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Top 10 careers for STEM degree graduates

Which careers are best for STEM degree graduates? We have all the answers to your questions here as we explore STEM graduate careers.

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STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These subjects are particularly sought-after by employers around the world. This is mainly because STEM subjects are considered future-proof and beneficial for economic growth and innovation.


STEM graduates are therefore helping to resolve some of the major challenges facing the world today such as climate change, healthcare and sustainable food production. Another major benefit of studying a STEM degree is that many countries favour STEM graduates when it comes to remaining in the country to work after graduation. Plus, STEM graduates typically earn high salaries and unemployment rates are low.


So, we’re asking, what are the top 10 careers for STEM degree graduates? To compile this list, we’ve used the US News and World Report on Best STEM jobs 2021.


1) Physician Assistant (PA)


The role of a PA involves diagnosing illnesses, creating treatment plans, supporting surgeons and performing procedures. To qualify as a PA, you will usually need a bachelor’s degree in a science or healthcare field. You will then need to study an accredited physician assistant degree at master’s level. But don’t be fooled by the term ‘assistant’ as this career requires a great deal of education and commitment. You will also be required to gain work experience, with many graduates choosing to work as a registered nurse, EMT or paramedic before the master’s course.


Median salary: USD 112,260 per year


2) Software Developer


We see the work of software developers every day, even several times a day on apps, social media and websites. Software developers build computer programs for many purposes using both technical and creative skills. To become a software developer, you need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant STEM subject such as computer science where you will learn about computers and programming.


You do not necessarily need a master’s degree to work as a software engineer, but some employers prefer to hire graduates with further expertise. Overall, software developers are the minds behind the technology we use on a regular basis and are therefore vital within our constantly evolving technological world.


Median salary: USD 107,510


3) Nurse Practitioner (NP)


Nurse practitioners have extra responsibilities and additional qualifications to general nurses. For example, NPs can perform physical exams, analyse lab results, offer advice and provide treatment. While general nurses cannot prescribe medication, NPs can. So, with greater responsibility comes greater pay. However, you will also need to do the additional training. To become an NP, you need to first become a registered nurse which requires obtaining a bachelor’s or associates degree. You also need a master’s degree before completing additional certifications which will depend on where you are based.


Median salary: USD 109,820


4) Medical and Health Services Manager


A medical and health services manager is responsible for the direction and co-ordination of a hospital, care home or another healthcare service. This job involves working closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals to ensure the smooth running of these facilities. To qualify, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as public health. To improve your employment prospects, you might want to consider a master’s in business administration or public administration. You may even start out as a nurse or doctor, before moving into this profession.


Median salary: USD 100,980


5) Statistician


If you’ve got an analytical mind and a flair for sorting data, a career as a statistician might just be perfect for you. In this line of work, you will be collecting data, analysing results, conducting experiments, and reporting on the outcomes. The great thing about statisticians is that these skills can be applied to a range of fields such as healthcare, finance, forensics, public safety and the environment.


To qualify, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in statistics or another relevant STEM subject such as economics, psychology or mathematics. Basically, any degree which has a statistical or quantitative element.


Median salary: USD 91,160


6) Data Scientist

Put simply, data scientists analyse large data sets. However, this requires a wide range of skills and knowledge within computer science, analytics, modelling, statistics, mathematics and business. Data scientists make sense of complex data which can help to inform the strategies and messaging of companies/organisations/governments. As a data scientist, you must be comfortable interpreting data and extracting meaning from the numbers. To become a data scientist, you can take several routes by gaining one of the following STEM qualifications:


Median salary: USD 94,280


7) Dentist

Being a dentist involves diagnosing and treating a patients’ teeth, gums and mouth. To become a dentist, you need to commit a great deal of time and money to your education. You should choose science and mathematics as early as high school to give yourself the greatest chance. However, the exact process differs according to the country you choose for your studies.

In the UK, aspiring dentists can study a five-year bachelor’s degree in dentistry followed by a two-year postgraduate course. Whereas, in the US, you need to complete an undergraduate degree before applying to dentistry school. While dentistry is not an official STEM subject, many parts of this degree involve science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


Median salary: USD 155,600


8) Orthodontist


A similar field to dentistry but with a particular focus on fixing irregularities with the teeth and jaw. This includes straightening teeth and administering braces for patients. Orthodontists can work in private practices or in hospitals as consultants. As with dentistry, becoming a certified orthodontist requires a long period of training. To become an orthodontist, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in dentistry before gaining work experience and completing an orthodontic training programme which can take a further three years to complete.


Median salary: USD 208,000


9) IT Manager


IT managers are responsible for the performance of a company’s computer and information systems. This includes data and network security and the maintenance of computer programmes and software. IT managers evaluate the IT needs of a company/organisation to improve productivity and efficiency. If you like the sound of becoming an IT manager, you usually need a bachelor’s degree in one of the following STEM subjects: computer science, IT or mathematics. Some companies may also prefer to hire someone with a master’s degree, but this is not always compulsory.


Median salary: USD 146,360


10) Information security analyst

The clue is in the name with this one as information security analysts are concerned with the safety of information systems. This involves planning and initiating security measures to protect computer systems from hackers and cyber-attacks. These IT professionals can be employed by companies, organizations, governments, charities etc.


This role is becoming increasingly crucial as security breaches become more and more sophisticated. To work in this field, you don’t necessarily need a degree, but it can help when it comes to finding a job. At undergraduate level, a degree in computer science would be most relevant.  


Median salary: USD 99,730


We hope you found what you were looking for in this article!


But if not, don’t fret. Our course matcher tool can help you find a course and university.


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