How a STEM education could help students

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Here are some of the benefits experts say come with having STEM-related skills. (KTRK)

In recent years, a heavy emphasis has been placed on courses and careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, fields.

Under the Obama administration, several goals were put in place to help provide opportunities in American schools in these areas including developing and recruiting STEM teachers.

Friday morning on ABC13 Eyewitness News, Foti Kallergis introduces you to high school students building an airplane that they will fly with the help of retired pilots and airline mechanics

It's a plan that President Trump has continued a commitment to, signing a memorandum that would allow for $200 million a year in grants to go toward STEM education for K-12 students.

Here's a breakdown of why educators say STEM matters.

What are some of the benefits to a STEM education?

Education experts say STEM helps with critical thinking and problem solving because it's used in every part of our lives, not just careers related to science, technology, engineering or math.

STEM is also said to help fuel creativity when it comes to finding solutions, and aiding a child's development.

What kind of salaries do STEM degree holders or workers make?

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), workers with STEM-related degrees tend to have a higher income, even if they aren't in a STEM-related field. In the 2017 STEM jobs update from the DOC, STEM workers also commanded higher wages, earning nearly 30 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts in 2015.

College graduates enjoy an earnings premium for having a STEM job, regardless of major. However, the larger payoff comes when STEM majors are in STEM-related jobs like pharmacist ($126,989) and product manager ($90,693).

The DOC reports those in STEM occupations also have lower rates of unemployment.

What kinds of careers can I get in STEM?

Careers in STEM may include but are not limited to, financial analyst, computer support specialist, business operations manager, medical and health services manager, civil engineer, psychologist, astronomers, geographers, sociologists and more.

Even if you have a degree in STEM, that doesn't mean you have to go into a STEM occupation. The Department of Commerce says STEM degrees also lead to other career opportunities, with about two-thirds of workers with an undergraduate STEM degree in a non-STEM job.

Life and physical science majors with STEM degrees are most likely to work outside the STEM field, while math majors had a pipeline to careers in education.

What kinds of STEM programs are offered in Houston?

Many districts, colleges and universities have programs or courses in STEM. The website Niche ranked schools in the Houston area for 2018.

Some local universities like the University of Houston or Rice have special programs geared toward K-12 students, parents and teachers.

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