Today, we take a look at science, engineering, and STEM degrees. Let’s be honest: if it wasn’t for science, we wouldn’t be here right now. We would have no computers, no electricity, no architecture, no clean water, short life spans, and we’d all be too busy hunting and gathering to have many creative thoughts in our heads. Science — sometimes incredible and fascinating, sometimes so commonplace that we take it for granted — makes modern life possible. As science is always advancing and coming up with new ways to understand and experience our universe, it is no surprise that scientific careers are always on the rise. This also means that there are loads of students currently engaged in scientific degree programs.
Science and engineering cover a wide range of subject areas, from physics, chemistry, and electrical engineering to computer engineering, psychology, and geology. This means that a science degree can prepare you for a huge array of careers, in just about any field you can imagine. At the bachelor’s level, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills to seek lucrative career opportunities in fields like healthcare, conservation, and mechanical engineering. At the master’s degree level, you develop advanced knowledge in your field and earn the qualifications to assist in scientific research or become a professional engineer. At the doctoral level, you’ll be viewed as an expert in your field, often engaging in cutting-edge research and earning the right to be a professor at a major college, university, or research institute.
Whatever your chosen field of study, degrees in science and engineering provide numerous options for rewarding, lifelong careers spent in the pursuit of knowledge and advancement. There are also plenty of online options available today, making a degree in the natural or life sciences more accessible than ever.
To learn more, find out What You Can Do With an Engineering Degree.
Or . . .
Check Out These Fun Facts
- Studying science won’t pigeonhole you: plenty of celebrities — including Natalie Portman, Ken Jeong, Brian May, Rowan Atkinson, and Eva Longoria — have earned degrees in scientific fields, prior to or during their famed careers.
- As you progress in your chosen scientific field, you’ll gain more opportunities for specialization. This should give you plenty of options to choose from. Even better: if you don’t like the current state of the field, carve out your own niche!
- Rock stars will come and go, but science offers real, lasting fame. If you get something named after you, like a law of physics, or a molecular structure, your name will last for the rest of scientific history.
- Attracted to job security? Earn a tenured position as a science professor or researcher at a university and you may never have to worry about the state of your career again.
- Sure, advancing the state of modern science is fun and all, but let’s not forget one major perk of scientific careers: playing with cool high-tech gadgets! Large Hadron Collider, anyone?
Five Things I Wish I Had Known
While science and engineering can be rewarding fields of study, they aren’t always easy. In fact, these subject areas are usually quite challenging! Below are five things that many science and engineering students wish they had known before entering the field.
- While you might dream of climbing a tower on a stormy night and working on your experiments in solitude, under the flash of lightning, the reality is that professional scientists need to be team players. This requires decent “people skills,” as well as the ability for clear oral and written communication. It may be tempting to skip English or communications courses, but you need to build those skills up if you want to succeed.
- Similar to the above point, it doesn’t hurt to have a working knowledge of foreign languages, either. In science careers, the odds are good that you will be working alongside other professionals from all over the world. Science might be a universal language, but it doesn’t always lend itself to smooth conversation.
- Many graduates of science and engineering programs (especially those in the computer sciences) become involved in startup companies, which are exciting, and can be fun and rewarding, sometimes. More often, startups crash and burn. As you enter the job market, be aware of what your goals are in life, and how much risk you are willing to take on in order to achieve those goals.
- Speaking of the job market: it is not a meritocracy! You can be the best and the brightest and still wind up unemployed, or working in an undesirable environment. Being smart is very important, but it is also important to be business-savvy and make strong connections. Take some business courses, pursue internships, gain field experience, and remember to network, network, network!
- Science and engineering programs are available at all sorts of schools. Just because a degree program is expensive doesn’t mean it is automatically better than those that might be more affordable. If you get a full ride to a very expensive private school, take it, but if that isn’t the case, really consider what fits your needs. Looming student loan debt can severely impact your career satisfaction and quality of life, and if you don’t have to live with it, why choose to do so?
Look for affordable programs, especially online colleges, as a way to earn your degree without be plunged into crushing debt.
|Aerospace engineers||$113,030||6% growth|
|Agricultural and food scientists||$62,910||7% growth|
|Biomedical engineers||$88,040||7% growth|
|Chemical engineers||$102,160||8% growth|
|Chemists and materials scientists||$76,280||7% growth|
|Civil engineers||$84,770||11% growth|
|Computer hardware engineers||$115,120||5% growth|
|Electrical and electronics engineers||$97,970||7% growth|
|Environmental scientists and specialists||$69,400||11% growth|
|Forensic science technicians||$57,850||17% growth|
|Mathematicians and statisticians||$84,760||33% growth|
|Mechanical engineers||$85,880||9% growth|
|Physicists and astronomers||$117,220||14% growth|
|Software developers||$103,560||24% growth|