25 Fastest-Growing STEM Jobs in the U.S.

STEM Jobs laboratory worker
ALPA PROD / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on SmartAsset.com.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented job losses across many industries and occupations. However, STEM jobs have been less affected generally. The 2020 unemployment rates for all three STEM occupational categories were more than 3 percentage points lower than the overall rate (8.1%). Specifically, the average 2020 unemployment rates for computer and mathematical occupations, architecture and engineering occupations, and life, physical and social science occupations were just 3.4%, 3.6%, and 4.3%, respectively. Keeping in mind that these industries could offer more opportunities to find jobs and save money, SmartAsset identified the fastest-growing STEM occupations in 2021.

In this study, we looked at how long-term STEM job growth may be impacted by the pandemic and identified the fastest-growing STEM jobs in the U.S. We compared a total of 72 occupations across four metrics: percentage change in employment from 2015 to 2019, gross change in employment from 2015 to 2019, projected employment change from 2019 to 2029 and projected percentage change in employment from 2019 to 2029. For details on our data sources or how we put the information together to create our findings, check out the Data and Methodology section at the end.

This is SmartAsset’s second annual study on the fastest-growing STEM jobs in the U.S. Check out the 2020 version here.

How Will STEM Be Affected by COVID-19 Long-Term?

Career people
metamorworks / Shutterstock.com

Annually, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes 10-year growth projections for all jobs in the U.S. After publishing 2019-29 projections in the fall that did not capture the effects of the pandemic, the BLS recently issued alternate scenarios that model how jobs could change if COVID-19 continues to have either a strong impact on the economy or a moderate one. Projections from the BLS show that STEM jobs may actually grow more quickly over the next 10 years than previously projected.

According to pre-pandemic estimates, computer and mathematical occupations were expected to grow by 12.1%. In the BLS’ moderate and strong pandemic impact scenarios, computer and mathematical occupations are expected to grow by 15.4% and 16.1%, respectively. Similarly, the life, physical and social science occupations are expected to grow by 3 percentage points more in both alternate scenarios compared with initial projections.

Taking into account both moderate and strong pandemic impact scenarios, the BLS predicts that in total there will be close to 1 million more STEM jobs in 2029 than there were in 2019. For comparison, the BLS previously projected that the number of STEM jobs would have increased by about 730,400 from 2019 to 2029.

Keep reading to see the 25 fastest-growing STEM jobs for 2021.

1. Information Security Analysts

Information security analyst
leo_photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 41.3%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 36,690
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 42.1%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 55,200

2. Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists

Female lab scientist using microscope
Likoper / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 21.8%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 22,740
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 28.9%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 39,900

3. Statisticians

Statistics on a laptop
thodonal88 / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 30.9%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 9,220
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 35.4%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 15,100

4. Industrial Engineers

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 17.8%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 44,140
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 10.9%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 32,200

5. Computer User Support Specialists

Computer support
Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 10.6%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 62,270
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 8.5%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 58,500

6. Computer and Information Research Scientists

Woman looking at laptop
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 20.7%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 5,270
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 19.1%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 6,200

7. Computer Systems Analysts

Computer programmer
nd3000 / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 5.8%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 32,400
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 7.9%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 50,100

8. Epidemiologists (Tie)

Lab researcher
AimPix / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 35.7%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 1,950
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 31.0%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 2,500

8. Operations Research Analysts (Tie)

A young woman reading carefully on her laptop
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 4.0%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 3,820
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 25.0%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 26,200

10. Actuaries

Accountant
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 12.6%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 2,490
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 17.4%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 4,800

11. Computer Network Architects

antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 4.0%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 5,820
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 14.5%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 23,200

12. Biological Technicians

surachai Phurngzaka / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 9.1%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 6,630
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 9.3%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 8,200

13. Forensic Science Technicians

Eugene Lu / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 17.4%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 2,450
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 14.0%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 2,400

14. Mechanical Engineers

Materials engineer
Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 10.3%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 28,650
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 4.1%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 13,000

15. Social Science Research Assistants (Tie)

Editor
Solis Images / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 26.8%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 7,520
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 5.7%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 2,300

15. Urban and Regional Planners (Tie)

Architect
Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 8.7%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 3,080
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 11.0%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 4,400

17. Electrical Engineers

Electrical engineer
Stock-Asso / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 3.9%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 6,990
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 4.9%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 9,400

18. Civil Engineers

Engineers with drone
goodluz / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 13.0%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 35,640
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 1.2%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 3,900

19. Political Scientists

senior worker
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 53.7%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 2,100
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 6.1%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 400

20. Biochemists and Biophysicists (Tie)

sirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 1.8%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 560
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 12.1%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 4,200

20. Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists (Tie)

fizkes / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 7.3%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 7,670
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 3.1%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 5,300

22. Computer Network Support Specialists

A young woman in glasses works at a table with a smartphone, tablet and laptop computer
Artie Medvedev / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 0.5%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 860
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 6.8%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 13,200

23. Physicists

marcovarro / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 6.9%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 1,080
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 7.8%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 1,400

24. Conservation Scientists

SpeedKingz / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): 9.3%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): 1,870
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 5.1%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 1,200

25. Economists

Older female worker
Ruslan Guzov / Shutterstock.com
  • Growth Rate (2015-2019): -0.5%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2015-2019): -90
  • Growth Rate (2019-2029 Projection): 14.0%
  • Change in Number of Workers (2019-2029 Projection): 2,900

Data and Methodology

Young professional working in an office
Kzenon / Shutterstock.com

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations as including computer and mathematical, architecture and engineering, and life and physical science occupations, as well as managerial and postsecondary teaching occupations related to those functional areas and sales occupations requiring scientific or technical knowledge at the postsecondary level. For the purposes of this report, we considered only occupations falling under the first three categories.

To find which STEM jobs are growing the fastest, we compared 72 BLS-defined occupations across the following four metrics:

  • Four-year percentage change. Data comes from the BLS and is for 2015 to 2019.
  • Four-year growth in number of workers. Data comes from the BLS and is for 2015 to 2019.
  • 10-year expected percentage growth. Projections come from the BLS and are for 2019 to 2029. They account for a moderate pandemic impact.
  • 10-year expected growth in number of workers. Projections come from the BLS and are for 2019 to 2029. They account for a moderate pandemic impact.

Using the four metrics above, we ranked each occupation in every metric, giving all metrics an equal weighting. We then found each occupation’s average ranking and used the average to determine a final score. The occupation with the highest average ranking received a score of 100. The occupation with the lowest average ranking received a score of zero.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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