“While STEM careers like engineering and software development are getting more well-deserved attention in recent years, it’s STEM teachers who will equip our youth with the knowledge and skills to gather and evaluate evidence, make sense of information across a wide range of fields, and solve tough problems” – William Troy, ASQ CEO
Many experts agree that science education is essential—unfortunately, there’s less consensus about the value of education as a career. Although 90% of parents would encourage their children to pursue a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career, 87% say they would be concerned if their child decided to pursue a career as a K-12 STEM teacher, according to an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of ASQ in January. The survey was fielded to 644 parents of children under 18 living in the household.
Only 9% of parents would encourage their children to pursue STEM teaching as a career, according to the survey. The top three careers they would desire their children to pursue include:
• Engineering – 50%
• Doctor – 41%
• Computer/IT analyst – 27%
In a separate survey conducted by ASQ, K-12 educators indicated which STEM carrier they would encourage their own children to pursue:
• Engineering – 74%
• Scientist – 44%
• Computer/IT analyst – 33%
• STEM Teacher – 29%
Why are parents and educators so hesitant to encourage their children to pursue a STEM teaching career? Pay. According to the Harris survey of parents:
• 70% of parents and 77% of educators polled by ASQ worry their child may not make enough money as a teacher.
• 69% of parents and 82% of educators are concerned that STEM teachers may not be compensated enough for their heavy workloads.
• 65% of parents say that a STEM teaching career may not be worth the cost of a college degree.
• 67% of educators say that STEM teaching positions may not offer a path for career advancement.
Financial incentives, such as higher salaries, career growth opportunities, and college scholarships for STEM careers, would make STEM teaching more attractive to parents and educators.