Salary Series: STEM Careers & Their Respective Salaries

Two teens working on a STEM project

A recent statistic from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says it all. The median income in annual wage dollars for all occupations in the U. S. is $46,310. The same stat for STEM jobs is significantly higher at $97,980. Does this mean that people who pursue a career in STEM will do better financially than many others? Yes.

What is STEM?

STEM is a field of study that encompasses the principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Professionals who work in STEM fields include engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists, and many more. Typically, candidates with a STEM career can expect to earn a substantial income. Additionally, many of the highest-paying STEM jobs require extensive educational training and background in the field they specialize in.

How well do jobs that focus on STEM pay?

According to one leading source, high-paying STEM-related jobs can be found in a whole array of business and scientific categories. These include:

Epidemiologist — With an average salary of $87,871, epidemiologists research the cause of diseases and scrutinize the patterns of infections and viruses. They are responsible for developing health policies and often work for government agencies and within health systems.

Clinical Informaticist — Clinical informaticists use technology to work with healthcare practitioners to improve workflow and enhance treatment outcomes. With an average salary of $79,925 and a background in computer science, they often work in healthcare management, supporting the efficacy of the healthcare system. 

Chemical Engineer — With an average salary of $90,442, these STEM-educated professionals develop chemical manufacturing processes for business implementation. Chemical engineers use the principles of chemistry, biology, and math to problem-solve and create efficiency for the manufacture of fuel, food, medicines, and other chemical applications.

Sports Medicine Doctor — A career in sports medicine can offer both financial stability and the rewarding opportunity to help athletes recover and excel. With an average annual income exceeding $200,000, this specialty is financially attractive. But the true fulfillment lies in witnessing athletes overcome injuries and achieve their peak performance.

Geologist — Geologists are scientists who study the geologic events of the earth, such as tectonic movements, erosion, and earthquakes. Geologists assist engineers and architects in developing safe building and construction plans. They also conduct research into natural gas, oil, and water for industrial extraction. Their average salary is $91,615.

Computer Scientist — Using technical applications, computer scientists solve problems related to software development. With an average salary of $104,692, they develop apps for mobile and smart devices, and create mathematical models for computer-to network and user-computer interactions.

Nuclear Engineer — With an average salary of $93,331, nuclear engineers specialize in the development and maintenance of nuclear equipment and instruments, such as imaging machines. They also play a significant role in researching the uses of nuclear physics and its role in medicine.

Attending Physician — Depending on the area of practice, attending physicians in the U.S. make anywhere from $217,065 to $600,000 or higher; especially if they become a department head.

The above careers only scratch the surface of where a background in STEM can take you, and the average range of salaries. If you’re still in high school, now is a great time to see which of the many fields of STEM hold the greatest interest for you. Prelum offers tons of STEM resources for college-ready teens! 

When is the best time to start your journey in STEM?

If you are a driven high school student thinking about STEM camps for teens, you’re on the right track. Not only do leading universities offer summer STEM camps, but many offer year-round online college prep programs. Here are just a few to consider if you are 13 and older and want to see which area of STEM is right for you. A few examples:

For those with an interest in the medical field, there are a number of top universities with online pre-college programs you’ll want to consider. For instance, Georgetown University offers online courses in biology, medicine, surgery, and even psychology as part of their Pre-College Online Program. Courses are delivered through dynamic videos. You’ll tap into interactive tools that enrich assignments, and have access to mentors who will guide your learning experience.

Another example of a leading university with an online program rich in STEM courses is Wake Forest University. Their Online Immersion Programs have a variety of pre-med online courses for teens  such as cancer medicine and bioscience, as well sports medicine.

University of Rochester’s Pre-College Online Program is chock-full of STEM-related courses. For instance, in biomedical engineering you’ll learn the engineering techniques used in biology and medicine, and delve into topics around medical innovation. Also available is video game design, which allows you to discover how digital games are built and the skills game designers and developers use.

And for those who yearn to reach for the stars, Rice University’s Precollege Program offers aerospace. This fascinating course not only takes you behind the scenes of space exploration, but investigates future explorations to Mars, and shares interviews with astronauts. The Rice Precollege Program is also the destination for aspiring scientists interested in genome engineering. Among other things, this course provides fascinating insights on how the genome can be edited to address diseases.

Why is high school the best place to start your journey into STEM?

We’ll leave you with this fact:

According to the U.S. Department of Education: If we want a nation where our future leaders can understand and solve some of the complex challenges of today and tomorrow, and to meet the demands of the dynamic and evolving workforce, building students' skills, content knowledge, and literacy in STEM is essential.

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