Exploring STEM Careers In Homeschool
Disclaimer: I am so excited to share this STEM careers post with you. It is sponsored by Plasma Games. This is a new company with the goal of instilling passion for STEM in your kids through high quality video games. Their first release, a chemistry game called Sci-Ops:Global Defense, is launching soon.
As homeschool parents, our main goal from the start is to give our children the best education we can. We seek out the best curriculum and resources. We sign them up for classes to expand their learning. We even become field trip specialists driving all over creation to off-the-beaten path destinations just to expand our children’s horizons.
Have you ever thought about it? Are we giving our children a good education because it’s a good thing to do? What is our goal?
As my daughter neared high school, I realized that my role as a homeschool parent was more than being an educator. She started talking about graduation and life after homeschool even before I did. That was a pivotal moment.
That’s when I knew I needed to start thinking about building on that educational foundation we had laid and to begin planning for the future — her future. My new role as guidance counselor had begun.
You see, our job as homeschool parents is not simply to give a good education, but to prepare our children for the future after they leave our homes. This means setting them on a path toward careers that they will not only find exciting and fulfilling, but will allow them to earn a good living to support their families.
As homeschool parents, we know our children’s interests and strengths better than anyone. We can use that to guide them to explore careers within those parameters. When we look at the world around us and at the future economy, one career path stands out to me – and not just because I am a science geek.
STEM Career Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports that the overall employment rate in the United States will increase 7.4% from 2016 through 2026. In that same time frame STEM jobs will increase 10.8%. What is even more interesting about this is that the median wage for non-STEM jobs will be around $37,000 a year while STEM careers average around $84,000 a year.
That’s pretty significant.
In case you were wondering, the top paying college majors right now are all STEM majors. According to a longitudinal study out of Georgetown University, Chemistry majors make up the top-5 highest paying college majors over a career, and Physics majors come in right behind them in 6-10th place.
Today’s technology-driven world must be maintained and advanced by people with STEM skills. We see this in areas like the emerging AI technologies, manufacturing, accounting, healthcare, and entertainment. The truth is most modern careers require STEM skills.
The Truth About STEM Careers
Before you think that your child needs to get their PhD in chemistry or physics and spend their life in a lab coat (which actually sounds pretty cool to some of us), consider this: STEM careers are found in a multitude of fields and education levels. In fact, there are many in-demand STEM careers that only require a high school diploma or associate’s degree. Get a college degree in a STEM field and the options are endless.
STEM careers are not always labeled scientist, engineer, or mathematician. Some are simply jobs that are based in STEM principles and skill sets, have been transformed by technology, or address the impact that science and technology are having on every facet of society. Often, these careers are found in industries we don’t consider science related. Here’s a good example.
Consider your child who loves music. Instead of sending them to college to study music and try to earn a living as a musician when they graduate, steer them toward music and sound engineering. This is a growing STEM field commanding above average wages. Your child will still be growing as a musician and studying within their sphere of interest, but will also be gaining related technical skills in an exciting, in-demand field with much better career prospects.
Another great example comes from a woman I met a few years ago. She got a business degree and was working an office job she found very boring. Her real passion was fashion and cosmetics. She got an idea for a lip gloss that would fit current consumer and fashion trends, but no one was creating it because it was a little out of the box. She drew on her high school chemistry experience and problem solving skills and created the product herself. When she marketed it to large cosmetics company, the company not only bought the rights to the product, but hired her as a product developer – a STEM-based position.
The moral of the story is that STEM careers are for everyone and are everywhere! Some students love STEM subjects like chemistry and physics, while other students have interests in non-STEM areas. No matter what your student’s interest or passion there are related STEM careers available for them.
The key is to learn more about these careers.
How To Research STEM Career Options
Over the past couple of months, I have shared a fantastic way to get your kids excited about STEM subjects, especially chemistry – Plasma Games. Plasma Games’s new release Sci-Ops:Global Defense is a high quality video game just like the ones your kids are already playing on their Xbox, except this game actually teaches high school level chemistry!!
Plasma Games uses the appeal of video games and real world applications to present chemistry in an engaging way that makes sense to players. The real world approach of Plasma Games also allows students to explore STEM careers.
In Sci-Ops:Global Defense, players also save all types of scientists and engineers from the bad guys. When they do, players learn things about the STEM professionals such as what got them interested in their fields, where they went to college, what their career paths looked like, salary information, and how they use their STEM skills to make an impact.
As players play the game, they learn what types of scientists and engineers specialize in what application. As they use that technology in the game and begin to understand the concepts behind it, players start to see themselves as a scientist or engineer. They get excited about working with technology in real life. Research has shown that Plasma Games actually increases student motivation and interest in pursuing a STEM career.
For example, players will learn about ideal gas laws as they gain and equip boots that increase their mobility in the game. Each boot design uses different technologies to create thrust or force to move the player characters. If they find application of those laws interesting, they can learn from the game what careers utilize that knowledge and skill, for what purpose, and how someone with those skills can give back to their community or have an impact on a global scale.
In the case of ideal gas laws, students find they may want to consider a career working on jet engines. They may choose a career making travel faster and safer. Students will know from playing Plasma Games that they should major in aerospace engineering at a school like Embry-Riddle or Georgia Tech. And, they will learn that they can expect to start making around $70,000 per year out of college. This can quickly move up to around $200,000 per year if they follow certain in-demand career paths.
Each STEM professional in the game has a different story, education level, and career path. There will be one that your student gets excited about and they will want to learn more. The scientist and engineer’s profiles also highlight the opportunities to travel and work in the field, as well as the lifestyles of the characters. This builds a rounded, personal and enticing view of the lives of STEM professionals.
With Plasma Games, students learn more than just career facts on a spreadsheet. Interactions with the Plasma Games characters give them a more complete picture from a source that is fun, exciting and aligned to their science curriculum!
What a fun, engaging way to explore in-demand STEM careers! Plasma Games is a huge help to the guidance counselor part of the homeschool parent!
Try Plasma Games
Do you want your kids to get excited about STEM? Looking for a way to get your kids to better understand concepts they are covering in their high school chemistry curriculum? Are you looking for ways to expose your students to in-demand technologies, college majors and careers? Are you just looking for a way to make teaching high school chemistry less painful?
Try Sci-Ops: Global Defense from Plasma Games!
Connect with Plasma Games on social media to learn more about them and to be the first to know about future developments.