Where the Jobs Are Today and in the Future: STEM Part 2

Workers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Make More Money

In addition to the fact that workers in science, technology, engineering and math occupations have a better chance of increased job opportunities as they progress in their careers, they also earn significantly more on average than their counterparts in other fields. Keep in mind, education matters with regards to obtaining a job in a STEM field. Only 1 out of every 10 worker in the STEM field has a high school diploma or less. Most workers in these higher-paying careers have some advanced training or a college degree. In fact, the more education you have in a STEM job, the greater the financial payoff. Those with graduate degrees, on average, earned more than $40 per hour – nearly $4.50 more per hour on average than those with non-STEM jobs.7

Here are some interesting statistics that show how much those in STEM related fields with associate or bachelors degrees earn, on average, related to their educational achievement:

  • Some college/associate degree (STEM occupation)/average hourly earning: $26.63
  • Some college/associate degree (Non-STEM occupation)/average hourly earning: $19.02
  • Bachelors degree (STEM occupation)/average hourly earning: $35.81
  • Bachelors degree (Non-STEM occupation)/average hourly earning: $28.27
  • Graduate degree (STEM occupation)/average hourly earning: $40.69
  • Graduate degree (Non-STEM occupation)/average hourly earning: 36.228

To look at hourly wage differences is compelling. However when you look at the difference in the percent when it comes to science, technology, math, and engineering fields versus all other occupations, the numbers can really stop you in your tracks. Those with some college or associate degree in a STEM field earn, on average, 40% more than those in non-STEM related fields. Those with a bachelors degree in a STEM occupation earn almost 33% more, on average, than those in other occupations. Finally, those with a graduate degree, earn about 12% more than their non-STEM counterparts.9

Where Do You Start?

Congratulations. You are convinced of the exceptional opportunities awaiting those who study math and science courses in college. The best place to start is with a focus on your career goals and your scheduling needs, as well as taking a hard look at your academic foundation.

Jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math fields generally require a college education. In fact, more than 68% of STEM workers have a bachelors degree or higher, compared to just under 31% of workers in other fields. However, the STEM job market also includes those in first-tier support positions, creating a sizeable percentage, 23%, who have been employed in these fields with an associate degree or at least some college.10

When you first start to look at your academic foundation, you’ll want to honestly assess your science and math background. If you feel like your background in math and science is lacking, don’t count yourself out. Yes, college tuition is expensive and you don’t want to make the mistake of enrolling in a math and science college program, taking challenging classes only to fail them -- and losing valuable time and money in the process. However, you do have other options when it comes to taking introductory math and science courses. Enter the world of online education.


7 Economics & Statistics Administration, STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the Future, 7/2011, p.2
http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/reports/documents/stemfinalyjuly14_1.pdf

8 Economics & Statistics Administration, STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the Future, 7/2011, p.3
http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/reports/documents/stemfinalyjuly14_1.pdf

9 IBID

10 Economics & Statistics Administration, STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the Future, 7/2011, p.6
http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/reports/documents/stemfinalyjuly14_1.pdf