There’s no debating it, STEM jobs have been and continue to be in high-demand across the U.S. In fact, according to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 9.8%.
So, what does STEM stand for? It is broad term used to describe degrees or careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. If you’re a recent college graduate or graduating soon with a degree in a STEM field, you have an important decision to make about your future – where to start your career. Read on for some helpful information to make that decision easier.
What are the best STEM jobs?
“Best” is open to interpretation, but one of the biggest reasons that careers in STEM are taking off is because of growing opportunities. According to a U.S. News and World Report, the top five STEM jobs based on low unemployment rates and increased demand are as follows:
1. Software Developer
Developing software takes both imagination and structured thinking. As a software developer, you’ll get to create the applications you might use on a device or build the systems that make a device run.
More than ever, data drives action in business. Statisticians gather numerical data and then translate the meaning behind those numbers, helping decision-makers understand the state of their business and spot trends to make predictions.
3. Physician Assistant
Physician assistants deliver medical and surgical care alongside physicians, providing many of the same services as traditional doctors. These services include examining patients, prescribing medicines and ordering diagnostic tests.
In addition to caring for teeth and gums, dentists also treat muscles of the head, neck, jaw, tongue, salivary glands and more. That’s why the training required to become a dentist is comparable to what you’ll find in medical schools.
5. Nurse Anesthesiologist
Anesthesia is required in nearly every branch of health care. Nurse Anesthesiologists work with surgeons, dentists, podiatrists and professionals of all medical fields to ensure successful procedures.
What are the top cities for STEM careers?
Often, groups of companies and organizations cluster in a region around a particular field. One of the most well-known examples is Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs and tech start-up companies have gathered and flourished side-by-side.
Sometimes this happens because a prominent company attracts other smaller companies to set up shop nearby. Other times, you’ll find businesses in a certain field clustering around a prominent university that excels in the same field.
STEM careers span many fields and industries, but the same clustering effect can be seen in several cities nationwide. In a 2017 report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identified metro areas with the highest percentage of area employment in STEM jobs throughout the U.S. If you specialize in science, technology, engineering or math, these five cities could be great places to start or advance your career.
1. California-Lexington Park, MD (22.2% STEM Jobs)
Population: Just over 110,000
California-Lexington Park’s job market is heavily skewed toward STEM careers, with 22 percent of jobs falling under the STEM umbrella. The city’s future job growth is predicted to be on par with the national average. However, this growth is expected to be driven largely by STEM related opportunities, thanks in large part to the nearby Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA (21.9% STEM Jobs)
Population: Just under 2 million
Home to Silicon Valley, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA has nearly the same percentage of STEM jobs as the first city on the list. The big difference is that the population is nearly 20 times larger. Job creation in Silicon Valley has slowed over the last 10 years, but the area remains a hotbed of both new and established tech brands. If you want to pursue opportunities with some of the world’s most iconic and influential companies, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara should be on your list to check out.
3. Boulder, CO (16.9% STEM Jobs)
Population: Just under 110,000
Boulder is a progressive college town, home to the University of Colorado and a wide range of trendy shops, entertainment venues and outdoor activities. There’s a lot to like about living in Boulder, and much of the city’s prosperity is due to large businesses and government facilities located within its borders or nearby. Overall, the state of Colorado is an attractive destination for STEM professionals due to a thriving tech belt stretching between Boulder and Denver.
4. Huntsville, AL (16.2% STEM Jobs)
Population: Just under 200,000
Huntsville might not come to mind when you think technology, but many know it as the “Space Capital of America.” In addition to the NASA-run George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, you’ll find large aerospace and tech facilities owned by companies like Boeing, Teledyne and DIRECT TV. Though the city is relatively isolated compared to others on this list, a strong economy and educated work force have made Huntsville a thriving community and a great place to start or advance a STEM career.
5. Corvallis, OR (12.8%)
Population: Just under 60,000
Another college town, Corvallis is home to Oregon State University and about 80 miles south of Portland. With both coastal and mountainous areas nearby, the town offers plenty of scenic views and recreational activities. A main source of STEM opportunities comes from the massive Hewlett-Packard research facility situated within the city borders.
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