By Devin Partida
Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) make the world go round. It drives everything from medicine to spaceflight, enriching everyone’s lives and securing the future. If your students need further proof of STEM’s importance, here are several reasons it’s so valuable.
STEM Opens up the Job Market
The demand for educated workers is increasing as the world becomes more technologically advanced. Workers with STEM degrees tend to have higher salaries than non-STEM employees, earning a median average of $55,000 per year compared to their $33,000. STEM degree-earners also had a lower unemployment rate from 2011 to 2019 — just 2.2%, compared to 3.6% for people without a STEM degree.
STEM degree holders bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to the workplace, providing value to businesses and society. They often use their degree to become entrepreneurs or innovators. Additionally, having a STEM degree can offer job security since many positions are highly practical — biologists, chemists, electrical engineers and dentists all occupy STEM positions.
STEM Is Ubiquitous
One of STEM’s biggest advantages is its numerous practical applications. Almost every industry in the world relies on STEM, so students can apply their degrees to nearly any field they’re interested in. Even subjects that seem only distantly related to STEM, like art, use it one way or another.
For example, anaplastologists combine art skills and 3D printing — which involves software engineering and math — to create realistic prosthetics for people with injuries or deformities. Architects use math to determine how much weight a gorgeously designed column can support. Medical illustrators create detailed animations of beating hearts and breathing lungs, giving doctors-in-training a visual reference of how the human body works.
STEM Saves Lives
STEM is responsible for developing medical devices, drugs, vaccines and lifesaving therapies. In the agricultural sector, bioengineering and robotics allow for unprecedented strides in growing crops to feed the world’s population. Rapid advancements in technology enable emergency services dispatchers to locate people who need help based on nothing but a cell signal, then use a GPS equipped with real-time traffic data to navigate city streets with ease.
STEM Helps the Environment
Solar-powered, semi-autonomous robots collect garbage from the ocean. Smart sensors detect areas of poor air quality, allowing city planners to enact changes. Electric vehicles allow people to commute without emitting greenhouse gases.
These are just a few of the countless ways STEM tackles global issues like climate change and pollution. Enabling everything from the highly technical to the most basic environmental solutions — like planting trees — allows scientists, engineers and mathematicians to lead the green revolution.
STEM Develops Well-Rounded Students
Learning about STEM can improve students’ skills in many areas, including leadership, problem-solving, creativity, curiosity and communication. It challenges kids to think critically and find new solutions to obstacles.
Plus, taking STEM classes gives many students a sense of community. Robotics and cybersecurity clubs provide a way to further their skills while engaging with others interested in the same subjects. Learning about STEM gives kids something productive and exciting to do with their time.
Additionally, several scholarships are available for STEM students, and many are earmarked for women and minorities. This can help underrepresented groups — such as Black people, who only make up 9% of the STEM workforce — get the careers they want and deserve.
STEM Will Always Be Important
Science, technology, engineering and math have solved countless problems and helped improve lives everywhere. STEM jobs will always play a central role in society, and students can use their knowledge in almost any field. Why should you be passionate about STEM? All you have to do is look around — it affects every aspect of your life.