STEM careers have been on the rise in recent years, and it seems as though there are not enough trained professionals to fill all the available positions. However, some fields within STEM may not experience the growth that others are expected to see in the coming years. We had an interview with a training professional from a Boulder based company who shared the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which has laid out its projections for job growth for individual occupations within S&E (Science and Engineering) through 2020. As you consider what specific job title you want within S&E, consider its future growth potential.
Between 2010 and 2020, the growth rate of S&E occupations is expected to rise 18.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which have been reported on the National Science Foundation website. This is greater than the growth rate for all occupations of 14.3 percent.
If you’re in college or in the middle of deciding about a career change, entering S&E will likely be a smart move as far as finding a job goes. The next step is to figure out which areas within S&E are more likely than others to see a significant amount of growth and which will grow at a slower rate or not at all.
About 59 percent of the estimated job growth spurt in S&E is likely to be in computer/mathematical scientist jobs, the BLS notes. These jobs have an expected growth rate of 23.1 percent, which is the largest among S&E jobs. The next highest growth rate is expected to be seen for biological/agricultural/ environmental life scientists at 20.4 percent. Social scientists and psychologists, although they make up a significantly smaller portion of S&E workers, are expected to experience a growth rate of 18.5 percent.
If you’re into designing, creating, and improving existing designs for everything from toys to bridges, engineering is another sector of S&E to enter, although the growth rate is lower than that for all occupations. The projected growth rate for engineers is 10.6. If you’re another type of physical scientist, such as an astronomer or physicist, you can expect a growth of 12.7 percent.
The BLS points out that many S&E trained professionals work in non-S&E fields, such as health care. The health care practitioner and technician category, for example, is expected to grow by nearly 26 percent, which is even higher than the projected growth rate for all S&E occupations.
Here are a couple of other positions outside of S&E and their expected growth rates for comparison. Postsecondary teachers have an expected growth rate of 17.4 percent. Lawyers have an expected growth rate of 10.1 percent.
You can see that while some S&E occupations are growing at very fast rates compared with all occupations, some are not. They are just keeping pace. Engineering, in particular, is not expected to grow at the same rate as life, physical, or social scientists and psychologists.
Computer and mathematical science is where to spend your university or new career training dollars. You’ll likely be able to find a position in this field much more quickly than you will in some other S&E occupations.