STEM Careers

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Academic disciplines
••• STEM Disciplines. Stuart Kinlough/Ikon Images/Getty Images

STEM careers account for over six percent of all U.S. jobs (Occupational Employment and Wages Summary. Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 2017). The acronym refers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and includes careers in physical and life sciencescomputer science, mathematics, and engineering. Many employment experts include health professionshealth technology, and social sciences under this umbrella as well.

Should You 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 those occupations the government agency predicts will have the highest average employment growth over the next decade (Employment Projections 2016-2026. Bureau of Labor Statistics. October 24, 2017).
  • Excellent Earnings: STEM workers earn a median annual salary of $91,210. That is more than double the $47,890 median wage non-STEM workers earn (Employment Projections 2016-2026. Bureau of Labor Statistics. October 24, 2017). 
  • 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 occupation.

While a STEM occupation can be lucrative, it 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 STE-A-M to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

What happens when you add an A to STEM? You get STEAM, with the A standing for the arts, including visual and performing arts, writing, literature, and communications. It's hard to imagine a discipline that is further away from the hard sciences we associate with STEM than the arts.

In fact, combining arts education with STEM education can provide you with some vital skills such as critical reasoning, problem solving, time management, communication, and presentation skills. 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.

50 STEM Careers

Many careers can utilize the skills and knowledge acquired through education in a STEM discipline. Here are 50 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 his or her employer.
  • 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 having to do with 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 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 his or her expertise in science, engineering, and math to solve technical problems. He or she specializes in a particular branch of engineering.
  • Engineering Technician: An engineering technician uses his or her expertise in science, math, and engineering to assist engineers in solving technical problems. He or she specializes in a particular engineering discipline.
  • Environmental Scientist: An environmental scientist conducts research that allows him or her 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 then 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 his or her 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 makes websites function.