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Top 6 Benefits of Earning a STEM Degree

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If you are interested in pursuing a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degree, you can rest assured that this is a very advantageous path.

STEM fields are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying in the United States.

However, the many benefits of a STEM degree don’t stop there. Read below to explore the top six benefits of earning a STEM degree.   

1. High Salaries

Immediately following graduation, STEM graduates earn among the highest initial salaries.

  • For example, computer science majors, on average, have a starting salary of $71,500. Chemical engineers are hired at an average of $72,100.

Of course, these salaries continue to grow and continue to be among the highest throughout employment. Computer science majors may eventually make up to $102,000, while chemical engineers may earn a salary of up to $100,000.

  • According to the American Engineering Association, STEM graduates earn about 87% more than non-STEM graduates.
  • Even STEM majors who eventually work in non-STEM occupations earn more than their counterparts who do not hold STEM degrees.

If you have to take out student loans, the ability to immediately earn a high salary can be extremely helpful in paying off that student debt. Even if you don’t have student loans, a STEM degree can lead to a lucrative salary and financial security.

2. Growing Career Field

As technology continues to develop, it makes sense that STEM fields are some of the fastest-growing in the United States—and the world.

  • STEM graduates are in extremely high demand, meaning you are unlikely to experience a shortage of available jobs following graduation.
  • In fact, the need for STEM workers is so great that the United States has programs designed to attract foreign talent.

Job growth does vary based on your specific occupation, but, for example, employment of aerospace engineers grew by 53% from 2005-2015.

In this same time period, medical science jobs increased by 26%. From 2010-2015, 838,000 computer and mathematical jobs were added. Architecture and engineering occupations added an additional 335,000 jobs.

STEM job growth shows no sign of slowing anytime soon. For instance, statistician jobs are expected to grow 34% over just the next seven years.

  • As we see continuing developments in technology and science, these fields will continue to expand and develop.

The fact that STEM salaries continue to rise is a testament to the demand for talented STEM workers. This means that not only will you earn an impressive salary, but you’re also likely to have less difficulty finding employment.

3. Job Satisfaction

Another important benefit of earning a STEM degree is job satisfaction. Employees who enjoy their jobs are more likely to be productive and successful, and STEM majors report some of the highest levels of job satisfaction.

  • 80% of mathematics majors, for example, report being satisfied with their jobs, and 85% report that “things are generally going well.”
  • By comparison, 70% of English majors are satisfied with their jobs, with closer to 74% reporting that “things are generally going well.”

Career Cast is a job-ranking site that releases an annual list of the “best jobs.” This list is based on factors such as job growth, salary, and job satisfaction. For the past several years, this list has been dominated by STEM careers. As early as 2011, 8 of the 10 jobs on the list were related to STEM fields.

  • On the Career Cast’s Best Jobs of 2017 list, 9 of the 10 jobs were in STEM fields. The tenth, a college professor, could technically be STEM-related, depending on the professor’s subject.

4 of the 10 jobs were related to mathematics, including statistician, mathematician, and operations research analyst. High levels of job satisfaction were a major reason these careers made the list.

If you want a career that is high-paying, fast-growing, and satisfying, a STEM major is a very solid choice.

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4. Ability to Impact Society Using Your STEM Degree

If you are interested in making a difference or positively impacting society, a STEM degree can give you the tools to do so.

STEM workers are on the cutting edge of innovation in fields like computer technology, medicine, engineering, design, robotics, and more.

You may work with a team of people that makes the next great discovery in medicine or updates computer technology in a hugely beneficial way.

This ability to discover, innovate, and ultimately impact society is one reason that STEM majors report such high levels of job satisfaction. It also makes every day interesting and exciting, and it means that STEM workers are constantly learning something new.

5. Flexibility

While some degrees limit students to only a few jobs, STEM majors typically have much more flexibility. For example, an engineering student can pursue chemical engineering, computer science, environmental science, and so on.

  • A degree in biological sciences presents opportunities to work in a research lab, pharmaceutical company, or a career in biological education.

Students with biological sciences degrees can also pursue graduate options like dental school, pharmacy school, medical school, or veterinary school.

Plus, many STEM skills are cross-marketable. Studying science and technology fields gives students a foundation in mathematics, problem-solving, research methods, and much more.

These skills are in demand for a wide variety of jobs, meaning that it’s easier for STEM majors to switch careers if needed or desired.

6. Diversity

Studying and working in a STEM field provides opportunities to work and interact in a diverse environment. Recent studies show that STEM classes and careers are among the most ethnically diverse in the United States today.

  • This means that pursuing a STEM degree offers increased opportunities for women and diverse ethnicities, and this also gives any STEM graduate a rich and diverse environment for working and learning.  

If you choose to pursue a major in a STEM field, you can expect plenty of job availability and continuing job growth, a high salary, diversity in the classroom and workplace, flexibility, job satisfaction, and the opportunity to make an important impact on society.

There are numerous benefits of earning a STEM degree, and exploring this field can result in a successful and fulfilling career—and life.

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