Share this infographic on your site!

Why STEM Matters

Embed this infographic on your site!

The editors at Top Education Degrees decided to research the topic of:

Why STEM Matters

About 3 million jobs are unfilled because Americans lack the basic technical skills to fill them. With many positions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics being filled by people born outside the country, the United States is stepping up its efforts and making STEM education a top priority.

It Starts in School

Effective education in STEM fields is vital to ensuring the American workforce will remain competitive with others around the world. So how bad are things now?
Only 1 in 2
U.S. high schools that offer calculus
American high schools that don't offer physics
Percentage of high school seniors proficient in math and interested in a STEM career
2 grade levels
How far behind American students are relative to same-age international counterparts
Public school math teaching vacancies that were difficult to fill or left unfilled
Percentage of U.S. eighth-graders rated proficient or higher in a national math assessment in 2009
Where the U.S. ranks among developed nations in undergraduate degrees in science or engineering
Eighth-graders who had teachers majoring in the field they teach:
Math 31%
Science 48%
1 in 3
Americans who said they'd rather clean a bathroom than solve a math problem

The Plan to Get Ahead

The Educate to Innovate initiative, launched in 2009, aims to move American students from the middle of the pack to the top of the pack in math and science over the next decade. It has garnered $700 million in public-private partnerships.
The plan includes increasing effectiveness of investment in:
  • K-12 instruction
  • Undergraduate education
  • Graduate fellowships
  • Educational activities that take place outside the classroom

Why STEM Matters

Degrees in STEM fields can help graduates land jobs - jobs that pay better than average.
Employers having difficulty finding qualified employees
Difference in STEM wages vs. same-degree counterparts in other jobs
Bachelor's degree-holders in STEM fields who earn more than PhDs in non-STEM occupations
Eight of the top 10 most valuable bachelor's degrees are engineering fields, and all 10 require robust STEM education:
- Petroleum engineering $120,000
- Pharmacy sciences and administration $105,000
- Mathematics and computer science $98,000
- Aerospace engineering $87,000
- Chemical engineering $86,000
- Electrical engineering $85,000
- Naval architecture and marine engineering $82,000
- Mechanical engineering $80,000
- Metallurgical engineering $80,000
- Mining and mineral engineering $80,000
- Where the STEM jobs are today:
- Computer and math 48%
- Engineering 30%
- Physical and life sciences 13%
- Management 9%
Where they're going:
- Highest projected growth through 2020 in STEM jobs
- Biomedical engineer (62%)
- Medical scientist (36%)
- Software systems developer (32%)
- Biochemist and biophysicist (31%)
- Database administrator (31%)
- Network and computer systems administrator (28%)
- Software applications developer (28%)