STEM Career Exploration 101

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You’ve likely heard a lot about STEM lately; science, technology, engineering, and math. So what is all the buzz about?

Simply put, STEM is an in-demand field with tremendous opportunity. STEM jobs are rising in number, expected to grow 13% by 2027 – way more than non-STEM jobs, which are expected to rise a mere 9%. Yet despite the growing number of STEM job openings, U.S. universities will only graduate enough STEM graduates to fill 30% of those jobs. There are many more available jobs in STEM than there are available workers.

Not only are there a ton of open STEM jobs, but they also pay way more! On average, STEM workers earn nearly double that non-STEM workers, and enjoy additional benefits such as paid tuition, relocation assistance, sign on bonuses, and more.

Clearly STEM jobs are great jobs. So how do you get started in choosing the perfect STEM career?

Getting Started

When first exploring the opportunity of STEM careers, the best place to start is by browsing STEM career lists. Lists organize STEM careers alphabetically, by interest, and by personality type to help you quickly and easily see what STEM careers exist, and connect you with additional information to learn more about careers of interest. STEM careers are very broad, ranging from astronaut and chemical engineer to fashion designer and yoga instructor!

Oftentimes knowing where to start is the hardest part; lists are your solution, and will help you see what STEM careers exist all in one place. For a guided tour of STEM career lists, complete Career In STEM®’s Career Scavenger Hunt.

Once you have a general idea of your interest area (ex: engineering, space, etc.), the next step is to learn more about careers within your area of interest. Our interest page will help you quickly and easily find careers related to things you love. Simply click on the career name to view a day in the life video, downloadable career information sheet, and fun game – all free!

Next Steps

Once you have an idea of what you would like to do as a career, the next step is to learn as much as you can about that career, as well as similar and related careers. It is important to know what someone in that career actually does, as well as important information such as educational requirements, salary, necessary skills, etc. Oftentimes you do not know if you really like something (or not!) until you do it. Thus it is critical to see what people in your desired career actually do on a daily basis. Things like job shadows, internships, and talking to a mentor will help you see your desired career in action. Unfortunately many teens do not take the time to see what STEM professionals actually do before graduating high school, and therefore do not make informed career decisions. It is no surprise that college loan debt and youth unemployment are both at all-time highs. Job shadows, internships, mentors, and much more can all be found using the Career In STEM® homepage – try it before you major in it!

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