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STEM in US – The barriers to entry are also lower than most think.

With the expansion of advanced technologies and processes into more and more fields, the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) economy is much bigger than many imagine and the barriers to entry are also lower than most think. Occupations like pipefitting and welding require only a high school diploma plus technical training to start. In fact, high school and community college graduates, along with those who don’t have a four-year university diploma, hold half of these positions.STEM

These are well-paying jobs: Work that demands technical know-how, but not a master’s or Ph.D., and pays better than the national average wage of $46,000. American plumbers and pipefitters, for instance, earned more than $49,000 in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Expanding out to other fields, a recent Brookings report found U.S. STEM workers who haven’t attained a bachelor’s degree earn an average salary of $53,000, about 10 percent higher than non-STEM employees with the same educational background.

For those looking to get into work that requires STEM skills, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is bullish about demand by employers, concluding that “STEM occupations are…viewed as having some of the best opportunities for job growth in the future.” Indeed, the Commerce Department projects that the number of STEM jobs will have grown by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018.

Taken together, the projected demand for more technical workers across all industries and the higher wages for all levels of educational achievement point to a revitalized, robust middle class as an achievable goal. It also means that science and technology are no longer walled off in labs and universities; they’re on the job and in our daily lives. That’s why many community colleges and vocational schools across the country are ramping up their training programs in STEM fields. They see the national projections and hear from local employers who need skilled workers.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  The Jobs of Today.

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