7 things to know about STEM careers

Occupations employing the largest percentages of Americans often don’t pay well, and it’s likely little surprise that fatter paychecks can be found in the seemingly harder-to-land jobs in science, technology engineering and math, the so-called STEM jobs.

The more than 8.3 million STEM jobs counted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2014 represented 6.2 percent of total U.S. employment, roughly the same as those working as lesser-paid retail salespeople or cashiers. Those two occupations combined made up nearly 6 percent of all U.S. employment, at 4.6 million and 3.4 million, respectively.

Statistics released last summer by the U.S. Census Bureau found roughly three-quarters of those with a bachelor’s degree in STEM fields are not working in those professions.

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