Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

About This Cluster

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workers do scientific research in laboratories or the field. Others plan or design products and systems. Or, you might support scientists, mathematicians, or engineers as they do their work.

For example, you might oversee the construction of roads, develop systems to prevent diseases, or help engineers do research and read blueprints.

Skills and Interests

Skill Skill Description
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Learning Strategies Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Systems Analysis Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Systems Evaluation Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
Interest Interest Description
Investigative Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Conventional Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Artistic Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.


Nearly all of the occupations in this cluster typically require a bachelor’s or higher degree for entry. But specific designations also include, for example, an associate’s degree for occupations such as social science research assistants.

Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida BOCES:

St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES:

Local College / University Majors:


Earnings and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 2 million jobs are assigned to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics cluster. Median annual wages for these occupations ranged from $38,310 for social science research assistants to $132,320 for petroleum engineers.

More than half of the projected job openings in occupations assigned to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics cluster are in the engineering and technology pathway. The occupation expected to have the most job openings in the cluster is mechanical engineers.