Computer Science Week: Let’s Explore STEM Careers
Computer Science Week is from December 9th – 15th in 2019 and we are excited to celebrate it! STEM is very popular for homeschoolers, private schools, and public schools alike due to the rising awareness of these important career fields. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM programs cover one or more of these subjects with a focus on promoting career interest and preparation in these areas. There were 1.2 million job openings for STEM careers in 2018 and not enough qualified graduates to fill them, which presents an excellent opportunity for STEM-interested homeschoolers!
Another slant on STEM is called STEAM, which adds in an art element. STEAM can be especially helpful for children who are interested in STEM fields, but find joy in artistic pursuits as well. While many people associate STEM studies with high school students, these programs can actually begin while children are in elementary school with basic concepts and projects. While that may seem challenging for elementary students, it’s beneficial considering it promotes an interest and foundational knowledge at an essential age. If younger students find themselves enjoying a STEM study, they will be far more likely to notice the intriguing elements that will help carry them through into more advanced studies in later years.
10 STEM Careers for Homeschooled Students
There are an incredible number of STEM careers available. Several jobs belong to the STEM field and yet, many of us wouldn’t even realize they are involved with STEM at first glance. This site has a long list of STEM careers, and those are only in the Earth Science & Physical Science categories! The reality is that STEM majors offer far more potential than merely math or science, as opposed to what many people presume. STEM is commonly focused on project-based learning and can appeal to several students. We have pointed out ten career options in our own list, but the reality is that there are countless more. Even if your child doesn’t care for math, the odds are high that there is a STEM career suitable for them!
- Astronomer. Astronomers have many fascinating responsibilities and opportunities. Has your child always been curious about outer space? They may be interested in pursuing a career as an astronomer!
- Biologist. The term “biologist” is rather ambiguous because it serves as an umbrella position for so many different studies. As a biologist, a person could explore neurobiology, marine biology, microbiology, and far more.
- Engineer. An engineer could work in the technology field as a computer engineer, programming, robotics, medical field, and even as an environmental engineer.
- Chemist. Chemists often have specialties. Consider biochemistry, teaching chemistry, food science, laboratory chemistry, environmental chemistry, and more! Chemists are not limited to medicine or medical positions, though those are always necessary jobs as well!
- Physicist. As a physicist, numerous opportunities are available. A person interested in physics could apply their knowledge to aviation inspection, equipment repair, teaching physics, nuclear physics, atomic/molecular physics, optics, acoustics, robotics, space, etc.
- Software Developer. Science aside, many people interested in STEM careers consider programming, also known as coding, and software development. With our increasingly digital age, software is essential for nearly all successful businesses. In our research, not only does software development offer a lucrative job field, but it encourages logical thinking for students. Computer science jobs are in-demand!
- Cyber Security Officer. Cyber Security is perhaps a lesser-known STEM job option, but an increasingly important role. As with software development, there will continually be a need for cyber security officers due to our increasingly digitally-dependent world. Cyber criminals will always exist, and more technology means more opportunities for hackers and thieves. It’s important to guard our technology, and that’s exactly the role of a cyber security officer, but on a larger, professional scale with high stakes against skilled criminals.
- Electrician. As with technology, electricians hold a job always in demand. Our world relies on electricity and that isn’t changing anytime soon! One fascinating fact about electricians is that many learn their trade through apprenticeship rather than college degrees. Apprenticeships seem few and far between these days, so this could be a great option for your recently-graduated high schoolers to begin learning an essential trade for a potential career and work toward their Journeyman’s license. These apprenticeships oftentimes combine on-the-job training with several textbook courses.
- Forensic Science Technician. If your student has been fascinated with crime shows, mysteries, and detective work, pursuing a career as a Forensic Science Technician could be a good STEM option! Forensic science technicians collect and test evidence from crime scenes, match DNA, and play a large role in determining whether the evidence can convict alleged suspects.
- Pilot. Pilots are a popular career choice, but did you know it is also considered within the STEM field? Pilots are always in demand both nationally and worldwide. A pilot needs a foundational knowledge of physics, computer science, and advanced math. The education requirements for pilots depend on who’s hiring, but most jobs for transporting people or cargo professionally require a commercial pilot’s license.
10 Resources for Exploring STEM Programs
STEM offers a broad scope for students, which fortunately makes it fairly easy to include in your homeschool schedule. There are plenty of ways to add STEM in school, and even more resources available to help make it an enjoyable endeavor for both your students and yourself as the homeschooling parent. For example, we have created several homeschool unit studies on our site for learning more about various science branches. You can find the units for astronomy, earth science, nuclear science, and chemistry in this list below, as well as many other resources for getting started!
As with all parents, we want our children to be as prepared for the world as possible. As homeschoolers especially, we want to give our children the best education we can. A major part of education means helping them work towards a sustainable career that suits and excites our students. It’s normal for children, even teenagers, to feel unsure about what career path to take, or to know what jobs interest them. To be fair, most of us struggle with that question through our 20s! It can be helpful, however, to look into a career test or career exploration course to see where your students are most interested. However, you can help give your child a sturdy foundation for a promising career by encouraging them to explore STEM possibilities.
Courtney Newman is a homeschool graduate with a love for writing. She is also currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Health Science at University of the People. Other than writing, her hobbies include reading, yoga, visiting the beach, and meditating. She lives with her husband and pets in Virginia.