Individuals interested in going to college always face a conundrum: they don’t know for sure what they want to do. These individuals may have a list of interests or an implausible dream. No matter the situation, they need guidance. One helpful suggestion would be to at least consider earning a degree in one of the STEM fields. STEM degrees may allow a person to do what they love while also securing a job once they graduate.
What is a STEM degree?
A STEM degree is a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math. They are degrees in fields with a particularly high demand. These degrees are somewhat different from many of the other degrees offered at colleges. They do not exist at a number of small liberal arts colleges. These degrees also often exist at land grant colleges and colleges with large research wings. An individual who earns one of these degrees may work in a lab for at least one semester. They may be responsible for writing a research paper or working on an otherwise applicable project. The basic outline of a STEM degree is similar to any other degree.
An individual still has to take the same prerequisites as a history or philosophy major. They still have to attend all four years and complete a senior project if one is required by their school. In addition, there is still an opportunity for graduate school. Individuals can receive masters’ or doctorate degrees for any of the STEM fields at many schools. But these degrees, especially the doctorate, are only necessary for a limited number of positions that a graduate may eventually be interested in. Most individuals do not require one of these advanced degrees in order to get a job.
STEM skills in demand
A degree in STEM helps to cultivate many of the skills that are in demand in the current economy. This economy in the United States is an advanced, flexible one. It is based off of technology and the medical field at its highest levels. The main drivers of the current economy are computers. People who are able and willing to manipulate computers will, in many instances, be able to secure top-level jobs. STEM degrees are well-suited for all of these possible positions. Science degrees teach students the formulas, materials, and theories that they need to succeed in any field that requires chemistry, geology, biology, or physics.
Students can use biology and chemistry degrees to gain well-paying jobs in the medical field. Medical jobs are one of the largest growing sectors in today’s economy. There are many other possible job applications for this field as well. A geology degree may be helpful for individuals wanting to work in the fossil fuels industry. Biology helps individuals work with genetics, perform genetics research, and use computers to analyze genes for multiple purposes. Physics can be helpful in design, testing, and anything having to do with forces or energy. People with these degrees all have the potential to pursue advanced versions through a bevy of potential research jobs.
Engineering jobs help individuals build and maintain complex systems in every sector of the economy. Engineers can help with construction, development, manufacturing, or health care. Many of these jobs involve complex calculations and an understanding of several different fields. As a result, they are some of the most lucrative in the contemporary economy. Math degrees can support all of these other fields. An individual can receive a math degree that allows them to write software and program panels that govern business operations. Statistics degrees can be applicable in fields as diverse as manufacturing and finance. Math helps open graduates up to a vast multitude of different jobs in all sectors.
How STEM graduates get jobs
STEM degrees help individuals build early connections with businesses. Many people who graduate college do not have a job lined up. These individuals are so focused on doing the work it takes to graduate that they spend little time looking for a job while they are taking classes. As a result, they may spend weeks or months sending out resumes and hoping that a company will respond. These individuals may have to take one or multiple jobs outside of their particular field. Many people with STEM degrees do not have to take such steps. They are in a fundamentally different position. In many cases, companies will come calling to them.
There will be job fairs where companies will be searching for individuals to fill badly needed positions. People with STEM degrees can attend those job fairs and secure a well-paying job before they even graduate. Sometimes, instructors and professors recommend students to companies that come to a college eager for new employees. These students may receive a job without even having to go to a fair. This effort takes a considerable amount of stress off of the recent graduate.
Paying for school
This demand for STEM degrees can often help individuals pay for schooling. Schools are often hungry for as many new STEM students as possible. They want to try and cultivate relationships with companies in a number of different sectors. The school will serve as an initial training ground for many of these companies when they choose to grow or need to fill their ranks. As a result, they will sponsor scholarships that bring in individuals from a number of different fields. They will especially focus on bring more women and people of color into the STEM field.
Whatever the reason for the scholarship, individuals may be able to secure funding for their entire time in college from one of these scholarships. Scholarships may pay for housing and expenses as well as tuition. Such funding will be incredibly helpful. It will prevent an individual from having to take out massive student loans. This avoidance of loans is especially true for anyone interested in pursuing a STEM field at a private or out-of-state college. These colleges may have massive tuition payments with little support from the college itself.
What to do
Individuals who are interested in pursuing STEM degrees should consider talking to their counselors or advisers at their schools. These individuals will have lists of the multiple fields that fall under the STEM designation. An adviser or counselor can help in the process of picking a field and then pursuing that field through to a degree. Individuals who may want to pursue a STEM field should decide on a field that they are interested in. This may be a field that they perform particularly well in through their classes or one that they have always been curious about. They do not want to struggle and work as hard as they can for a field that does not interest them or poses significant struggles.
Then, they may be able to help their position in a STEM field depending on where they are in college or high school. If they start early enough, they may be able to take Advanced Placement courses that might help them gain a familiarity with one of the STEM fields. Many high schools offer advanced calculus, chemistry, and physics courses. These advanced courses may help individuals become familiar with the work they will be frequently doing when they reach a STEM field.
Stem Degree List
Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture
Agricultural Animal Breeding
Food Technology and Processing
Food Science and Technology
Agronomy and Crop Science
Agricultural and Horticultural Plant Breeding
Plant Protection and Integrated Pest Management
Range Science and Management
Soil Science and Agronomy
Soil Chemistry and Physics
Natural Resources Conservation and Research
Water, Wetlands, and Marine Resources Management
Forest Sciences and Biology
Wood Science and Wood Products/Pulp and Paper Technology
Wildlife, Fish and Wildlands Science and Management
Architectural and Building Sciences/Technology
Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia
Animation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics and Special Effects
Computer and Information Sciences
Computer and Information Sciences
Computer Programming, Specific Applications
Computer Programming, Vendor/Product Certification
Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician
Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst
Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design
Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration
Modeling, Virtual Environments and Simulation
Computer Software and Media Applications
Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications
Network and System Administration/Administrator
System, Networking, and LAN/WAN Management/Manager
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance
Web/Multimedia Management and Webmaster
Information Technology Project Management11 111006 Computer Support Specialist
Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management
Educational Evaluation and Research
Educational Statistics and Research Methods
Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering
Ceramic Sciences and Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Transportation and Highway Engineering
Water Resources Engineering
Computer Hardware Engineering
Computer Software Engineering
Electrical and Electronics Engineering
Laser and Optical Engineering
Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering
Engineering Physics/Applied Physics
Engineering Science14 141401 Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
Mining and Mineral Engineering
Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
Textile Sciences and Engineering
Paper Science and Engineering
Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering
Architectural Engineering Technology/Technician
Civil Engineering Technology/Technician
Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering
Laser and Optical Technology/Technician
Telecommunications Integrated Circuit Design
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technologies/Technicians
Electromechanical Technology/Electromechanical Engineering
Automation Engineer Technology/Technician
Electromechanical and Instrumentation and Maintenance Technologies/Technicians
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Engineering
Energy Management and Systems Technology/Technician
Solar Energy Technology/Technician
Water Quality and Wastewater Treatment Management and Recycling
Environmental Engineering Technology/Environmental Technology
Hazardous Materials Management and Waste Technology/Technician
Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians
Plastics and Polymer Engineering Technology/Technician
Manufacturing Engineering Technology/Technician
Welding Engineering Technology/Technician
Chemical Engineering Technology/Technician
Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology
Industrial Production Technologies/Technicians
Occupational Safety and Health Technology/Technician
Quality Control Technology/Technician
Industrial Safety Technology/Technician
Hazardous Materials Information Systems Technology/Technician
Quality Control and Safety Technologies/Technicians
Automotive Engineering Technology/Technician
Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Technology/Technician
Mechanical Engineering Related Technologies/Technicians
Mining and Petroleum Technologies/Technicians
Construction Engineering Technology/Technician
Hydraulics and Fluid Power Technology/Technician
Computer Engineering Technology/Technician
Computer Technology/Computer Systems Technology
Computer Hardware Technology/Technician
Computer Software Technology/Technician
Computer Engineering Technologies/Technicians
Drafting and Design Technology/Technician
CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician
Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD
Civil Drafting and Civil Engineering CAD/CADD
Electrical/Electronics Drafting and Electrical/Electronics CAD/CADD
Mechanical Drafting and Mechanical Drafting CAD/CADD
Drafting/Design Engineering Technologies/Technicians
Nuclear Engineering Technology/Technician
Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields
Biomedical Sciences26 260202 Biochemistry
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Plant Molecular Biology
Cell/Cellular Biology and Histology
Developmental Biology and Embryology
Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology
Cell Biology and Anatomy
Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
Medical Microbiology and Bacteriology
Microbiology and Immunology
Microbiological Sciences and Immunology
Animal Behavior and Ethology
Microbial and Eukaryotic Genetics
Vision Science/Physiological Optics
Oncology and Cancer Biology
Aerospace Physiology and Medicine
Physiology, Pathology, and Related Sciences
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Biometry/Biometrics26 261102 Biostatistics
Biomathematics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology
Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
Systematic Biology/Biological Systematics
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Population Biology
Neurobiology and Anatomy
Neurobiology and Behavior
Neurobiology and Neurosciences
Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Algebra and Number Theory
Analysis and Functional Analysis
Topology and Foundations
Computational and Applied Mathematics27 270305 Financial Mathematics
Mathematical Statistics and Probability
Mathematics and Statistics
Mathematics and Statistics
Air Science/Airpower Studies
Air and Space Operational Art and Science
Naval Science and Operational Studies
Command & Control (C3, C4I) Systems and Operations
Information Operations/Joint Information Operations
Information/Psychological Warfare and Military Media Relations
Cyber/Electronic Operations and Warfare
ntelligence, Command Control and Information Operations
Combat Systems Engineering
Directed Energy Systems
Low-Observables and Stealth Technology
Space Systems Operations
Military Applied Sciences
Aerospace Ground Equipment Technology
Air and Space Operations Technology
Aircraft Armament Systems Technology
Explosive Ordinance/Bomb Disposal
Joint Command/Task Force (C3, C4I) Systems
Military Information Systems Technology
Missile and Space Systems Technology
Munitions Systems/Ordinance Technology
Radar Communications and Systems Technology
Military Systems and Maintenance Technology
Military Technologies and Applied Sciences
Biological and Physical Sciences
Systems Science and Theory
Mathematics and Computer Science
Human Computer Interaction
Planetary Astronomy and Science
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology
Atmospheric Chemistry and Climatology
Atmospheric Physics and Dynamics
Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology
Geophysics and Seismology
Hydrology and Water Resources Science
Geochemistry and Petrology
Oceanography, Chemical and Physical
Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences
Elementary Particle Physics
Plasma and High-Temperature Physics
Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Theoretical and Mathematical Physics
Biology Technician/Biotechnology Laboratory Technician
Industrial Radiologic Technology/Technician
Nuclear/Nuclear Power Technology/Technician
Nuclear and Industrial Radiologic Technologies/Technicians
Chemical Process Technology
Physical Science Technologies/Technicians
Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics
Developmental and Child Psychology
Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology
Research and Experimental Psychology
Forensic Science and Technology
Cyber/Computer Forensics and Counterterrorism
Econometrics and Quantitative Economics
Geographic Information Science and Cartography
Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science and Technology
Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology/Technologist
Pharmaceutics and Drug Design
Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Natural Products Chemistry and Pharmacognosy
Clinical and Industrial Drug Development
Industrial and Physical Pharmacy and Cosmetic Sciences51
Veterinary Microbiology and Immunobiology
Veterinary Pathology and Pathobiology
Veterinary Toxicology and Pharmacology
Veterinary Preventive Medicine Epidemiology and Public Health
Veterinary Infectious Diseases
Management Science and Quantitative Methods
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Anybody interested in a STEM job should be prepared for years of hard work. They will have to understand complicated mathematical and scientific concepts. However, after all of that work they will be able to perform the tasks that help drive the modern economy. The possibility of a STEM job should, therefore, be front and center for every American graduating from high school.