and more rely on mathematics. Mathematician jobs in private industry usually require a Ph.D. or higher.
The possibilities for those who pursue STEM education are wide and varied. By concentrating on subjects that build the knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, an individual can open broad horizons for the future. With an increasingly global and technological society, those who choose a STEM education increase their marketability and options for employment and a rewarding career.
Read more about STEM careers
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. In her research she found that an Ohio University engineering online degree opens doors for many careers. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.