According to The New York Times, “Nearly 90% of high school graduates say they are not interested in a career or college major involving science, technology, engineering or math, known collectively as STEM, according to a survey of more than a million students who take the ACT test” (“Who Says Math Has to be Boring”). Other studies have shown this to be true as well, with girls being even further behind in interest and skills than boys.
One way to get teens excited about getting through school (successfully) is to get them excited about a career. Not every student wants to be a fireman, teacher, doctor, lawyer, ect. Maybe your student is having trouble getting excited about getting out of high school because they can’t picture what they will be doing once they’re out. Get them excited to actually start working at something!
There seems to be debate now on whether STEM jobs are really rising as fast as originally thought. Even so, looking into some not-so-typical careers might help inspire your student to at least start exploring what they might want to do as a career:
3D Printing or Robotics:
This short video is just a basic idea of what 3D printing is. I went to a convention a year or so ago and was told that 3D printing is making its way into automotive industry, art, construction, and even healthcare. Yeah, they’re going to print organs.
Robotic Engineers is one job that is supposed to see steady job growth. This doesn’t mean that your student will be controlling a bulky silver box with weird light up eyes that speaks in a creepy monotone. “Robotics engineers work with computers and automated machines in technology-driven environments. These in-demand engineers have advanced science and math skills and usually hold at least undergraduate engineering degrees” (From Education Portal). This means working on anything from computers, computer infrastructure, machinery, aerospace, and agriculture.
Farming and Agriculture:
Speaking of agriculture, farming and agriculture, is making a big comeback as a career (and yes it is considered a STEM career). In January of this year AT&T was part of an Urban Farming Project to help get inner city youth involved with STEM (read blog post here). This program was to support what the school systems lack as far as inspiring students to form an interest in STEM. This included agriculture, aquaponics, and remaining personally engaged with the students. Farming and agriculture are great to start at any age. Having your student watch something that they planted grow into a flower, plant, something they can eat, is really empowering for them. There are also plenty of jobs in agriculture that don’t require you to get under a cow and start milking. There is farm management, marketing, farm planning, horse breeder or supervisor, harvest mechanic, food technician, and plenty more.
Article on the image of farming and how to get it to appeal to our youth: Read here.
Image from: http://www.agricorner.com/agriculture-economy-updates-but-that-means-shedding-of-jobs/
Being a hacker may not sound rewarding but some agencies pay good money to have people hack into other systems (for good reasons…hopefully). You also can reveal weaknesses in systems so companies can make adjustments to their own systems to protect themselves from outside hackers. Professional hackers who work at the government level usually work closely with FBI, CIA, or other agencies.
Well not just a spy, but the CIA is advertising for STEM students. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics students apply now. Trying to secure a job with the CIA is highly competitive. Getting into extracurricular activities, clubs, and internships prior to graduating high school will increase your students chances. If being a spy doesn’t seem like the life they want there are also Operations Officers, Specialized Skills Officers, and Liaison Officers between U.S. offices and overseas offices.
If you’re creative and have math and science skills you may be a natural car designer. You usually need a Master’s degree but some companies will hire you with a Bachelor’s. It is a very competitive field as well so be prepared. With the uprising in electronic cars and new fears about protecting our atmosphere, engineering new fuel efficient cars will increase.
Read more about being a car designer and similar careers here.