As the job market increasingly calls for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals, more online programs are emerging that can help students study for such careers. Institutions such as Arizona State University have created online programs that allow students to complete lab work from home by offering the latest technology for distance learning.
The increasing availability of STEM education is a win-win for employers and employees alike. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that STEM occupations will display the highest rate of growth — 8% between 2019 and 2029, over twice as fast as all other occupations. Not only are those jobs available in a variety of fields, ranging from engineering and social sciences to medical fields and technology, but 75% of the 20 highest-paying careers in the U.S. are in STEM fields.
In 2020, COVID-19 spurred an even greater need for skilled employees with expertise in health and technology. In fact, employment in pandemic-affected STEM industries is projected to increase over the next decade, more than anticipated pre-pandemic. This includes the computer equipment manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries, which are now projected to grow 16% and 14%, respectively.
Are you considering a STEM career? Consider these suggestions and how a career change will fit with your personal, professional and life goals.
Research online learning opportunities.
If you haven't begun your studies, or you're looking to transfer, find a program that meets your needs. Research universities that offer the online degree or certification program you're interested in, and are specifically designed and have dedicated resources to work with online learners. During your search, you'll want to seek out programs that are accredited and are associated with a reputable university that offers the same curriculum and instructors as ground schools. U.S. News and World Report provides helpful rankings of universities and degree programs.
In recognition of the need to train and educate more STEM workers, institutions such as ASU, a top-tier research university, strive to advance education and contribute to the fields of STEM. Through ASU Online, students have flexible, STEM-related degree programs and certificate options that equip them with the expertise and knowledge to advance their career.
How is that possible? ASU Online allows students to complete most lab work remotely by delivering high-grade tools and equipment directly to their homes and offering innovative virtual reality lab simulations.
Bring all your skills to the table.
You may have studied for or worked in non-STEM-related jobs in the past. That knowledge, group of skills, and your experiences can be applied to a new role in a STEM field. Past projects or accomplishments that have a quantitative or scientific focus could be particularly helpful as you move forward. But most STEM roles also need people with different skillsets such as emotional intelligence, acumen in diversity/inclusion, interpersonal communication skills and critical thinking skills.
Don’t rule out a career change just because you started in a different field or direction; instead, stack your credentials and start thinking of yourself as a “master learner” capable of pivoting within your career path as needed.
Create an action plan.
Evaluate your background and skills, and determine what you need to add to your resume to achieve your desired STEM job. You may be surprised to discover you have fewer gaps than you think, and a STEM position may be well within your reach with additional training, certification or a degree. If you need help forming a plan or exploring different options, ASU offers its online students a full range of support services.
Learn about the more than 85 STEM degrees offered at ASU Online.