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Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Careers in this cluster

Cluster definition

Is science one of your favorite subjects?
Do you prepare projects for science fairs?
Do you enjoy reading science magazines?
Are you detail-oriented?
Do you want to know how things work?

If you answered yes to two or more of the questions above, you might be interested in considering a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

If you choose to work in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics cluster, you have several avenues. One avenue is to do scientific research in laboratories or the field. Another option is to be involved in the planning and design of products and systems. The last avenue is to provide support to the scientists, mathematicians, and engineers so they can do their work.


Engineering and technology

To work in the Engineering and Technology pathway, you would solve problems involving design, development, or production. You would work on projects to evaluate problems and develop and test solutions. You could also provide advice and consultation.

Science and mathematics

Those who choose careers in the Science and Mathematics pathway apply knowledge and skills in the real world. Your goal would be to improve the physical and human environment. In your work, you would engage in discovery to gather and process data to solve problems.

Level of education and earnings

The training and education requirements to work in the occupations included in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics cluster depend on the pathway and the type of work performed. Some occupations require an associate degree; however, some scientists need a doctoral degree to conduct research.

The information provided in the table below, presents the level of education or training required to work in the occupations related to this cluster and the median wages for those occupations.

Also, keep in mind that there are non-wage benefits that workers receive. For example, these types of benefits are health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. It is important to consider these benefits when you are looking at pay. Some benefits, such as health care, are worth a lot of money. You should carefully weigh a job that pays well but does not have many benefits against one that has good benefits and lower pay. Remember, how much an occupation pays is only one factor to consider when making career choices.

  National Annual
Median Wage
Washington Annual
Median Wage
Postsecondary Vocational Training (Certificate or Diploma)
Precision Agriculture Technicians$49,670 $53,690
Associate Degree
Electronics Engineering Technologists$63,200 $76,530
Engineering Technicians$52,580 - $67,010 $64,240 - $89,090
Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists$90,270 $87,760
Manufacturing Engineering Technologists$63,200 $76,530
Science Technicians$40,860 - $79,140 $37,880 - $72,380
Bachelor's Degree
Aerospace Engineers$115,220 not available
Cartographers and Photogrammetrists$64,430 $78,740
Chemical Engineers$104,910 $100,450
Chemists$76,890 $80,550
Climate Change Analysts$71,130 $78,230
Conservation Scientists$61,310 $57,680
Electrical and Electronics Engineers$96,640 - $102,700 $106,910 - $111,730
Energy Engineers$96,980 $107,230
Fuel Cell Engineers$87,370 $90,510
Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists$90,270 $87,760
Industrial Engineers$87,040 $104,240
Manufacturing Engineers$96,980 $107,230
Materials Engineers$92,390 not available
Mechanical Engineers$87,370 $90,510
Meteorologists$94,110 $89,260
Mining Engineers$92,250 $90,230
Nanotechnologists$63,200 $76,530
Nuclear Engineers$107,600 $100,240
Park Naturalists$61,310 $57,680
Petroleum Engineers$137,170 not available
Photonics Engineers$96,980 $107,230
Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists$107,230 $107,230
Robotics Engineers$96,980 $107,230
Safety Engineers$89,130 $94,970
Science Technicians$40,860 - $79,140 $37,880 - $72,380
Social Science Research Assistants$46,640 $45,110
Validation Engineers$96,980 $107,230
Wind Energy Engineers$96,980 $107,230
Work Experience Plus a Bachelor's or Higher Degree
Architectural and Engineering Managers$140,760 $148,400
Master's Degree
Anthropologists$62,410 $73,460
Archeologists$62,410 $73,460
Biologists$71,650 - $93,280 $67,730 - $79,590
Economists$104,340 $91,940
Environmental Scientists$71,130 $78,230
Geographers$80,300 $81,920
Geologists and Geophysicists$79,370 - $91,130 $85,190 - $88,060
Historians$61,140 $71,420
Mathematicians$101,900 $119,860
Political Scientists$117,570 $76,660
Sociologists$82,050 $75,670
Statisticians$87,780 $98,070
Doctoral Degree
Astronomers$105,680 not available
Physicists$120,950 $103,900

Employment & outlook

The job opportunities in engineering are expected to increase slowly in the near future. Companies are turning more to engineers to help improve product design and increase productivity. In addition, the number of students graduating from engineering programs is not increasing. However, improvements in technology mean that one engineer can work on multiple projects at different locations at one time. In addition, many engineering jobs are related to the national defense and defense expenditures in those areas are not increasing.

Many scientists depend on federal funding for their research projects. Federal spending is decreasing. The number of students graduating from science programs is increasing. As a result, it is more difficult to obtain grants for research. The prospects for people with a bachelor's or master's degrees are improving. Job growth will be concentrated in the areas of biotechnology and pharmacy.

Employment will increase in mathematics. Growth is expected as businesses and government agencies continue to emphasize the use of big data, which math occupations can analyze.