STEM careers account for over 6% of all U.S. jobs. The acronym refers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and includes careers in physical and life sciences, computer science, mathematics, and engineering. Many employment experts include health professions, health technology, and social sciences under this umbrella as well.
Reasons to Pursue a STEM Career
There are some incredibly compelling reasons to pursue a STEM career:
- An excellent job outlook: Careers related to STEM are on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' list of occupations the government agency predicts will have the highest average employment growth over the next decade.
- High earnings: STEM workers earn a median annual salary of $84,880. That is more than double the $37,020 median wage non-STEM workers earn.
- Jobs are available at all educational levels: Regardless of the level of education you plan to attain—high school diploma or associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree—you can find a suitable STEM occupation.
While a STEM career can be lucrative, that doesn't mean it's right for everyone. As individuals, we all have different interests, personality types, aptitudes, and work-related values. Each of these traits should play a crucial role in identifying a suitable profession and course of study. Don't make any career-related decisions without first taking the time to learn about yourself and explore the career you are considering.
Adding STEAM to Your Career Training
Many people are now emphasizing the need to add the arts—including visual and performing arts, writing, literature, and communications—into the mix with the sciences. Adding the '"A" for arts gives you STEAM.
Combining arts education with STEM education can provide you with some vital skills such as critical reasoning, problem solving, time management, communication, and creativity. In addition, design is an essential ingredient in innovation. Not only must things be functional, but they must also be aesthetically pleasing. On the other hand, if you are passionate about the arts and you would like to make that your career focus, adding science or technology courses to your curriculum can also be beneficial.
45 STEM Careers
Many careers utilize the skills and knowledge acquired through education in a STEM discipline. Here are 45 of them:
- Actuary: An actuary uses database software, statistical analysis, and modeling software to evaluate the probability of an event occurring in order to minimize its impact on their employer (e.g., an insurance company).
- Architect: An architect designs buildings and other structures, making sure they are functional, safe, and meet the needs of those who inhabit them.
- Biochemist and Biophysicist: A biochemist and a biophysicist both study living organisms and their relationship to the environment.
- Biomedical Engineer: A biomedical engineer solves problems related to biology or medicine.
- Cardiovascular Technologist: A cardiovascular technologist uses non-invasive or invasive procedures to help doctors diagnose and treat cardiac and vascular problems.
- Chemist: By searching for and using new knowledge about chemicals, a chemist creates processes and develops products that improve the way we live.
- Computer and Information Systems Manager: A computer and information systems manager, who may go under the title of chief information officer, chief technology officer, IT director, or IT security officer, directs an organization's computer-related activities.
- Computer Hardware Engineer: A computer hardware engineer oversees the manufacture and installation of the physical parts of computers and computer systems.
- Computer Programmer: A computer programmer writes the code that serves as a set of instructions that make software and operating systems work as intended.
- Computer Support Specialist: A computer support specialist helps people who are having trouble using computer hardware, software or peripherals.
- Computer Systems Analyst: A computer systems analyst helps an organization use technology efficiently and effectively.
- Conservationist: A conservationist helps governments and landowners utilize land without harming natural resources such as soil and water.
- Cost Estimator: A cost estimator calculates how much it will cost to complete a construction or manufacturing project.
- Dental Hygienist: A dental hygienist, working alongside a dentist, provides preventative oral care to patients.
- Dentist: A dentist diagnoses and treats any problems he or she finds after examining a patient's teeth and mouth tissue.
- Dietitian: A dietitian plans and supervises food and nutrition programs at institutions including schools, nursing homes, and hospitals.
- Doctor: A doctor, also called a physician, diagnoses and then treats injuries and illnesses.
- Engineer: An engineer uses their expertise in science, engineering, and math to solve technical problems. Each engineer specializes in a specific branch of engineering.
- Engineering Technician: An engineering technician uses their expertise in science, math, and engineering to assist engineers in solving technical problems. Like engineers, each one specializes in a particular engineering discipline.
- Environmental Scientist: An environmental scientist conducts research that allows them to find ways to protect the environment.
- Environmental Technician: An environmental technician, working under the supervision of an environmental scientist, monitors the environment by performing laboratory and field tests.
- Forensic Scientist: A forensic scientist gathers, documents, and analyzes physical evidence from crime scenes.
- Geographer: A geographer researches the land, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of a specific region of the earth in order to help governments and businesses plan construction, disaster response, and marketing strategies.
- Geoscientist: A geoscientist studies physical aspects of the earth such as its structure and composition.
- Hydrologist: A hydrologist studies the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters.
- Laboratory Technician: A laboratory technician performs tests and procedures that help medical professionals diagnose diseases, and plan treatments and ascertain their effectiveness.
- Laboratory Technologist: A laboratory technologist performs complex tests that help doctors and other medical professionals diagnose and treat diseases.
- Medical Scientist: A medical scientist researches the causes of diseases and develops ways to prevent or treat them.
- Network Systems Analyst: A network systems analyst designs, analyzes, tests, and evaluates network systems including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), the internet, and intranets.
- Nuclear Medicine Technologist: A nuclear medicine technologist administers radioactive drugs to a patient to diagnose or treat a disease.
- Nurse, Licensed Practical: A licensed practical nurse (LPN) cares for patients under the supervision of a registered nurse.
- Nurse, Registered: A registered nurse (RN) provides medical and emotional support to patients and their families.
- Occupational Therapist: An occupational therapist (OT) helps patients regain their ability to perform daily living and work activities.
- Operations Research Analyst: An operations research analyst solves problems for organizations and businesses using their expertise in mathematics.
- Optometrist: An optometrist diagnoses and treats disorders and diseases of the eye.
- Pharmacist: A pharmacist dispenses medication and explains their safe use to patients.
- Physical Therapist: A physical therapist (PT) uses a variety of techniques to restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities in their patients.
- Psychologist (Clinical): A clinical psychologist diagnoses and treats patients' mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.
- Radiologic Technologist: A radiologic technologist uses diagnostic imaging equipment to help physicians diagnose illnesses and injuries.
- Respiratory Therapist: A respiratory therapist treats patients who are suffering from breathing problems.
- Software Developer: A software developer creates the software that makes computers and other devices functional.
- Surgical Technologist: A surgical technologist assists surgeons and nurses in the operating room.
- Veterinarian: A veterinarian diagnoses illnesses and injuries and provides medical care to animals.
- Veterinary Technician: A veterinary technician assists a veterinarian in providing medical care to animals.
- Web Developer: A web developer creates applications and software that make websites function.