Highest Paying STEM Jobs
The Highest-Paying STEM Jobs For Recent College Graduates
Recent grads with a bachelor’s degree and less than three years’ experience in the workforce typically earn $39,700 a year—but that number can more than double for those in positions in science, technology, engineering, and math. We turned to Payscale.com, a site that allows users to compare their salaries with those of other people in similar jobs by culling real-time salary data from its 40 million profiles, to find the 10 highest-paying STEM jobs for recent graduates. Payscale combed through its data to find salary information for those with a bachelor’s degree (and three years’ experience or less) in all STEM jobs, as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*NET Online application. STEM jobs are occupations that require an education in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics disciplines–and according to Payscale’s lead economist Katie Bardaro, “STEM jobs are hot right now.” “Many of our products and services are evolving into technological, scientific or data driven enterprises,” she says. “In the time of big data, many firms are looking for candidates who know their way around a statistical program and the scientific process.” Furthermore, the demand for STEM jobs is bolstered by the limited supply of candidates, she adds. “Even though the job market for STEM positions is white hot, there is still a dearth of new graduates in these fields relative to other fields like business and humanities. This strong demand combined with the limited supply work together to drive up the pay for these positions.” The top paying STEM job for recent grads: Petroleum engineer. The median pay for those with three years’ experience or less in this field is $88,700. According to the BLS, petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth’s surface—and they’re responsible for finding new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells. They typically work in offices, research laboratories, or at drilling sites. Employment of petroleum engineers is expected to grow 17% from 2010 to 2020.
Engineering and Computer Science Lead the Way.
The second highest-paying STEM job for recent grads is nuclear engineer. In their first three years on the job these professionals typically earn an annual salary of $62,900. What do they do? The BLS says: “Nuclear engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to get benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. Many of these engineers find industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials—for example, in equipment used in medical diagnosis and treatment.” A bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering is required to land a job in this field, and the BLS says employers also value experience, “so cooperative-education engineering programs at universities are also valuable.” Employment is expected to increase by 10% between 2010 and 2020. Rounding out the top three: Marine engineer. The median pay for those with a bachelor’s degree and three years’ experience or less in this profession is $62,200. According to the BLS, marine engineers “design, build, and maintain ships from aircraft carriers to submarines, from sailboats to tankers.” They also work on the mechanical systems, such as propulsion and steering. To get a job as a marine engineer, an occupation that’s expected to grow 17% between 2010 and 2020, you must have a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering, naval architecture, or marine systems engineering. “STEM fields are highly specialized,” Bardaro says. “The skills and knowledge base needed to succeed within STEM is high, which works to drive the pay up.” Employers looking to fill STEM positions typically seek out candidates who are “current with the technologies and statistical packages they know,” she says. “They will want to see proven research aptitude either via research papers or projects. Also, employers in today’s economy are often targeting candidates who show aptitude in both STEM disciplines and non-STEM disciplines. This is especially true in the data world. They want an analyst who can do the statistics to produce interesting results, but also write a high level blog piece or communication piece about the results that can speak to a broad audience.” But Bardaro reminds us that STEM jobs aren’t for everyone. “Some people are inherently right brain people and thus will not enjoy a pure left brain field,” she says. “My suggestion to these people is major in a field you are both passionate about, as well as skilled at–but to also take courses or minor in an opposite brain field. For instance, you can major in English but take some math courses, or major in math and take some English courses. Dipping your toe into both sides of the pool is optimal in today’s labor market where employers are searching for candidates who have a bit of everything under their belt.”
Common Core and STEM
I choose C