The career outlook for science education remains bright for the foreseeable future. Science, technology, engineering, and math, collectively referred to as STEM, are getting a big push from various initiatives to improve students’ engagement in this field. Academic achievement in STEM serves as one of the benchmarks for gauging the college preparedness of students and the academic rigor of the schools’ curriculum. Enhancing achievement while increasing students’ interest in the STEM field is a priority as many of the top careers in the modern economy are in this field.
Role of Science Education
Student success in science courses is influenced by early engagement with the basic concepts. Access to high-quality instruction, equipment, and other experiences supporting science education play a part in developing students’ love for learning and interest in these subjects. Science literacy is a critical skill that children need to develop to survive and thrive in a technology-driven, knowledge-based society. Science education aims to teach students how to explore, think, learn, solve problems and form their own fact-based decisions. It is crucial for everyone to have a working knowledge of math and science, especially in a technologically advanced world.
Science is a core subject in school because it is relevant to the lives of everyone. The knowledge gained is universally applicable to other aspects, and these are important lifelong skills that will help anyone generate new ideas, make informed decisions and understand the evidence. Science education teaches technological literacy, numeracy, and evidence-based analysis, all of which are key skills regardless of the career that one chooses to pursue.
Preparing for a Career in Science Education
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for anyone who aspires to teach in the elementary, middle, or high school setting. One’s career track options include focusing on a bachelor’s in education to master’s, completing a degree as a science major, taking the teacher preparation courses as a separate program, or committing to a dedicated science education program. Internship in a student-teacher program that provides exposure to the actual job that you hope to pursue after graduation will highlight strengths and interests that will help define career choices more specifically. Graduates will have to complete the testing and credentialing requirements needed to obtain a teaching license or certificate.
There is a high demand for professionals who can teach science courses, so some states and school districts provide alternative pathways to teacher credentialing for science majors. Under these programs, teachers are given time to complete their teaching credentials while employed with the district.
Career Outlook in Science Education
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools will grow by about 8 percent in the 10-year period from 2016 to 2026, with teacher shortages in this field becoming critical in some areas. This bodes well for anyone aspiring for a career as a science educator. With graduate and postgraduate degrees and more experience, one can expect to advance to positions of greater responsibility, including teaching positions at post-secondary schools, research facilities, and nonprofit organizations with extension programs.
To optimize the opportunities in this field, science educators should pursue ongoing professional development, leadership opportunities and stay up-to-date on developments relevant to STEM. The career outlook in science education will remain solid especially for those who make the effort to hone their skills and continue to add to their credentials.