STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and it’s generally used as an umbrella term for various disciplines within these fields. In a school setting, STEM classes or certifications revolve around an approach to educational development and learning that integrates these core subjects into classroom materials and learning systems.
The modern world relies heavily on STEM, with a particular emphasis on technology. Teachers who become STEM-certified can help students learn in a way most befitting the workforce in years to come.
The outlook for STEM-certified teachers is excellent, as the position is in high demand thanks to a deficit of about a quarter of a million professionals. This makes finding a job (and potentially demanding a higher starting salary) significantly easier.
STEM-certified teachers have passed the necessary certifications and training to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses. Most are employed full-time at primary, secondary, or postsecondary educational institutions, although some may work for commercial learning companies.
The path to becoming a STEM-certified teacher is straightforward. While in college, taking STEM classes to specialize in this area is generally enough. STEM-specific certification courses are available if you have already completed your teaching degree and want to re-specialize.
As a STEM-certified teacher, you will typically spend most of your time teaching, mentoring, and interacting with students. In primary schools, classes are often generalized. However, secondary and postsecondary STEM teachers usually specialize in one aspect of STEM, such as chemistry, computer science, or biology.
Typical duties of a STEM-certified teacher may include:
A good STEM-certified teacher is someone who:
To become a STEM-certified teacher, you can use one of two career pathways that are generally equally effective. You can receive your bachelor’s degree (or higher) in a STEM-related field, such as chemistry or computer science, and then study to obtain a teaching certification. Or you can receive a bachelor’s degree in teaching and then complete a STEM certification course or degree.
Salaries for STEM teachers nationwide typically fall in the range of $44,242 to $52,000. However, those working in higher education generally receive greater compensation than those in primary schools. Location may also be a factor, with positions in some states paying more than those in others.
Here’s a snapshot of the average annual salaries for STEM-certified teachers:
The outlook for STEM-certified teachers is excellent, with reliable sources stating a deficit of around 250,000 qualified professionals, as reported in 2021. This makes getting a job easier and, in some places, allows for greater bargaining power to demand higher pay or better benefits.
It may be easier to find a STEM teacher job in larger cities or population hubs, especially those with nearby universities or community colleges. STEM teachers living in rural areas or far from postsecondary institutions may still find it challenging to gain employment.
Many STEM-certified teachers will remain in their current roles throughout their careers. However, finding a better-paying position, receiving raises, or negotiating better benefits packages are all ways you can advance.
The most important things for STEM-certified teachers are staying up to date on the latest guidelines and news and increasing their experience. However, those hoping to work in higher education may find it helpful to pursue their master’s or doctoral degrees in a relevant field.
Several professional associations and organizations support the careers of STEM-certified teachers: