What Is STEM Education and Why Is It Important?

by | Apr 4, 2024

You hear a lot about STEM these days, from media stories about education and school choice to political debates and policy discussions. 

How important is a STEM education, and what exactly does it mean?

Let’s parse through the noise, dig past the buzz, and look closely at STEM.


What Is STEM Education?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM fields require those skills, and a STEM education focuses on those subject areas and prepares students for jobs in those fields. 

You will also often hear STEAM which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (though here at Rising Aviation the A in STEAM stands for Aviation). 

The growing shortage of qualified STEM workers in the US has been widely reported. The number of jobs in STEM fields is expected to grow at least ten percent annually, about four times faster than in non-STEM fields. 

stem students in front of airbus simulator

Unfortunately, the number of qualified university graduates has not kept up, even though STEM jobs are often some of the best-paying careers with the highest potential for job growth.

For industries looking to hire scientists, technology experts, engineers, or mathematicians, the shortage of qualified workers from US schools means they must look elsewhere to fill those jobs. 

However, US immigration policy makes it difficult to hire overseas workers. At the same time, other nations are actively trying to attract qualified STEM workers with easier immigration requirements. 

For policy experts, having a sufficient supply of STEM workers is necessary for growing the nation’s economy and competing on the global level.

This keeps STEM in the news, but it also means that there are scholarships and incentives for students wanting to enter these fields. 


What Are STEM Fields?

There’s no set definition for what counts as a STEM job. In general, STEM careers require high levels of critical thinking, problem-solving, and innovation. 

They also usually involve using computers and other technologies during daily work. Some people call STEM careers “tomorrow’s jobs.”

Several government organizations maintain ‘official’ lists of STEM jobs for various purposes.

For example, medical sciences are sometimes included in STEM and sometimes not. As the laws change, so do the lists. 

stem education can include flying in simulator

The Bureau of Labor Statistics produced a periodic table of STEM careers. The table includes the education level needed for the job, the projected growth of the field in the next decade, and the median annual wage.

It includes STEM jobs in chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, geosciences, life sciences, mathematics, and physics/astronomy. 

The BLS table lists careers with the highest forecast growth: epidemiologists, statisticians, and information security analysts. These professions earn annual wages between $48,000 and $164,000.


Why Is a STEM Education Important?

There are many beneftis of a STEM education. Much of the focus of STEM skills is placed on getting a high-paying, in-demand career after college graduation. 

However, successful STEM programs introduce these fields of study early in the classroom—sometimes as early as elementary school. 

Studies have shown that students with more exposure to STEM subjects have greater success in them during high school and college.

Learning about science, technology, engineering, and math early on can provide a catalyst for many students. Many of us remember an “ah-ha” moment in school when we were introduced to a new subject or fact that we found especially interesting. 

We all know that kids change and debate what they want to be when they grow up, with their opinions evolving along with their education. STEM is a part of that; it’s about introducing these careers and exciting and possible future options. 

If a high school program’s goal is adequately preparing a student for college, then the measure of a STEM school is adequately introducing these subjects to give a student the power to choose the right STEM field to major in and the tools to succeed in it. 

what is a stem education

How Do You Get Your Student a STEM Education?

While you might have taken STEM courses back in your school days, a well-rounded STEM education is about more than just a few disconnected subjects; it’s about actually preparing you for jobs in STEM fields.

And it’s about empowering students with enough knowledge of tomorrow’s jobs to enter college and tackle exciting and profitable careers.

At Rising Aviation High School, we’ve centered our program around STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, AVIATION, and Math.

We think that aviation ties it all together. Our students are passionate about this subject, and we love using aviation to get them excited about all that STEM offers.

Buzz aside, STEM is about much more than national policy decisions and school choice—it’s a window into how the right education can prepare students for the future. That includes their college choices and their future careers in exciting and advanced fields.

Now Enrolling Future Aviators

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