Why study science?
If you enjoy investigating the natural world or doing experiments to solve problems, you might consider an education in the sciences.
“A degree in the sciences is a great basic foundation from which to do many exciting things,” says Hildegarde Selig, PhD, an instructor in the environmental science program at the University of Phoenix Detroit Campus. She offers four reasons why this could be the path for you:
Science jobs are in demand.
Twenty percent of all jobs now require some background in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), according to a June 2013 study by the Brookings Institution. “Having a science degree can be very helpful when it’s time to look for a job,” notes Selig, who was an environmental researcher at the University of Michigan.
“Even an associate-level degree in the sciences can give you an advantage,” she adds. Fifty percent of STEM jobs … don’t require a four-year degree, Brookings reports.
You can gain transferable skills.
“Many of the aptitudes you acquire while studying the sciences translate into the business environment,” Selig notes.
“When people study disciplines such as biology or environmental science,” she adds, “they have to learn ‘concept mapping skills,’” which means figuring out how small parts fit together to make up a whole system. Concept mapping, she explains, is commonly used in business, such as when companies use a “product-to-market” flow chart to better understand their processes.
Science students also spend a lot of time solving problems. “Everything in science involves finding a workable solution to a different problem,” Selig says, noting that critical-thinking skills and the ability to solve problems are assets in the corporate world.
Niche occupations will increase.
Emerging specialty jobs that require a science background are growing because Earth’s natural resources are becoming scarce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among those occupations are environmental quality certifiers, who measure atmosphere safety, and recycling-waste scientists, who find new ways to dispose of waste.
It’s a solid foundation for further study.
Once you have a bachelor’s in science, you’re in a good position to go on to get a certificate to teach basic science. “There is a big push for teachers with [science] knowledge,” Selig says, “and in some states, if you have a science degree, you can get a teaching certificate in just 18 months.”
With the aging baby boomer population, more health care workers of all kinds also will be needed. Starting off with science is a great first step, Selig notes, because you’ll always have it under your belt if you decide to pursue a graduate degree in the future. With the ability and desire, she says, “people with a bachelor’s in science can go on to study to become a doctor, a nurse or a lab technician.”