There are dozens of STEM careers to choose from, but how do you know which one is the right one for you? When trying to choose the right career, you may overlook something you didn’t even know was an option. So let’s look at some of the top STEM careers and some of the more unique options to choose from.
What is a STEM Career?
Any career falling under science, technology, engineer, and math is known as a STEM Career. There are dozens of these types of careers, and they often include solving problems, conducting research, and coming up with new ideas. Many professionals going into a STEM career will work in an office, research facility, lab, or classroom. However, some will also work out in the field.
The most common skills necessary for working in a STEM career include:
- Critical thinking
- Attention to Detail
- Advanced STEM knowledge
If these are the types of skills you have, you might be perfect for one of the many STEM careers.
Top STEM Careers in High Demand
One of the highest paying careers falling under the umbrella of STEM Careers is a career as a dentist. Dentists make, on average, $194K per year and will help patients with their teeth and gums. In addition, a dentist will perform exams and treatments when it comes to oral healthcare.
To become a dentist, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in a science field and a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry) degree.
Another very common and high-paying STEM career is one as a data scientist. This type of position will put you in charge of collecting and interpreting data with mathematics and statistics. Again, your software engineering skills will help you in this career in a variety of industries.
Data scientists often hold a master’s degree or a Ph.D. You will also need extensive training in computer programming.
If you like the idea of studying and predicting market activity, becoming an Economist makes sense. This STEM career will pay close to $100K per year and allow you to use your financial skills to forecast economic models. You will need a master’s degree in economics or even a Ph.D.
One of the most in-demand STEM careers you will find is an IT (Information Technology) manager. This type of position puts you in charge of planning and leading computer activities for a company. You will be a technology professional with the ability to implement computer systems. IT managers will need a bachelor’s degree in information science or computer science.
If you love stats, becoming a statistician might be the perfect opportunity for you. This STEM career will include compiling and presenting data to help businesses identify patterns and predict the future. You will need excellent math skills to analyze trends. Often, Statisticians will get a master’s degree in mathematics, statistics, or survey methodology, but you can start with an entry-level job with a bachelor’s degree.
A high-paying STEM career that allows you to design, improve, and plan construction for roads, railways, bridges, sewage systems, and more. To become a civil engineer, will need a bachelor’s degree. However, it’s common for this engineer to get a graduate degree and the proper licenses for upper-level positions.
If you want to study living organisms, becoming a biologist is a good STEM career choice. You will likely work in a lab or out in the field while performing tests and experiments. This science position will require a bachelor’s degree in biology, and upper-level positions will require more advanced degrees.
A very in-demand STEM career, web developers work with codes and designs to create websites and apps. Therefore, you will need to understand graphic design and computer programming languages. With this STEM career, you might not need a degree, depending on your employer and skills. However, getting an associate or bachelor’s degree is a good way to advance your career faster as a web developer.
If you want to create software and analyze algorithms, becoming a computer programmer is a great option. This STEM career can take you in many different directions and often requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer programming. You will also need good math and IT skills.
Another STEM career in the engineering field, a mechanical engineer is responsible for designing, developing, and building mechanical devices, including machines, tools, and engines. You will need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and may need a graduate degree for some positions.
Computer and Information System Managers
You will likely make around $142K per year when you become a computer and information system manager. This career is all about coordinating computer-related activities and determining the personnel needs of the IT department. You might become a CIO (Chief Information Officer), CTO (Chief Technology Officer), or an IT director with this type of position, and it will require at least a bachelor’s degree.
Are you one of those people that loves space and everything to do with space? Then, you can make a six-figure salary as an aerospace engineer and help design airplanes, space crafts, missiles, satellites, and more. However, you will need a bachelor’s degree, and you may need to get special security clearance if you work for the government.
Computer Network Architects
With a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, you can become a computer network architect and enjoy a nice paycheck as you develop and design data communication networks. Depending on your employer, this type of career will have you working with small networks or larger networks.
As a nuclear engineer, you will be responsible for engineering systems to use nuclear energy and radiation, commonly for the medical field. You will need a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering for entry-level jobs, but the best jobs in this field require at least a master’s degree.
A fast-growing career you can do in the STEM category is a robotics engineer. This position will combine engineering with math and science to create robotics used in many different fields. You will need at least a master’s degree, but it’s more common for the best positions to go to those with a Ph.D.
If you become an environmental engineer, you will work to solve environmental problems. This type of STEM career will collect and analyze data about how humans impact the environment. To become an environmental engineer, you need a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree is often preferred. You will also need to get a Professional Engineering license.
A Few of the Most Unique STEM Career Options to Consider
As an actuary, you will interpret the financial costs of risk and the uncertainty for businesses. This is a unique STEM career, and it pays, on average, $109K per year. Actuaries will use statistics, financial theory, and mathematics to show companies the risks they face. Many work in the insurance business or the medical field.
This type of STEM career requires a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, statistics, mathematics, or another analytical field.
It’s not common to think of a writer falling into the category of STEM careers, but a technical writer is certainly a STEM career. This type of writer will prepare instruction manuals, journal articles, and other technical documents. In addition, they will collect and compile technical information from manufacturers and designers.
You will likely need a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or English to enter this field. However, some technical writers also have specialties and experience in a technical field or a minor in a STEM field.
While this type of STEM career isn’t unique because it’s an odd one found under the STEM label, it is unique due to the travel you will likely need to be okay with. Petroleum engineers get paid very well, but a big part of the job is traveling from drilling site to drilling site. They will work in the oil and gas industry, and you will need at least a bachelor’s degree to go into this field.
It seems like it fits in a different category, but a medical illustrator is a STEM career. You will need a master’s degree in medical illustration, and this career will mix art and science together as you will likely create work to be used for research, in journals, or for patient care.
If you love the idea of creating software for video games, this is the STEM career for you. It will likely require a bachelor’s degree and a few years of related type of work experience.
Certified Ethical Hacker
Not all hackers are criminals, and there is a place for you if you want to be a hacker but not end up in jail. A certified ethical hacker works with companies to figure out their vulnerabilities so that they can fix them before unethical hacker figures it out.
It’s not easy to become an underwater archeologist as only 15 universities worldwide offer this type of degree. However, this type of career falls under the STEM career category and includes archeology with oceans and other bodies of water. You will get to study forms of life from the past, and you will likely need a master’s or doctorate for this type of position.
Do you want to be responsible for the most amazing fireworks shows? Becoming a pyrotechnic engineer will put you right at the center of the industry as you will work with fireworks and other pyrotechnics regularly. You will need a chemical engineering degree and a safety certification course to enter into this STEM career.
While this job isn’t growing very fast, you can become a flavor chemist if you want to work with food and your STEM skills. This type of person will help figure out how to add flavor to food and work with different flavors. A bachelor’s degree in food chemistry or microbiology works well for this type of position.
Molting metal to create sculptures and other items is a STEM career you can enjoy if you also have an artsy side. You will work with soldering on both the technical and creative sides of this career with plenty of options. There is no set educational path for a metalsmith, but many go to trade school for welding.
This one isn’t super unique in the STEM career category as it fits. However, as a geographer, you will study the earth and work with geographic information systems. This is a unique career in many ways, and you will need to get a professional certification to become a geographer.
Forensic Science Technician
A growing STEM career with plenty to offer, a forensic science technician will work with police departments to help solve crimes by analyzing evidence. This type of career often requires a master’s degree, but you can get started with a bachelor’s degree.
A growing field with a salary averaging about $64K, cartographers help create maps, examine quantitative and qualitative data, and provide visual representations of data. You will need a bachelor’s degree to get started in this field.