UTSA Urban Education Institute study finds STEM-related careers ‘pay exceedingly well’

San Antonio – Does a higher education degree lead to better pay?

A recent study by the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Urban Education Institute, led by director Mike Villarreal, says, yes, an education still helps people get paid more.

“What we discovered is -- sure enough, as a student’s educational attainment increases, so do their earnings,” Villarreal said.

Your area of study matters when it comes to how much you’ll end up earning in the long run.

“STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields and also majors that are career-oriented, specifically legal studies, business construction, science -- these fields pay exceedingly well,” Villarreal said the study showed.

He said the study is important for the community as families help guide their children to a field that will help them achieve maximum earning potential and possibly reduce debt. It also matters for educators to evaluate how they direct students into fields or certificates as they continue their education.

“We need to make sure that STEM-based skills are integrated into all fields of study,” Villarreal explained.

Jocelin Boedeker, a STEM educator at Kallison Elementary School, guides kinder through 5th-grade students on the basics of STEM exploring, creating and failing.

“It’s all constructive play, and it’s purposeful play,” Boedeker said.

The pilot program was launched 3-years ago. Boedeker said she’s already seeing improvements in how children problem-solve and collaborate.

“Their mindset has changed. When it doesn’t work, it’s, ‘I haven’t gotten it yet.’ So it’s a big growth mindset,” Boedeker said.

When children share ideas in her class, Boedeker said they’re building on foundations and improving ideas to create something better. She said parents could help build on the STEM growth at home by simply playing with their kids.

“Instead of using your device as a babysitter -- but really just have it be more geared towards apps that are educational, that are coding things that are gearing them for the future,” Boedeker said.

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About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.