What Are STEM Careers?
A STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) career is any job that uses skills in these related fields daily. These careers can be anything from a doctor to an engineer to a website developer – STEM careers range across a variety of different fields and disciplines.
According to The United States Department of Labor, STEM occupations are growing at a faster rate than non-STEM careers. In a 2021 study, it was found that STEM careers will grow by 8 percent between 2017 and 2029 – surpassing other career areas. This can be attributed to the rapidly changing technology landscape, which is creating more STEM career openings than ever before.
Why Are STEM Careers Important?
It is essential to the future of the world that there are qualified, passionate individuals available to fill the evolving STEM positions. STEM careers are innovative roles that help to improve the lives of others. The improved quality of life compared to 100 years ago can be largely attributed to STEM careers and the inventions that have come from them.
The Growing Demand for STEM Professionals
The increased need for qualified, passionate individuals in STEM has required educators, at the primary and secondary levels, to emphasize the importance of STEM education. By providing students with access to a quality STEM curriculum, they will be better prepared for future courses and have the confidence needed to pursue STEM careers.
One way to get students interested in STEM and excited about improving their STEM literacy is to connect lessons to STEM careers. By showing students careers they could hold in the future using the skill they are learning, there will be an increase in engagement and retention.
Our List of STEM Careers
Below is a list of STEM careers, the responsibilities of the role, and average salaries:
*Salaries may vary depending on state, company, and other factors.
- Aerospace Engineer
The Role: Aerospace engineers design aircrafts, satellites, and spacecrafts. Aerospace Engineers often specialize in areas, such as aerodynamics, propulsion systems, or guidance systems.
Average Annual Salary: $122,270
2. Agricultural Engineer
The Role: These engineers solve problems concerning power supplies, machinery efficiency, and the use of structures and facilities in agriculture. They also design equipment and machinery used in farming and food production.
Average Annual Salary: $74,500
3. Analytical Chemist
The Role: Analytical Chemists use their knowledge of chemistry, instrumentation, computers, and statistics to solve problems in almost all areas of chemistry. They may develop new ways to conduct tests or improve existing methods.
Average Annual Salary: $61,570
The Role: Physical anthropologists study human evolution and variation, often working in the field to uncover how our ancestors adapted to environmental challenges. They typically use a range of technologies, including genetic analysis and geospatial systems.
Average Annual Salary: $61,910
The Role: Astronomers study planets, stars, galaxies, and other celestial bodies. They use ground-based equipment like radio and optical telescopes, and space-based equipment like the Hubble Space Telescope.
Average Annual Salary: $121,000
6. Atmospheric Scientist
The Role: Atmospheric Scientists study the weather and climate, and how those conditions affect human activity and the earth in general. They may develop forecasts or use their knowledge to advise on issues like air pollution or climate change.
Average Annual Salary: $106,650
The Role: Biochemists study the chemical processes and substances in living organisms. They conduct complex research projects and may isolate, analyze, and synthesize proteins, enzymes, DNA, and other molecules.
Average Annual Salary: $102,200
8. Biomedical Engineer
The Role: These engineers work at the intersection of engineering, life sciences, and healthcare. They design and build innovative devices like artificial organs, prostheses, and diagnostic machines.
Average Annual Salary: $97,400
The Role: Biophysicists study the principles of physics that underlie all living things. This might involve studying DNA, understanding the physics of the human circulatory system, or examining how neurons fire in the brain.
Average Annual Salary: $71,800
The Role: Biostatisticians apply statistics to biological fields, such as genetics and ecology. They design studies, collect data, and use mathematical techniques to analyze and interpret data.
Average Annual Salary: $116,200
The Role: Botanists study plants, including their growth, diseases, cells, and tissues. They work in a variety of settings, such as labs, classrooms, and fields.
Average Annual Salary: $72,900
12. Chemical Engineer
The Role: Chemical Engineers use principles of physics, mathematics, and even economics to solve practical problems, from designing equipment to refining and producing various types of chemicals and products.
Average Annual Salary: $105,550
13. Civil Engineer
The Role: Civil Engineers design and supervise large construction projects, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, and bridges. They must consider many factors in their designs, from the costs and expected lifetime of a project to government regulations and potential environmental impacts.
Average Annual Salary: $61,000
The Role: Climatologists study the variations in climate patterns over time and their impact on ecosystems and civilizations. They use sophisticated computer models to predict future weather or climate trends.
Average Annual Salary: $54,790
15. Computational Biologist
The Role: Computational biologists apply data analysis and theoretical methods, mathematical modeling, and computational simulation techniques to the study of biological, behavioral, and social systems.
Average Annual Salary: $99,750
16. Computer Hardware Engineer
The Role: These engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components. This might include processors, circuit boards, memory devices, and networks.
Average Annual Salary: $128,000
17. Computer Systems Analyst
The Role: Computer Systems Analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures, and then design information systems solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively.
Average Annual Salary: $99,300
18. Conservation Scientist
The Role: Conservation Scientists manage, improve, and protect natural resources. They work with landowners and governments to improve land for things like forestry, rangelands, and wildlife use.
Average Annual Salary: $63,750
The Role: Cryptographers secure computer and information technology systems using codes and ciphers. They design algorithms and cryptographic systems to encrypt sensitive information and ensure data integrity.
Average Annual Salary: $145,000
20. Data Analyst
The Role: Data Analysts collect, process, and interpret complex datasets to help organizations make decisions. They use statistical tools to interpret data sets, paying particular attention to trends and patterns that could be valuable for diagnostic and predictive analytics.
Average Annual Salary: $66,850
21. Data Scientist
The Role: Data Scientists use technology and statistical methods to mine complex data and find trends, extract insights, and interpret results that can help organizations make strategic decisions.
Average Annual Salary: $123,000
The Role: A dietitian is a healthcare professional who specializes in nutrition and helps individuals improve their overall health and well-being through proper diet and nutrition. They assess their client’s nutritional needs, develop personalized meal plans, provide education and counseling, and monitor progress to support their clients in achieving their health goals.
Average Annual Salary: $67,350
The Role: Ecologists study the interrelationships between organisms and their environments. They examine how living species interact with each other and how these interactions shape the natural world.
Average Annual Salary: $72,000
24. Electrical Engineer
The Role: Electrical Engineers design, develop, and test electrical equipment and systems. They work with anything from large power systems to tiny electronics.
Average Annual Salary: $98,100
25. Environmental Engineer
The Role: Environmental Engineers use principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to solve environmental problems. They may work on recycling, waste disposal, water, and air pollution control, or public health issues.
Average Annual Salary: $96,800
The Role: Epidemiologists study disease outbreaks in populations to prevent the spread and recurrence of such outbreaks. They collect and analyze data to investigate health issues.
Average Annual Salary: $105,100
27. Food Scientist
The Role: Food Scientists research ways to improve the efficiency and safety of agricultural establishments and products. They may develop ways to process, package, and preserve food.
Average Annual Salary: $70,800
28. Forensic Scientist
The Role: Forensic Scientists collect and analyze physical evidence as part of a criminal investigation. They may specialize in DNA analysis, firearm examination, fingerprint analysis, and more.
Average Annual Salary: $71,200
29. Genetic Counselor
The Role: Genetic Counselors assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions. They provide information and support to other healthcare providers, or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions.
Average Annual Salary: $82,550
The Role: Physical Geographers study the Earth’s physical characteristics, from landscapes and climates to natural disasters. They might specialize in areas like climatology, biogeography, or oceanography.
Average Annual Salary: $68,600
31. Geological Engineer
The Role: Geological Engineers search for mineral deposits and evaluate possible sites. They might design mines, plan the transportation of minerals to processing plants, or work on mitigating environmental impacts.
Average Annual Salary: $51,000
The Role: Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth, such as its composition, structure, and processes. They might work in natural resource exploration or environmental protection.
Average Annual Salary: $83,700
The Role: Hydrologists study how water moves across and through the Earth’s crust. They use their expertise to solve problems in the areas of water quality and availability.
Average Annual Salary: $97,500
34. Industrial Engineer
The Role: Industrial Engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.
Average Annual Salary: $74,300
35. Information Security Analyst
The Role: Information Security Analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyber threats increases.
Average Annual Salary: $102,600
36. IT Manager
The Role: IT Managers are responsible for coordinating, planning, and leading computer-related activities in an organization. They help determine the IT goals of an organization and implement computer systems to meet those goals.
Average Annual Salary: $159,000
37. Marine Biologist
The Role: Marine Biologists study organisms in the ocean or other marine bodies of water. They might work on understanding a particular species, or on larger environmental questions that affect entire ecosystems.
Average Annual Salary: $55,000
38. Material Scientist
The Role: Material Scientists study and analyze the chemical properties and structure of different materials to discover new substances, develop new products, or enhance existing ones.
Average Annual Salary: $95,600
The Role: Mathematicians use advanced mathematics to develop and understand mathematical principles, analyze data, and solve real-world problems. They may work in academia, government, or industry.
Average Annual Salary: $108,100
40. Mechanical Engineer
The Role: Mechanical Engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal devices. This can include tools, engines, and machines.
Average Annual Salary: $230,000
41. Medical Scientist
The Role: Medical Scientists conduct research to improve overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.
Average Annual Salary: $87,000
The Role: Meteorologists analyze and forecast weather conditions using data from weather satellites, radars, sensors, and weather stations. They study how atmospheric and weather conditions affect the earth and human inhabitants.
Average Annual Salary: $105,000
The Role: Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and algae. They conduct complex research projects and develop new drugs to combat infectious diseases.
Average Annual Salary: $50,600
44. Molecular Biologist
The Role: Molecular Biologists study the nature and use of areas of the Earth’s surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. They typically work on research projects, often aiming to increase our understanding of specific biological processes.
Average Annual Salary: $67,900
The Role: Nanotechnologists work at the molecular and atomic level to advance the field of nanotechnology, which could include materials science, medicine, physics, and more. This might involve manipulating chemical reactions, studying new materials, or developing nanoscale devices.
Average Annual Salary: $100,600
46. Network Administrator
The Role: Network Administrators are responsible for managing an organization’s networks. They ensure the network is operational, secure, and up-to-date.
Average Annual Salary: $67,000
The Role: Neuroscientists study the brain and nervous system, often focusing on areas like neurobiology, neurochemistry, or neuropharmacology. They might study anything from large-scale brain function to individual neurons.
Average Annual Salary: $150,000
48. Nuclear Engineer
The Role: Nuclear Engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. They design and operate nuclear power plants to generate electricity.
Average Annual Salary: $250,000
The Role: Oceanographers study the ocean and its interactions with the earth’s crust, the seas, and the atmosphere. They may specialize in biological, physical, or geological oceanography.
Average Annual Salary: $75,000
50. Operations Research Analyst
The Role: Operations Research Analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.
Average Annual Salary: $82,000
51. Petroleum Engineer
The Role: Petroleum Engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth’s surface. They also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.
Average Annual Salary: $130,850
The Role: Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer expertise in the safe use of prescriptions. They also provide advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, conduct health and wellness screenings, and provide immunizations.
Average Annual Salary: $146,000
The Role: Physicists study the ways in which various forms of matter and energy interact. They typically specialize in a subfield, like astrophysics, nuclear physics, or theoretical physics.
Average Annual Salary: $100,800
54. Plant and Soil Scientist
The Role: Plant Scientists study plants and their environments. They may work in research, teaching, or crop production, using their knowledge to improve crop yield and quality.
Average Annual Salary: $73,000
55. Product Safety Engineer
The Role: Product Safety Engineers plan and conduct safety programs for procedures and practices related to the production, use, maintenance, and disposal of equipment, machinery, chemical substances, or other material goods.
Average Annual Salary: $88,000
56. Quality Assurance Analyst
The Role: Quality Assurance Analysts assess software to ensure it is reliable, functional, and meets the needs of end-users. They might create test plans, execute tests, and troubleshoot and fix issues.
Average Annual Salary: $61,700
57. Quantum Physicist
The Role: Quantum Physicists study the behavior of particles at the quantum level. Their work often involves advanced mathematics and abstract theories.
Average Annual Salary: $98,600
58. Renewable Energy Engineer
The Role: Renewable Energy Engineers work with renewable energy systems, including solar, wind, and geothermal energy. They design and test equipment, improve existing processes, and install and maintain systems.
Average Annual Salary: $78,750
59. Robotics Engineer
The Role: Robotics Engineers design, build, and test robots. They work on the mechanical design, control systems, programming, and potential applications of robots.
Average Annual Salary: $105,600
The Role: Seismologists study earthquakes and related phenomena, like tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. They use seismographs and other instruments to collect data on these events.
Average Annual Salary: $69,000
61. Software Developer
The Role: Software Developers design, create, and test computer programs. They might work on systems and applications software, depending on their area of expertise.
Average Annual Salary: $120,700
62. Soil Scientist
The Role: Soil Scientists study the formation, classification, and mapping of soils. They look at the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils to understand their characteristics and behaviors.
Average Annual Salary: $76,500
63. Space Scientist
The Role: Space Scientists study space phenomena using a variety of instruments and techniques. They might focus on the solar system, galaxies, or the broader universe.
Average Annual Salary: $150,000
The Role: Statisticians use statistical methods to collect and analyze data to solve problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields. They decide what data is needed to answer specific questions or problems.
Average Annual Salary: $95,500
65. Structural Engineer
The Role: Structural Engineers design, plan, and oversee the construction of new buildings and bridges or alterations and extensions to existing properties or other structures.
Average Annual Salary: $92,300
66. Land Surveyor
The Role: Land surveyors make precise measurements to determine property boundaries, and provide data relevant to the shape, contour, location, elevation, or dimension of land or land features.
Average Annual Salary: $75,600
67. Systems Analyst
The Role: Systems Analysts assess an organization’s computer systems and recommend changes to hardware and software to enhance the company’s efficiency.
Average Annual Salary: $87,100
68. Technical Writer
The Role: Technical Writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.
Average Annual Salary: $69,400
69. Telecommunications Engineer
The Role: Telecommunications Engineers design and install equipment used for transmitting wired phone, cellular, cable, and broadband data.
Average Annual Salary: $71,900
The Role: Toxicologists study the harmful effects of chemical substances on living organisms, often working in research or academia. They may also work in the field, analyzing environmental samples, and advising on the safe handling of toxic substances.
Average Annual Salary: $83,700
71. Urban Planner
The Role: Urban Planners develop plans and programs for land use in urban areas. They help local officials alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems by recommending locations for roads, schools, and other infrastructure.
Average Annual Salary: $51,130
72. UX Designer
The Role: UX Designers improve the accessibility and pleasure of using a product, like a website or an app. They understand the user’s needs and perspectives, and design products to enhance the user’s experience.
Average Annual Salary: $94,000
The Role: Virologists study viruses and how they affect the cells they infect. This can involve researching viral diseases and may lead to the development of vaccines or treatments.
Average Annual Salary: $97,400
74. Water/Wastewater Engineer
The Role: Water/Wastewater Engineers design and implement systems that improve the sanitary handling of water and wastewater.
Average Annual Salary: $76,880
75. Web Developer
The Role: Web Developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site as well as the site’s technical aspects, such as performance and capacity.
Average Annual Salary: $82,500
76. Wildlife Biologist
The Role: Wildlife Biologists study animals in their natural habitats, assessing the effects of the environment and industry on animals, interpreting findings, and recommending alternative operating conditions for industry.
Average Annual Salary: $59,000
The Role: Zoologists study animals and their interactions with ecosystems. They may specialize in studying a particular animal or animal group.
Average Annual Salary: $78,000
Required Skills and Education for STEM Careers
Many STEM careers require college undergraduate degrees and sometimes even master’s degrees. Depending on what STEM career students are interested in, they will need to take a different, more specialized education path. For example, if students are interested in being website developers, they can start building websites and learning how to code during their high school years. Then they can go to college to become a full-stack website developer – they also have the option to continue their education and strengthen their skills.
Preparing for a STEM Career with STEM Sports
Early implementation of the STEM curriculum is beneficial to student success in these subjects. By exposing students to these subjects and helping them improve their STEM literacy, parents and educators can help prepare students for STEM careers.
STEM Sports® is an education company that provides supplemental STEM curriculum for K-8 students. Each STEM Sports® curriculum uses real-world, hands-on examples to teach students complex STEM concepts. Every lesson includes a section that connects the core learnings with STEM Jobs in Sports that use the skill. This real-world connection helps students understand why what they are learning is important and how it impacts their daily lives and the world around them. This connection improves student understanding and investment in the lesson.
If you are an educator or parent looking to prepare students for a future career in STEM, explore the STEM Sports® curriculum offerings now.