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Best Places for STEM Graduates

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Best Places for STEM Graduates

STEM jobs make up 20% of the total job market and 29% of government jobs.  Our economy’s growing dependence on STEM knowledge makes this specialty extremely valuable.  What are the best metro areas for STEM grads?

1. Is there a high demand for those with a STEM Bachelor’s degree?  We looked at the percentage of total jobs that require a STEM bachelor’s degree.  This was weighted at 50% because employment is an enormous issue for recent graduates—as of 2011, 28.6% of 18 to 24 year-olds were underemployed.

2. Are STEM workers with a Bachelor’s degree well paid? We looked at the average salary of workers in STEM jobs requiring a Bachelor’s degree or more, weighted at 30% of the total score.

3. Is the local economy doing well?  Thriving cities have low unemployment rates and high overall salaries.  We weighted these factors at 20% of the total score.

Check out our cost of living calculator for more city information!

Top Ten Metro Areas for STEM Graduates

 1.    San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

The San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara metro area is a hub for STEM jobs in a variety of industries. As a major section of the Silicon Valley, the metro area is the headquarters for large technology employers like Intel, NetApp and Adobe Systems. The area also has high volumes of jobs in the manufacturing, healthcare and information industries. Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering offers high school students the chance to develop engineering knowledge with their SEED (Spring Engineering Education Days) and One Step Ahead programs. One Step Ahead is specifically designed to support female students in the GAINS (Girls Achieving in Non-Traditional Subjects) program.

2.    Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Despite being located in the political and governmental center of the US, the Washington – Arlington – Alexandria metro area is not just home to politicians and lobbyists. Plentiful and high value jobs in biotechnology, healthcare, computer systems design, software publishing, and science and technical consulting make it one of the best high-tech areas in the country. Large employers include Micron Technology Virginia, Computer Sciences Corporation, George Mason University and the Marine Corps Base Quantico. George Mason University’s STEM Accelerator program is dedicated to attracting and graduating more STEM majors in addition to helping them find employment in the STEM fields.

3.    Huntsville, AL

Huntsville receives a significant amount of economic support from the presence of Redstone Arsenal, the Army missile program facility and the home of the Marshall Space Flight Center. Huntsville has strong science, technology, architecture, engineering, and computer and math sciences industries.

4.    San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA

Known for its growing tech industry, San Francisco is a hotbed of STEM jobs.  The local universities emphasize STEM as well, and UC Berkeley has clubs devoted to LGBT STEM communities and mentorship of women in STEM.  With Silicon Valley nearby and SOMA just downtown, STEM grads will find plenty of tech companies to work with, including tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Dropbox and Twitter.

5.    Trenton-Ewing, NJ

Trenton was a major manufacturing center, and the city is now home to many government jobs.  Trenton’s biggest employer is the State of New Jersey.  The Center for Excellence in STEM Education has brought together a multidisciplinary team of educators, researchers and practitioners to determine STEM curriculum and learning techniques for pre-kindergarten through grade 20.

6.    Boulder, CO

Almost 17% of Boulder’s jobs require a STEM bachelor’s degree or higher.  Boulder is one of the most educated places in the United States, and the Colorado Collaborative for Girls in STEM, funded by the National Science Foundation, encourages girls to pursue STEM careers.  CU-Boulder has done groundbreaking research in student learning and curricular assessment through their Center for STEM Learning as well.

7.    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Seattle is known for its clean technology, life sciences and healthcare industries, all of which attract STEM workers.  The city educates its youth in STEM as well—the University of Washington runs Green Energy, a STEM camp for middle schoolers.  For networking and coordination between STEM groups, Washington STEM is a great resource for holistic STEM education, both in the classroom and outside.

8.    Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH

Boston’s healthcare and research industries create a high demand for STEM expertise in the city. Massachusetts General Hospital is a top employer in the city, and the city is home to more than fifty colleges and universities, earning it the nickname “America’s College Town.”  Boston’s colleges offer plenty of programs that enrich the STEM knowledge of local kids as well.  Northeastern University runs a summer STEM program for middle school students, and MIT offers an innovative Women’s Technology Program that enrolls high school girls in a rigorous STEM summer camp.

9.    Ann Arbor, MI

With the University of Michigan as Ann Arbor’s largest employer, it’s no wonder the city has plenty to offer STEM graduates.  Ann Arbor also has thriving manufacturing, healthcare, automotive and biomedical research industries.  This high-tech area also holds programs to enrich youth growing up in Ann Arbor—the M-STEM Academy at the University of Michigan allows outstanding K-12 students to take summer classes and offers stipends, research experience and internships.

10. Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA

The Tri-Cities economy is largely based on farming, wine, healthcare and the automotive industry.  The agriculture and healthcare industries require plenty of STEM knowledge, and the Washington State STEM Education Foundation has played a large role in emphasizing STEM education for publicly educated students.

Rank Metro Area Percent of total jobs that require a STEM BA degree or higher Average salary for jobs requiring a STEM BA or higher Unemployment rate Average salary for all jobs Overall score for STEM graduates
1 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 24.10% $115,744 9.90% $69,794 97.5
2 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 19.10% $101,058 5.80% $62,670 78.6
3 Huntsville, AL 20.60% $91,873 7.60% $49,240 73.4
4 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 15.20% $104,041 9.40% $60,525 69.3
5 Trenton-Ewing, NJ 15.40% $94,547 7.70% $56,856 64.7
6 Boulder, CO 16.90% $86,883 6.20% $50,818 63.5
7 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 15.90% $89,882 8.70% $53,990 62.6
8 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 13.60% $97,307 6.60% $56,516 62.5
9 Ann Arbor, MI 16.70% $83,759 6.50% $47,198 60.4
10 Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA 14.00% $90,782 7.90% $46,797 58.8
11 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 10.90% $104,372 8.50% $55,157 57.1
12 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 13.40% $92,541 10.00% $50,039 56.7
13 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 11.20% $97,247 8.20% $57,335 56.6
14 Anchorage, AK 12.60% $90,624 6.70% $50,414 55.4
15 Rochester, MN 11.50% $96,224 5.40% $47,027 55.2
16 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 14.70% $86,700 11.10% $43,456 54.8
17 Baltimore-Towson, MD 13.10% $87,857 7.50% $50,475 54.7
18 Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO 13.40% $86,599 8.30% $49,952 54.3
19 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 11.00% $95,997 8.10% $47,267 52.9
20 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 12.20% $87,614 8.80% $52,605 52.6

357 metro areas were included in this analysis.  Data was obtained from the Brookings Institute.

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