The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2022 there will be 9 million jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) occupations. It also projects that jobs in STEM fields will grow at a rate of 10.8% between 2016 and 2026, faster than the 7.4% growth projected for all other occupations.
How Do We Meet the Need for STEM Professionals?
To fill these anticipated jobs, schools and businesses must create comprehensive plans, and then work together to implement them. Parents, teachers and communities also have a critical role: encouraging students to embrace STEM fields from an early age. Studies have found that middle school is the ideal time for a love of science and math to take root and flourish.
In December 2018, the White House released a five-year strategic plan for STEM education developed by the National Science and Technology Council Committee on STEM Education and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. There are three parts to the overall goal of this plan:
- For every American to master basic STEM concepts in order to respond to technological change
- To increase access to STEM among historically underserved students
- To encourage students to pursue STEM careers
One challenge in fulfilling this mission, however, is the lack of well-prepared STEM teachers at every grade level. NASA astronaut Bonnie Dunbar recently wrote, "Although we have many great K-12 schools in the nation, too many schools now struggle to find qualified mathematics and physics teachers. Inspiring an interest in these topics is also key to retention and success. Being excited about a particular subject matter can keep a student engaged even through the tough times."
Louisiana State University at Shreveport (LSUS) Offers a New Online Program
LSUS now offers an online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Program specifically focused on STEM. The faculty for this online MEDCI STEM program from LSUS are experienced practitioners in the four STEM disciplines and offer students first-hand insight into current trends and best practices.
This program consists of 30 credit-hours and can be completed in as few as 10 months. It offers certified or licensed educators the preparation required to qualify for add-on certification and/or endorsement. Graduates will leave with the practical skills and knowledge necessary to implement STEM-based strategies and effectively modify instructional planning. Required coursework includes methods in collecting and using school improvement data as well as using technology in the classroom. Writing, submitting and tracking effective grant proposals are also covered.
This Is a TEACH Grant Eligible Program
According to the U.S. Department of Education, "A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is different from other federal student grants because it requires you to take certain kinds of classes in order to get the grant, and then do a certain kind of job to keep the grant from turning into a loan." The LSUS online MEDCI STEM is considered a high-need program, and qualified students may receive significant TEACH Grant tuition support of up to $3,752 per award year. More information is available from the university financial aid department and the US Department of Education.
Learn more about the LSUS online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: STEM program.
Sources:Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment in STEM Occupations
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