STEM education refers to the integration of four subjects: science, technology, engineering and mathematics, into a cohesive, interdisciplinary and applied learning approach. This isn’t academic theory — STEM education includes the appropriate real-world application and teaching methods. As a result, students in any subject can benefit from STEM education.
Why is STEM Education Important?
In 2018, the White House released a report that found that only 20% of high school grads were ready for the rigors of STEM majors. And how over the previous 15 years, the U.S. had produced only 10% of the world’s science and engineering grads. The Pew Research Center in 2018 also found that STEM employment had grown 79% since 1990 (computer jobs increased 338%). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), non-STEM occupations will increase 7.5% while STEM occupations will increase 10.5% by 2030.
In terms of salary, the findings are even more pronounced. The median annual wage for all occupations is $41,950. Those in non-STEM occupations earn $40,020 and those in STEM occupations earn $89,780. A report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) found that tech-based startups pay more than double the national average wage and nearly three times the average overall startup wage.
But STEM education is more than just achieving a well paying job. It’s about a teaching philosophy that naturally integrates critical thinking and language skills in a way that enriches any subject.
Helps Prepare Future Experts
In 2018, there were 2.4 million STEM jobs unfilled. And despite a current turn down in the economy, the tech industry, pharmaceutical companies, banking and medicine will always need people with highly developed critical thinking and research skills.
We need these skilled experts who will develop the next successful antibiotic or vaccine for a disease. We need engineers and developers to create the next new phone or computer. We also need those people to help us understand big data, make-sense of our economy, manage finances, and even help us get to another galaxy!
STEM Challenges Inspire Confidence
STEM education teaches students how to learn and provides students with a valuable skill that will never leave them — confidence. The confidence that students gain in their own ability to sort through data; test hypotheses; and come to a conclusion will stay with them forever. Whether they choose a STEM career or another discipline entirely, the skills gained from this education will follow wherever they go. Instead of telling a student that they are right or wrong, STEM education enables a student to become a lifelong learner in which they have the confidence to find an answer for his or herself.
Originally published on Alexis Azria’s website.