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STEM Jobs Don't Always Require Degrees

By Sidra Miller

In our minds, everyone has an embedded form of a path they want to follow to achieve their dream careers. However, due to societal and technological advances, more opportunities are being introduced through something as simple as joining an organization. STEM is an example of that. Oftentimes, when the acronym STEM is referred to, immediate minds turn to engineering or computer science. One thing that they have in common is that they require a 4-year degree (or more) of education. Nevertheless, that is only a narrow outlook on STEM careers and how they’re achieved. The truth is, there are many average-paying STEM jobs that do not require a traditional college degree. It can start with something as small and simple as just a little interest in anything STEM-related.

Being in the 21st century, STEM is a significant and ever-growing part of our lives. We use it every day, even if we don’t realize it! Whether it’s operating a computer system, building a wooden car for your shop class, or programming a robot, STEM is all around us. Because of this, there are always job demands in relation to STEM. STEM jobs require various skills such as communication, organization, problem-solving, and creativity.

While the popular and traditional educational route is a Bachelor’s degree (4 years), it may not be the right fit for everyone. More intense and rigorous careers require significant schooling, however, there are still a few that don’t call for it.

A few STEM careers that don’t need a Bachelor’s are nursing assistants, graphic designers, electrical technicians, web developers, dental hygienists, and air traffic controllers (“STEM Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree”). The average salary for these jobs is about $50,000. A nonprofit organization called the Brookings Institution published a report titled “The Hidden STEM Economy”, which states: “There is a strong potential workforce of those with less education but substantial STEM skills” (Bedford). They continue the report by saying “half of all STEM jobs are available to workers without a four-year college degree, and these jobs pay $53,000 on average — a wage 10 percent higher than jobs with similar education requirements” (Bedford). These statistics suggest that STEM occupations for individuals with less than a bachelor's degree are growing in popularity and proving to be successful.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a visual of the most available and growing STEM jobs that don’t require a 4-year degree:

photo/Stairway to STEM

photo/Stairway to STEM

Not everything is a one-way path. There are different paths in life and any one of them can lead to success. STEM involves a myriad of skills and components, which is partly why there are many routes to getting an interesting and successful job. Getting involved is easy and fun. So many jobs require STEM that some may not be aware of. It surrounds us. With technology advancing as we speak, companies are constantly in demand of employees who are not only willing to learn STEM, but are also capable of daily life skills which is a weighty thing for any job.

Works Citied

Bedford, Olivia Tyson Olivia Tyson is an educational coach who works for the ICEProgram

at Middlesex Community College in. “STEM Jobs That Don’t Require Four-Year

Degrees.” Stairway to STEM, 6 Aug. 2019,


“STEM Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree.” Indeed Career Guide, 1 Mar. 2021,

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