The Hottest, Highest-Paying STEM Careers

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STEM careers are often considered the jobs of the future, encompassing the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. And, quite simply, these career fields can be rather lucrative.

Nov. 8 celebrates STEM Day. In honor of the holiday, here’s a look at 15 of the highest-paying STEM jobs, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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15. Web Developer

Median weekly earnings: $1,249

Web developers kick off this list of the highest-paying STEM jobs, with median pay in 2015 reaching $64,970, or $31.23 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field is fast-growing too, with expected job growth of 27 percent between 2014 and 2024.

Why the high demand? A simple answer is web developers build websites — but their work involves much more. Individuals in this field test applications, create content, code and manage technical aspects of a website.

Depending on the work environment, educational requirements vary, from a high school diploma to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. If you’re interested in becoming a project manager, aim for a bachelor’s. For the best employment opportunities, know a range of programming languages, too.

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14. Statistician

Median weekly earnings: $1,540

Similar to mathematicians, statisticians collect and analyze data to solve problems in a variety of fields. They help organizations make informed decisions and oftentimes work in business, engineering or healthcare. The field is expected to grow 34 percent by 2024.

Although a bachelor’s degree is adequate for some entry-level positions, a master’s degree in statistics, mathematics or a related field is highly recommended. Taking some computer programming courses can be beneficial for your career, too.

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13. Financial Analyst

Median weekly earnings: $1,544

Financial analysts help individuals and businesses select investments. These professionals evaluate finances, study trends and review investment prospects — and it’s among the highest-paying jobs for men.

A bachelor’s degree is required for most positions. Accounting, economics, finance or other math-related degrees are preferred. For financial analyst positions, you likely won’t need to pick up any licenses, as many employers will sponsor your continued education.

To stand apart from other candidates, look to certification programs, such as from the CFA Institute. For advanced roles, consider a master’s in business administration or finance.

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12. Database Administrator

Median weekly earnings: $1,571

Database administrators help store, organize and protect sensitive data, such as customer information. In this role, you’ll also migrate, backup and restore data, and create and oversee administrator databases.

In this field, a bachelor’s degree in management information systems or similar concentrations is expected. The larger the databases you’ll oversee, the greater the job requirements. So, expect some roles to require a master’s degree. Certifications might also be required, depending on the company.

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11. Mechanical Engineer

Median weekly earnings: $1,608

Have you ever taken something apart to see how it works — or perhaps make it better? That curiosity and analytical thinking are key traits of a mechanical engineer. Whether it’s problem solving, designing or redesigning, mechanical engineers work to improve devices.

To get started in this career path, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology is needed. Employers prefer hiring candidates who studied at accredited programs, too. Schooling through an accredited program is often a requirement to become a licensed professional engineer.

To advance in the field, look to earning a graduate degree in engineering or business administration. To work up to a faculty position, you’ll need a Ph.D.

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10. Computer Systems Analyst

Median weekly earnings: $1,650

Computer systems analysts marry business and IT technology. By understanding how a business functions, an analyst will determine the best technologies for the organization to operate more efficiently. For instance, they may research the latest technologies and prepare an analysis of cost and benefit.

Employees generally have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, or a related field. Information sciences is another major to consider if you want a career in computer systems analysis.

In order to advance, you’ll want to consider a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in information systems. If you’re after more technical duties, a master’s degree in computer science is a good choice. To stay ahead of the curve, you’ll take courses throughout your career to keep up with the latest developments in technology.

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9. Biomedical Engineer

Median weekly earnings: $1,658

If you’re after a cutting-edge STEM career, pursuing a biomedical engineering career is a solid choice. Biomedical engineers are the creative minds behind important innovations in the healthcare field, as they design computer systems, software and other products.

A bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering or similar field is a common requirement among employers. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a different field of engineering, pick up a graduate degree in biomedical engineering.

Biomedical engineers work in a variety of industries, from manufacturing to hospital and regulatory agencies. The field is expected to grow by 23 percent between 2014 and 2024.

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8. Personal Financial Advisor

Median weekly earnings: $1,714

Personal financial advisors counsel individuals on investments, retirement plans and more. For this field, a bachelor’s degree is recommended. Look to finance, accounting, economics, math and law degrees.

Certifications are highly recommended and required for those who wish to work with investments and insurance policies. To move up the ladder, a master’s degree in finance or business administration can be advantageous.

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7. Information Security Analyst

Median weekly earnings: $1,733

Cyber attacks have given information security analysts a lot of work, creating demand. Jobs are estimated to grow 18 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the DOL.

In this field, you’ll monitor computer systems and networks, installing firewalls and other software to protect sensitive information. You’ll also make security recommendations to businesses.

A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is required. Some employers prefer candidates with an MBA in information systems. Further, certain jobs require specific licenses or certifications.

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6. Actuary

Median weekly earnings: $1,867

Attention to detail is a must among actuaries. In this field, you’ll use your analytical skills to minimize costs for a business or client, while earning lucrative pay. Actuaries are crucial to the insurance industry, too. They assess risks and help minimize the potential costs in taking those risks.

Actuaries typically have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics or some other analytical field. To work in certain industries, such as health insurance, you’ll need to earn certification by passing a series of exams. If you’re just starting out, expect potential employers to require you complete at least one initial actuary exam.

Related: 10 Highest-Paying Bank Jobs

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5. Software Developer

Median weekly earnings: $1,936

A lot of technology you use day to day is, in part, thanks to software developers. They create applications and software for use in a variety of fields.

Software developers commonly have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or a related field. Developers should also have strong computer-programming skills.

Keeping up to date with new tools and computer languages align you with job prospects. To move up, you’ll need strong interpersonal skills and the ability to oversee and provide clear instructions for projects.

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4. Mathematician

Median weekly earnings: $2,137

Mathematicians solve practical problems in business, engineering and other fields. They’ll analyze data and develop models to help solve complex problems.

To qualify for jobs in the field, such as with the federal government, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. As for the private industry, a master’s degree or doctorate is highly recommended.

Mathematicians have many options for career advancement, depending on what you want to do. If you want to be a school teacher, for example, you’ll need be certified. Earn a doctorate, and you can become a college or university mathematician professor.

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3. Financial Manager

Median weekly earnings: $2,269

Becoming a financial manager could be a good idea if you like managing money. A career in this field could mean overseeing the finances of a business, analyzing market trends and making financial decisions.

To land a job, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, plus work experience in business or finance. You can broaden your appeal, earn a master’s degree in business, finance or economics.

Financial managers who have a strong grasp of international finance and complicated financial documents will also do well in this field. Certification is also encouraged.

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2. Computer and Information Systems Manager

Median weekly earnings: $2,531

Offering some of the highest pay for women, IT manager roles oversee computer systems. They manage IT projects, fulfill computer-related needs and evaluate and propose solutions for technology-related problems.

A bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science field is commonly required. Although not a standard requirement, an MBA degree is common among managers. Demand is expected to grow in this field, particularly from the healthcare industry and insurance carriers.

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1. Architectural and Engineering Manager

Median weekly earnings: $2,554

Architectural and engineering managers are the highest-paying careers among STEM jobs in this list. Individuals in this field may plan and coordinate production and operations in a variety of industries, notably manufacturing and engineering services companies. Some of their responsibilities include determining equipment and staffing needs, supervising and proposing budgets.

A bachelor’s degree in architecture or an engineering-related field is the minimum educational requirement. The DOL states that many employees obtain a master’s degree in engineering, technology management, or have MBAs.

To move up into an engineering manager role, you’ll need to work in the field as an engineer or architect for a number of years. Involve yourself in complex projects to pique employers’ interest.

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