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30 Popular & 10 Unusual STEM Careers

stem careers

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The thought process behind introducing STEM to our younger population is to expose them to technological subjects that will be beneficial to the future prosperity of society. STEM teaches students how each subject relates to the other; which was created to help students understand how the subjects are connected as they get old enough to enroll in college.


With STEAM, arts were thrown into the STEM mix because many of these careers also need the creativity and ingenuity the arts can provide.

For example, to better express your findings with your mathematical degree, you must be able to present them in a manner that is understandable to the general public. What about technical writing? Technically, it's a STEM career, but writing is also a difficult creative skill that is necessary to master for that chosen career path.

STEAM incorporates the arts, making them readily available in curriculums where they are most needed.

STEM Careers Include

You’ve already been there and done that with primary and secondary school. Now you’re trying to really commit to what you want to be when you grow up. Well, if you’re wanting to start getting into specifics, the majority of careers touch upon the STEM industry. Some may fall into one particular part of it, but many combine all forms and functions.

Healthcare is the main industry that is heavily debated as a STEM career. While nursing & medicine encompass much of the STEM career format, some researchers believe it should be its own individual field since it can be so specialized.

Let's examine other popular, and quite lucrative, STE(A)M careers. Some of the following careers are available as online programs too.

Science STEM Careershighest paying stem science careers

  • Medical Scientists: As a medical scientist, your main duty is to conduct research to improve the overall health of humanity. Clinical trials and investigative methods are used to research their findings.
  • Chemists: Busy yourself with atomic and molecular levels and how substances interact with each other on a daily basis. You’ll need at the least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related field.
  • Environmental Science: It has become increasingly crucial to protect our environment over recent decades. As an environmental scientist, you will use your knowledge of science and nature to discover ways to better preserve the health of our planet.
  • Agricultural and Food Science: You’ll be working full time to improve the efficiency and standards of the food industry and products associated with it. Most going into this field get advanced degrees, however, a bachelor’s degree may get you in the door.
  • Astronomer: You’ll be looking to the skies, studying stars, planets, and other facets of our heavens. Telescopes, both on the ground and in the skies, will be part of your equipment. You will be part of a research team made up of other astronomers, physicists, engineers, and more STEM related professionals.
  • Atmospheric and Space Science: You’re looking at phenomena in our atmosphere through intel from surface and air stations, satellite, and radar to inform weathermen and women, and other industry experts.
  • Bioinformatics Science: You’ll use a mashup of information technology and computer science in your study of biology. You may also be designing your own computer technology to help you with your research.
  • Genetic Counselor: This fascinating career will have you treating and counseling patients with hereditary predispositions, along with creating a path of treatment. Doctorates are most common for this career. Genetic counselors generally need a master’s degree.
  • Architecture: Scientific laws combined with artistic design creates the popular STEAM career of architecture. You'll design home plans and commercial structures.

Technology STEM Careers

highest paying stem technology careers

  • Computer and Information Systems Manager: Also known as information technology managers and IT project managers, you’ll be doing the planning, coordinating, and directing of all computer-related activities wherever you work. You may need a bachelor's degree.
  • Computer Systems Analyst: You will study a company’s computer programming, assess it, and help to design and implement one better suited for its needs. To work in this field, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. To learn more, read about what a computer systems analyst does.
  • Web Developer: (designer and developer not the same) An associate degree is the minimum requirement for web developers, although there are many who are successfully self-taught. You need to know coding and graphic design because you’re in charge of the look and feel of a website, from the front end to the back.
  • Information Security Analyst: You protect companies and other organizations from cyberattacks by analyzing, planning, and carrying out preventative security measures. As the amount of attacks via the cyber-land increase, you’ll find yourself more in demand. Bachelor’s degrees are the minimum requirement to work as an information security analyst.
  • Software Developer: You’re the brains behind computer programs. You can focus on application development or systems software. Or, you could do both! Bachelor’s degrees in computer science are the typical route.
  • Computer Hardware Engineer: Problems happen. Especially when it comes to technology, and computer hardware and software. You’ll be fixing software and computer systems, and helping to advance technology through your research, design, development, and testing. To work in this career, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program.
  • Technical Writer: Usually college degrees are recommended for technical writing, but aren't always necessary. You’ll write company how-to guides, instruction manuals, and other documents that support what the hiring company does.
  • Database Administrator: It’ll probably be helpful to focus your bachelor’s degree studies on information or computer-related subjects. You’ll also need some related work experience prior to getting hired for the first time.

Engineering STEM Careers

  • Petroleum Engineer: Petroleum engineers design and build new oil and gas extraction technology with a focus on protecting our environment.
  • Nuclear Engineer: You’ll use nuclear energy for good, from medical-related to harnessing its power safely and efficiently. A bachelor’s degree is the minimal requirement, along with some work experience.
  • Mechanical Engineer: You’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree and a state-specific license to work as a mechanical engineer. It’s a pretty broad career; you’ll be touching almost every aspect of equipment for almost every part of life.
  • Computer Engineer: This is the path most traveled for students wanting to focus on computer hardware engineering. You’ll build, test, and analyze computer hardware, including your own creations.
  • Biomedical Engineer: Medicine and biology come together—you’ll create the equipment, software, device, and computer programs used in healthcare. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program.
  • Marine Engineer: Naval ships from sailboats to tankers are designed by marine engineers. You’ll need to get a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering, marine systems engineering, or marine engineering technology. Internships are encouraged, since most employers prefer candidates with some experience.
  • Chemical Engineer: Chemical engineers usually hold a bachelor’s degree, and internships are encouraged. You’ll be using a little bit of chemistry, shaken with a bit of biology, physics, and math.
  • Aerospace Engineer: Aircrafts, spacecrafts, satellites, and missiles are all designed by you, an aerospace engineer. You also test the prototypes of the creations to see if the concept works. Pretty cool gig! A bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering is a must.
  • Architectural Engineering and Engineering Manager: Someone needs to plan, direct, and coordinate operations within an architectural firm or engineering company. It may as well be you, as long as you have a bachelor’s degree and some work as an architect or engineer.

Math STEM Careers

  • Actuary: A bachelor’s degree along with the proper certifications will get your foot in the door to work as an actuary. You’ll use your background in math, statistics, and financial theory to determine the risks a company could face, and help them to develop policies to minimize those potentials.
  • Mathematician and Statistician: Your love of all things mathematical can translate to a high-paying career. You will be working with data samples and statistical software to analyze information for research studies.
  • Personal Finance Advisor: You work with people to help them make wise investment choices; whether it’s for a mortgage, estate planning, college, or any other type of investment a person may need to make. Minimally, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in finance and the proper certifications. However, this is a very competitive field, so a master’s degree in finance may help you stand out in the job market.
  • Financial Manager: You’ll be more than likely facing some fierce competition for positions as a financial manager. You will be responsible for the financial health of a company with your bachelor’s degree, the proper certifications, and at least five years of work in a related field such as accounting, auditor, or financial analyst.
  • Financial Analyst: Individuals and businesses alike very often need help making wise investment choices. Your role will be assessing the stock market, bonds, and other areas investments are made, and to choose what fits their portfolio and budget. Bachelor’s degrees are the minimum, but master’s degrees are preferred.

Unusual STEM Careers

  • Pastry Chef: Baking is part science, part art, with some math as well. Getting the perfect combination of taste and texture isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are certificate through advanced degree programs available, and it’s best to choose one that is accredited.
  • Medical Illustrator: Most medical illustrators have a master’s degree from a 2-year medical illustration program. If this is the route you take, make sure you choose a program that’s accredited. This is a definitive STEAM career, mixing science and art. The work you create will be used in journals for research, patient care, and so many other important areas.
  • Metalsmith: Molding metal to create objects from jewelry to sculptures to anywhere your metal mind can take you is your responsibility. This career solders science (you have to understand how metals work and the science behind it) with art. You can either work on the creative or technical side of the career. There isn’t a specifically set educational path for metalsmiths, but you can take welding courses at a trade school or community college. There are also many workshops available.
  • Gameplay Engineer: Gameplay engineers work long and hard to design the software programs for video games. Generally, a bachelor’s degree along with a few years of related work experience is necessary to land this type of job.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker: Your job is to hack a company’s network to find where it’s vulnerable so it can be reinforced, keeping non-ethical hackers out. You need to have a robust understanding of computer science, as well as a certification or degree in a related field. Internet security experience is a must, and you should get your certification as a CEH.
  • Food and Flavor Chemist: A bachelor’s degree in food science is a must, with a strong knowledge base in microbiology, food chemistry, and other related food sciences. There are many specializations and certifications available to you in this field. You will analyze and improve different methods of food processing and distribution.
  • 3D Printing Engineer: This is one of the rapidly emerging fields, and one that has tremendous potential to change our world as we know it. From organs for transplant to food, 3D technology is a game changer, and the opening doors are expected to bring limitless global potential.
  • Robotics Engineer: Robotic engineering is growing monumentally. This STEAM career combines science, engineering, and math, along with a huge amount of creativity. To become a robotics engineer you'll need at least a master’s degree, but PhDs are available as well.
  • Underwater Archeologist: There are only around 15 universities worldwide that offer a degree in marine or underwater archeology. This career is part of archeology but with a major focus on the oceans and other bodies of water. All forms of life, from prehistoric to modern day have used the waterways for travel, and so some secrets are buried deep within the sandy beds of the water floors. Most have a master’s or doctorate in this field, along with related work experience as a requirement.
  • Zoologist: As a zoologist, you get to hang out with animals, studying their behaviors and how they engage with their entire ecosystem created within the confines of the zoo. At the very minimum, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in zoology. However, depending on how far you would like to advance, you may need a master’s degree or doctorate.
  • Pyrotechnic Engineer: Who doesn’t love fireworks? As a pyrotechnic engineer, you are responsible for creating these breathtaking shows. To burst into this career, you need a degree in chemical engineering and to pass a safety certification course.

There are so many different STEM careers available beyond what was listed here. One thing is certain, STEM fields are among some of the most interesting and lucrative job choices. And if you don't want to sign up for a 4 year STEM program, that's ok. You can probably find some 2 year STEM training programs at your local trade school or technical college.