The future is now, and the people who are pushing the world forward are sharpening a unique set of skills. Companies are looking for dynamic problem-solvers who have an interdisciplinary education spanning a variety of subjects — that’s why a STEM education in the USA is so valuable. Through this article, we hope to share why STEM is so important, and why you should consider pursuing a career in STEM in the USA.
What is STEM?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Although at a glance that may look limited, STEM covers every subdiscipline associated with each STEM field. For science, this may include subjects such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, ecology, genetics and many more. Engineering would encapsulate every potential engineering program you could pursue including aeronautical, agricultural, or even computer engineering.
Technology and Mathematics may seem more vague than the subjects that make up the science and engineering fields, but majors in each field include subjects such as computer science, information systems, applied mathematics, and programming.
As you can tell, STEM education covers a wide range of subjects, but that begs the question — if STEM is just each of these individual subjects, what makes it so special?
Your STEM degree in the USA will not solely focus on your chosen major. Rather, it will build soft skills that are transferable across careers. Placing you in courses that expose you to different scenarios, viewpoints, and types of people — you will gain exposure that you wouldn’t otherwise experience in another country. From the way you’re taught to the very nature of what it is you’re learning, your STEM education in the U.S. will give you a one-of-a-kind experience that prepares you for success in the modern workforce.
How is STEM in the USA unique?
The U.S. is constantly innovating in hopes of staying in front of their global competitors. With such a big focus on innovation, creating innovative thinkers who can guide companies to finding new discoveries is a major focus. This same thirst for innovation is what makes the U.S. the optimal location to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. You will be at the forefront of innovative technologies learning the newest methods as they are born, making you a prime candidate upon graduation. Studying STEM in the USA will allow you to:
Optional Practical Training Opportunities for STEM Students
By choosing to study a STEM major in the USA, you have the opportunity to fully realize the benefits of an Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. Under normal circumstances, international students who have earned a degree are able to stay and participate in an OPT program for one year. STEM students are given the flexibility to extend their stay in the U.S. for an extra 24 months with an OPT extension. With students prioritizing work-study opportunities more than ever, you can make the most of those opportunities with the extra time you are provided after graduating with your degree.
Your OPT program in the U.S. has the added benefit of standing in as a major accomplishment on your resume. Gaining experience through internships and real-world opportunities at American companies gives you global marketability. This can translate to better jobs, higher salary, and a brighter outlook as you return to your home country.
How often do you get the chance to work alongside industry leading professionals as they tinker away in hopes of finding discoveries that will change the world? We’d say not too often! Depending on your major, you could work in labs investigating different medical phenomena, or as an engineer, figuring out how to integrate advanced AI capabilities into tangible products.
What better way to gain experience in your field than to do what the best do? Growth happens when you’re faced with uncomfortable and challenging situations. Those situations force you to think outside the box and come up with solutions that may not be obvious to everyone. This is how the real world works — there’s not always going to be one obvious solution to every problem, but through trial and error, careful consideration, and by viewing things from different perspectives, you continue to learn little by little.
Your STEM education in the U.S. will be full of those very experiences. You will be faced with difficult questions, but you’ll be given the freedom and support to figure it out in your own way. Students in similar situations will be right there beside you, and in those types of learning environments, you can expect exponential growth.
What is the career outlook of a STEM major?
The U.S. has made strong efforts to make STEM a priority part of their educational system. With the STEM Education Strategic Plan, the U.S. is further establishing itself as the global leader in STEM. As noted by ed.gov, as recent as 2020, the U.S. invested $578 million to support STEM education for students on top of the $819 million they had invested during 2018 and 2019. The current administration has also submitted proposals that allocate nearly $5 billion toward making STEM more accessible for diverse student populations.
With so many resources being poured into STEM education on a near yearly basis, it’s easy to see the commitment the U.S. has made to students looking to pursue fields in STEM. With so much demand, opportunities are widely available and continuing to grow for highly technical, and capable individuals. With the interdisciplinary education a STEM degree provides, your job opportunities won’t be limited to your major, but you will have transferable skills that will make you a viable asset in a number of positions.
A degree in STEM will place you in a high demand job market which is projected to grow over the next several years. With the U.S. heavily investing into STEM students, particularly in diverse communities, there are unique options to explore if you choose to pursue your STEM degree in the USA.
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