5 Highest Paying STEM Jobs for College Grads

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jul 11, 2018

Jul 11, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

It's a rough economy for people of all career levels, but it's especially tough for people new to the workforce.

Young graduates and millennials have to deal with a particularly grim economy. Low wages and a hyper-competitive job market have made economic growth difficult for young people.

If you're a STEM college grad you may be in luck. Unlike other fields, there's a high demand for specialized STEM graduates.

If you're considering studying STEM but want to learn more about career opportunities, you've come to the right place. We're going to tell you about the highest paying STEM jobs you should be looking for.

The Best Highest Paying STEM Jobs

Jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math are in high demand. Whether you specialize in cybersecurity and software or want to do engineering at an environmental science lab, you're bound to find work.

STEM jobs may be tough, but they're also rewarding. If you excel at STEM subjects, you could find yourself very happy in a STEM career.

Aside from satisfaction, STEM jobs tend to pay exceptionally well. STEM jobs require specialized skills that can't easily be taught.

If anything, it can be difficult to find STEM jobs that don't pay well. But if you're considering getting into the STEM field for money, consider going down any of these career paths.

Petroleum Engineers

Projected earnings: upwards to $176,300

Alternative energies may be popular, but there will always be a need for petroleum.

Petroleum engineers help companies locate natural reservoirs of petroleum deposits. Along with a team of specialists, they work together to develop effective and cost-efficient methods of petroleum recovery.

The term "engineer" is misleading in this job title. If you want to excel in this career path, you'll need to know a lot about chemistry, geology, and mathematics.

You'll typically come across three types of specialized petroleum engineers that focus on different parts of the drilling process.

Reservoir engineers will monitor geological formations and develop the best method for extraction.

People that love working with computers may want to consider becoming drilling engineers. They create computer-simulated models of formations and equipment so extraction methods can be tested.

Production engineers help manage machinery and production costs. Mathematics will come in handy here, but so will a deep familiarity with machinery and the drilling process.

Chemical Engineering

Projected Earnings: upwards to $116,700

If you're interested in top paying STEM jobs that leaves you open to a variety of industries, study chemical engineering.

Chemical engineers are indispensable parts of many modern industries. Energy, water treatment, plastics, and even the food industry all need chemical engineers.

There are a variety of industries that need chemical engineers, but the pharmaceuticals and healthcare industry may need the most help.

The pharmaceuticals industry is booming. If new developments are expected to come out, there will need to be plenty of chemical engineers working around the clock.

Computer Science Engineers

Projected Earnings: upwards to $112,600

Computer science and engineering bring together two our of the four STEM letters. It's a popular career path for comp sci and engineering majors alike.

If you decide to be a computer science engineer, don't be surprised if you end up having "software engineer" as a job title.

Overall, computer science engineers are responsible for the development, testing, and evaluating of software.

Some people that go into this field make new operating systems or business applications like Microsoft Office. Others may go towards an entertainment app and go towards games and apps.

It's also possible to go down this path and become a high-level specialist in technical support. Instead of developing software, you may help keep together a variety of complex computer software systems.

You could end up working in a high-level research driven laboratory, or you could work for a company and have a typical 9-5 schedule. The possibilities are wide open.

Materials Science And Engineering

Projected Earnings: upwards to $109,100

Have you ever used a new, borderline revolutionary product and wondered how someone came up with it? If you have an active imagination and love to test new things, you could excel in materials and science engineering.

Materials engineers handle the development and testing of new materials.

These materials can be used to create a wide range of products. Your new material could help create temperature resistant clothing, long-lasting cosmetics, or powerful computer chips.

You'll work with nearly every material imaginable. Metals, plastics, composites, and everything in between will be a part of your day to day work.

If you could see yourself going down this career path, take plenty of mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering classes. You'll need to be well educated in all disciplines if you want to excel in the field.

You may find yourself working in an office for a company on a specific project or spend your days in a government research lab. The possibilities are endless in the field

Statician

Projected Earnings: upwards to $103,100

If you're a numbers person, specializing in statistics can lead you down a very lucrative career path.

Statisticians use a variety of mathematical techniques to analyze large amounts of data.

It's important to note that you don't have to be a math genius to excel in a statistics-based job. Analyzing and sorting data requires computer skills as well as math skills.

Because they work with such large volumes of data, many statisticians choose to specialize in a particular industry or topic where they can become an expert at working with one type of data.

Plenty of industries could benefit from the help of a statistician, but there are certain ones that have a high need for them.

A lot of government agencies employ statisticians. You could help figure our population demographics, tax rates, or other important information.

Healthcare and manufacturing also have a high need of staicians. Whether they need help with quality control for medicine or goods, statisticians are always in need.

Next Step: IT

Now that you've read about some of the highest paying STEM jobs you can have, take some time to look into similar career paths.

If you're interested in the "T" of STEM, consider a career in IT. Plenty of businesses need dependable IT support, and it's a career path with room for professional and financial growth.

Read our post about IT careers. It'll tell you everything you need to know to get started in the industry after graduation.