Let’s be practical. It’s great to be a student interested in science, technology, engineering and math, but where will the jobs be when you’re ready to step into the workforce?
The good news, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is that many STEM occupations are projected to grow faster than the average. The government expects overall STEM employment (excluding health care) to grow about 13 percent between 2012 and 2022. That’s about 2 percent better than the rate overall. Health-care jobs add another big share. As many as 25 percent of all jobs will be in health care by 2024, the government estimates.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there will be a lot of jobs in a specific STEM field, even if it’s fast-growing. For example, there are projected to be only 24,600 biomedical engineers in 2022 compared to 648,400 computer systems analysts. And some of the positions on the Department of Labor’s fastest-growing jobs, such as physical therapy aide, are not high-paying.
So what are some jobs to consider if you’re a STEM kid headed to college? Here are five that are expected to grow in the next five to seven years, along with the 2015 median salary. One good way to explore STEM majors and jobs: Attend a STEM summer program or sign up for a STEM class at your local community college or online.
Information security analyst ($90,120): You could be the person who builds and protects a company’s computer networks and systems. You need at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Look for summer or enrichment programs that build your computer or cyber-security skills, such as ID Tech Camps, held throughout the United States.
Civil engineer ($82,220): A civil engineer is a creative problem-solver, figuring out how to build a bridge, solve a waste-water issue, create a sustainable building, or do the engineering for an amusement park. This job requires at least a bachelor’s degree. If you’re curious, try a summer engineering program, like the MINES Summer Program for Young Women at Montana Tech.
Operations research analyst ($78,630): Do you love crunching data? This might be the job for you. Analysts use math and other tools to look for trends, analyze research and identify problems. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree and probably a master’s or Ph.D. Try it out in a summer data science program like the one at Ramapo College.
Post-secondary biological science teacher ($75,740): If you like the world of academics and research, consider teaching science at a college or university. You’ll need at least a master’s degree and likely a Ph.D. Get a feel for research at a summer program like the one at Acadia Institute of Oceanography in Maine.
Genetic counselor ($72,090): These people work with individuals and families to assess the risk of inherited conditions. This field is growing rapidly with the study of genomes and developments in the lab. Curious about genetics? Boston Institute offers a summer program in genetics and clinical trials.