STEM refers to degree education in fields related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. It has been estimated that US would experience a shortage of workforce required to work in advanced areas related to the STEM designated fields.
As per the data provided by the US Department of Labor, the number of jobs available in the STEM areas would be close to 1.2 million by 2018, however there would be a deficit of suitably qualified candidates to take up these positions.
Hence there’s a growing need to encourage students to study and take up careers in these areas to keep a pipeline ready for the next generation of STEM professionals.
Importance of STEM designated courses for the U.S. Economy
Professions related to the STEM fields are considered to be of high importance, as the future of the country and the economic, scientific and technological progress in the long run is directly related to these areas.
United States has been the global leader in these areas and in order to sustain this competitive position in the global economy, there needs to be a concentrated effort to encourage more professionals to take up future positions in these areas.
STEM education cultivates a spirit of inquiry, logical and innovative thinking, exploratory learning and a problem-solving mindset among students which is the foundation for our future scientists, architects, engineers and educators.
Finally, it is from these fields that we can get our future scientific and technological innovations, which is the key to our prosperity and an improved quality of life, thus forming an essential component for a competitive society and for the entire US economy. The importance of the STEM courses has been recognised and emphasised by USA as seen from the encouraging efforts taken by president Obama to increase the number of majors in STEM.
International Students and STEM fields
International students and workers also play a significant role in this entire picture. It has been noted that a lot of start-ups by international students have successfully taken off, leading to a lot of job creation which serves as a boost to the US economy.
Better policies help attract top talent and retain them so that students can stay back and work after graduation. This retention of skilled STEM students in turn helps improve the country’s productivity.
According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, foreign-born workers already make up about 17 percent of the domestic STEM workforce, with the percentage going upto 25 percent in certain areas like Life and Physical Science occupation.
Benefits and advantages for STEM students
1. STEM Extension for F1 students in USA
STEM students on an F1 visa who opted to work in the U.S. under the 12 month OPT could earlier extend it by 17 months, but now as per the latest rule, it can be extended by 24 months. This new OPT rule would be effective from May 9, 2016. Again, here too the students need to be employed by those employers who participate in E-Verify.
2. Better job opportunities
As per U.S Department of Commerce, the number of STEM related occupations are expected to grow at 17% from 2008 to 2018 compared to non-STEM occupations which are estimated to grow at only 9.8%.
3. Higher remuneration
It has also been noted that those who’ve earned their degree in STEM areas earn a higher salary in comparison to those who’ve graduated in non-STEM related fields.
4. Launch your startup
A large number of startups have been launched by graduates of STEM prorams. Innovation is the new mantra and if you’re from a STEM field, you can always think of creative ways to develop your own software or your new app or create a gadget and thus start a successful business.
Sample List of STEM degree programs
Here’s a representative list of the degree programs included under STEM:
|Computer and Information Sciences|
|Forensic Science and Technology|
|Military Applied Sciences|
There are over 300 programs that we haven’t listed here due to space constraints. If you are interested in getting the full list, you can download the full STEM degree program list as a PDF file from this link.
If you see the big picture, it’s a fact that science and technology touches almost every aspect of our lives. Right from constructing the roads, bridges or buildings or remaining connected with others through social media; computers or medical research (vaccines, antibiotics, life-saving drugs) has become possible due to the efforts of the STEM professionals.
Choose the right specialisation based on your interests & goals and get a head-start in your career.