21 In-Demand STEM Careers (Plus Duties and Salaries)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated October 28, 2021 | Published February 4, 2020
Updated October 28, 2021
Published February 4, 2020
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
In the continually evolving sectors of science, technology, engineering and math, there are numerous opportunities to find entry-level positions as well as more senior roles. Understanding the education, training and skills needed for STEM jobs can help you decide which career path is best for you. In this article, we discuss what STEM jobs are and list examples of in-demand jobs in the STEM fields.
What are STEM jobs?
A STEM job is any job in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math. With a foundation in these subjects, a STEM career allows you to solve problems, develop new ideas and conduct research. These professionals can work in a variety of settings, including in an office, laboratory, research facility, classroom or out in the field. In addition to field-specific technical skills, STEM jobs require soft skills, including:
Advanced science, technology, engineering or math knowledge
Attention to detail
Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
Types of STEM jobs
STEM jobs are spread across a broad range of career fields, including:
Science jobs: There are many branches of science, including biology, chemistry, medical science, physics, computer science, psychology and the social sciences. Types of science jobs include environmental scientists, biochemists, psychologists, anthropologists, archeologists and medical scientists. With a focus on science, these STEM jobs allow you to utilize critical thinking, research skills and analytical skills to come to research-based conclusions and to solve real-world problems.
Technology jobs: Working in the technology field enables you to develop new systems and software or program existing systems. Types of jobs in the technology field include computer programmers, web developers, software systems developers, computer network architects and computer systems analysts. For a technology career, you will use scientific reasoning and data to develop strategies and solutions for solving a host of technological issues.
Engineering jobs: Engineers use their creativity and technical skills to provide solutions for a wide range of real-world problems. There are many different engineering disciplines, such as mechanical, electrical, chemical, civil and environmental engineering. Types of engineering jobs include civil engineers, aerospace engineers and chemical engineers.
Math jobs: Mathematics includes several different disciplines, including accounting, calculus and economics. All of these disciplines use math skills for reasoning, deduction and problem-solving. These professionals analyze data, create models, identify patterns and provide creative data-based solutions.
Examples of STEM jobs
There are hundreds of career paths available in science, technology, engineering and math, but a few examples include:
National average salary: $41,787 per year
Primary duties: Technical writers are responsible for preparing instruction manuals, journal articles and other documents to present technical information more universally. These writers develop, collect and compile technical information from designers and manufacturers to write these materials for consumers and other general audiences.
Technical writers typically need a bachelor's degree in journalism, English or communications. In addition to a degree, these professionals also need knowledge in a specialized technical field, which they may gain through an additional degree or minor in a STEM field.
National average salary: $54,558 per year
Primary duties: Accountants are responsible for assisting businesses and individuals with organizing financial information. The duties of an accountant include recording transactions, compiling and analyzing financial data, performing audits, assisting with budgets and financial forecasting, computing taxes and reporting their findings. Accountants are required to have a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field.
Related: Your Guide to Careers in Finance
National average salary: $58,343 per year
Primary duties: Computer programmers design and create software programs and integrate the systems with software. They also analyze algorithms, modify source code, write system instructions, debug the system and perform maintenance for the operating system. They're often required to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer programming. Computer programmers should also possess strong IT and math skills.
National average salary: $62,228 per year
Primary duties: Chemists study chemicals and their interactions with the environment. They use this information to research and develop products and improve the way humans engage with the environment. Typically, these scientists work on research teams in settings like medical research and food production. These professionals often need at least a bachelor's degree in chemistry, although many chemist jobs require a master's degree or a Ph.D.
Related: 15 Top Chemistry Degree Jobs
National average salary: $68,538 per year
Primary duties: These professionals analyze and interpret performance investments such as stocks, bonds and commodities. Financial analysts provide financial advice to businesses and individuals seeking to make investment decisions.
Financial analysts typically have a bachelor's degree in business, accounting, finance, economics or a related field. Some may pursue graduate-level education and certifications to refine their skills, demonstrate their expertise and increase their earning potential.
National average salary: $72,040 per year
National average salary: $72,448 per year
Primary duties: These scientists study living organisms to learn about their composition, behaviors, habitats and interactions with other organisms and the environment. Biologists research, collect data and measurements, perform tests and experiments, and analyze and interpret their findings. These science professionals are required to have a bachelor's degree in biology for an entry-level position. Upper-level positions require advanced degrees and experience.
Related: Top 21 Biology Degree Jobs
National average salary: $77,723 per year
Primary duties: Environmental engineers discover innovative solutions to environmental problems. They are responsible for collecting and analyzing data on how humans impact the environment to improve conservation habits and farming practices, among others. These engineers typically have a bachelor's degree in environmental, civil or mechanical engineering, although a master's degree is preferred. Additionally, environmental engineers may possess a Professional Engineering license.
National average salary: $78,587 per year
Primary duties: Systems analysts evaluate the computer systems of a business and create solutions to help them operate more efficiently and effectively. These analysts may design and develop new systems if necessary and conduct system testing to ensure that the system is functioning correctly.
Though not entirely necessary, many employers prefer applicants to have a bachelor's degree in a computer or information science field. Occasionally, those with a business or liberal arts degree may find employment as a systems analyst if they have experience in information technology or computer programming.
10. Civil engineer
National average salary: $80,928 per year
Primary duties: Civil engineers design, improve and plan the construction and maintenance of infrastructure, including roads, railways, airports, bridges, power plants and water and sewage systems. They must have a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, one of its specialties or in civil engineering technology. These engineers also typically need a graduate degree and licensure to be promoted to upper-level positions.
National average salary: $82,422 per year
Primary duties: Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, build and test a variety of mechanical devices, such as tools, engines and machines. These engineers design products for a variety of industries, including manufacturing, automotive and construction. They're required to complete a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Some employers may prefer a graduate degree, and roles in research may require it.
National average salary: $83,291 per year
Primary duties: A statistician compiles and presents data to assist businesses in identifying patterns and making predictions. This role requires the use of math to assess results and analyze trends. Usually, these professionals obtain a master's degree in statistics, mathematics or survey methodology. For entry-level jobs, a bachelor's degree is necessary. Statisticians working in research and academics may be required to have a Ph.D.
National average salary: $85,794 per year
Primary duties: Psychologists study and interpret behavior and thought processes to assist patients in understanding their behavior and improving their mental health. There are many types of psychologists, including clinical, counseling, school and organizational. Psychologists need a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field. Additionally, most clinical and counseling psychologists are required to have a master's or Ph.D. degree.
14. IT manager
National average salary: $88,872 per year
Primary duties: The information technology manager's role is to organize, plan and lead all of the computer activities within a business. These technology professionals implement the computer systems that satisfy the information systems needs of the company. IT managers must have a bachelor's degree in computer science, information science or a related field as well as extensive work experience.
National average salary: $92,194 per year
Primary duties: Database administrators utilize specific types of software to store and organize the data of a business, including financial figures, payroll information and customer records. This role requires a bachelor's degree in information technology or computer science. In addition, employers often require advanced education and certifications to refine skills and demonstrate expertise for this position as well.
National average salary: $96,762 per year
Primary duties: A mathematician performs research to develop and understand specific mathematical principles. These professionals analyze data and apply mathematical techniques to solve real-world problems. Mathematicians commonly work in the fields of business, science, government and engineering. The educational requirements for this role include at least a bachelor's degree in mathematics.
National average salary: $97,042 per year
Primary duties: Economists are financial experts who study market activity. They collect and analyze financial and socioeconomic data, advising businesses and governments on economic decisions and developing models for economic forecasting. Economists need a bachelor's degree in economics for entry-level jobs and a master's degree in economics for upper-level positions. A Ph.D. is not necessary, but it is often optimal for a management role.
National average salary: $105,128 per year
Primary duties: Physician assistants perform medical duties under the supervision of a physician. They are responsible for conducting patient exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering tests, interpreting test results, assisting in surgeries and prescribing medications.
Education requirements for physician assistants include a bachelor's degree in science or health care and a master's degree from a graduate-level physician assistant program.
National average salary: $109,014 per year
Primary duties: Actuaries investigate and interpret the financial costs of risk and uncertainty for businesses. They use tools from mathematics, statistics and financial theory to help companies to assess specific risks and help them develop strategies to alleviate that risk. Some work in healthcare to help insurance companies and medical facilities identify costs related to risk and investments.
Actuaries must have a bachelor's degree in mathematics, actuarial science, statistics or another analytical field.
20. Data scientist
National average salary: $121,853 per year
Primary duties: A data scientist collects and interprets data using statistics and mathematics. These professionals use software engineering skills to collect data for a variety of industries, including technology, healthcare and manufacturing. Educational requirements for this role include a master's degree or a Ph.D. Data scientists also need extensive background knowledge in computer programming, such as the Python and R platforms.
National average salary: $194,523 per year
Primary duties: Dentists analyze and perform exams on patients' teeth and gums to provide counsel and instruction on oral healthcare and wellness. Dentists are required to have at least a bachelor's degree, typically in a science field. Additionally, dentists need a DDS or DMD degree from an accredited dental program.
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