STEM occupations, or more specifically those that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, are growing exponentially. Kids in elementary school are being told they need to focus on their science and math skills because having a STEM degree is what they need to succeed in the modern world. What they're not being told is that focusing on STEM can serve you in more than just a science- or math-related field — the skills you learn can help you succeed in nearly any field. Let's take a closer look at how a STEM education can help you succeed in the construction industry. It Creates Problem Solvers At its core, STEM is all about solving problems, as well as training the next generation of problem solvers and critical thinkers. With the way most fields are changing, even the construction field, we can't always rely on tried-and-true solutions to problems that arise. Those solutions don't always work anymore. Current education is focused so heavily on rote learning and teaching to the test that students aren't learning how to solve even the simplest problem that might cross their path. Their focus is strictly on memorization and how to follow instructions — which serves you well right up until you graduate from high school and move on into the real world. A STEM education turns you into a problem solver. It gives you the ability to see problems as something that can be solved rather than something to blame on someone else or shove off into the corner until someone else has the time to deal with it. It Improves Advancement Opportunities As with most entry-level jobs, you don't need a whole lot of experience or education to break into the construction field. If you love working with your hands, more power to you — there's definitely nothing wrong with being a skilled construction craft professional. We will always need more of them. If you want to advance, a STEM education can help you do that — or make your way into the industry by bypassing the typical entry-level rigmarole. The E in STEM stands for engineering, after all, and there's a lot of engineering that goes into construction. You can work as a civil engineer, an architect or a blueprint maker as a graduate with a STEM degree. These construction jobs are prime for job growth, too. Career opportunities in the civil engineering field are projected to grow by up to 8 percent in the next few years, according to the BLS. It Enables You to Help Build the Future Input the words STEM construction in any search engine and you will find a great number of articles about new STEM-based construction projects around the country. The construction industry is being tapped to build the STEM facilities of the future — academies, labs and other learning environments where the next generation can learn everything they need to earn a STEM degree. This also enables you to be a good example for the next generation. All you have to do is step into a classroom to show the importance of a STEM education and that you don't have to go into the sciences if you study STEM. These educational programs are, quite literally, building the future. A STEM education, even if you don't continue into college, gives you skills like creative thinking, problem-solving and so many others that will carry you through your adult life. STEM isn't just about science and mathematics. It's about learning how to shape the world as it continues to grow and change. Those who can't or won't work toward that goal will be left behind — it's as simple as that. A STEM education will help you succeed in whatever field you choose, because it gives you the tools to build over any walls that might be standing in your way, whether those walls are literal or figurative. We can always use more rocket scientists, but you don't have to be a NASA engineer to benefit from a good STEM education.

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About NCCER

NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.