Americans have embraced post-secondary education as a reliable means to career success.  Specifically, Americans with a degree or certificate in a technology related field are qualified for some of the highest paying jobs in the growing technology job market.

America's World domination of innovative technologies and a basis for our future economic stability and growth requires more American students majoring in technology disciplines. 

While many careers with similar pay to technology jobs usually require more than 4 years of higher education, qualifications for high paying jobs in technology start with only 2-4 year degrees or a certificate in a technology program.

America's high-paying technology jobs - not filled by Americans

Based on impressive education predictions in other parts of the world, outsourcing and foreign workers traveling to the U.S. for employment on temporary visas may reduce the benefit of increased tech jobs in the U.S.  Moreover, based on American's overall college completion percentages in the United States, statistic analysis could easily indicate economic problems in the coming years due to competing countries and temporary foreign laborers who possess the education American tech jobs require.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics college enrollment is up from the fall of 2000 when enrollment was 15.3 million students.  In the fall of 2018, the current enrollment was 19.9 million and is expected to rise to 20.5 million by year 2027.  


The majority of students enrolled in 2018 were women and enrolled full-time.  6.7 million students were enrolled in 2 year colleges while 13.3 million students were enrolled in 4 year institutions.  17 million students were planning to attend undergraduate programs while 2.9 million students had plans for post-baccalaureate programs.

While the majority of enrollees in U.S. colleges and universities were under the age of 25, more than 7.6 million students as of the fall of 2018 were 25 or over. This number is impressive regarding the quest by older adults for higher education; however, the number actually peaked in 2010 when overall enrollment was at it’s highest.  More than 8.9 million adults over the age of 24 were enrolled in a college or a university. 

Given the economic downturn over the past 10 years, it could be assumed the cost to return to school and consequential reduction in household income while enrolled could be a major cause of the reduction of over 1 million adults in this bracket.


While the enrollment for secondary education is still considered strong, students struggle to complete with the same fervor.  Sadly, despite nearly 20 million students enrolled in the fall 2018, the anticipated degrees awarded are far less, at just under 3.9 million graduates.  The anticipated figures are as follows:

  • 1 million associate’s degrees
  • 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees
  • 780,000 master’s degrees
  • 182,000 doctorate’s degrees

World Competitors

While approximately 30% of Americans, 106 million, over the age of 25 have a college degree, global powerhouses like China and India also have impressive education statistics.

According to China's last census, only 9% of it's population, 126 million have 4 year degrees (BS/BA only).   That's 20 million more educated individuals than the U.S. competing worldwide for the same jobs and the number is rising.   

An article on reported, China is on an education initiative to improve it's statistics, closing the gap on America's domination of college educated citizens proportionate to the overall population. 

In doing so, they have opened an equivalent of one new university each week.  The gap is closing quickly as the predictions have indicated the percentage of graduates in China of 25-34-year-olds to increase by 300% by 2030, approximately 10x's the anticipated growth in graduates for both Europe and America.


While it could be said that the numbers are less dramatic on the basis of China's percentage of college graduates (graduates/population); the fact that an overwhelming number of college graduates in all fields of study, but particularly to STEM (academic disciplines specific to science, technology, engineering and mathematics) will have significant impact on both the U.S. Job Market and outsourcing issues that continue to decrease demand for American workers.

By 2030, China and India could be expected to make-up nearly 60% of graduates with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (disciplines specific to the advancement of world technology and integrated science) compared to only 4% of U.S. graduates.

Comparison Study (Source: The World Economic Forum)

2016 Graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

  • China 4.7 million
  • India 2.6 million
  • United States 568,000
  • Russia 561,000
  • Iran 335,000
  • Indonesia 206,000
  • Japan 195,000

Possible careers in the fields of STEM studies 

  • Electrical Engineer, Aerospace Engineer, Petroleum Engineer, Chemical Engineer, Nuclear Engineer
  • Computer Programmer, Computer System's Security, Database Engineer, Software Developer, Computer User Support Specialist, Systems Analyst
  • Statistician, Actuarial Mathematics, Mathematician, Financial Analyst, Operational Researcher, Intelligence Analyst
  • Nurse (RN, NP, CRNA), Dentist, Physician Assistant, Pharmacist, Anesthesiologist, Surgeon, General Physician/Practitioner, Medical Research Scientist, Materials Scientist, Biologist, Biomedical Engineer, Research and Development Specialist, Technical Writer, Geologist, Biotechnologist, Meteorologist, Oceanographer, Astronomer, Physicist

For more information on current incomes for S.T.E.M. jobs and varied degree levels, read our Career Challenge, Special Section in the 2020 Spring/Summer Issue of Starting Over Magazine including information on the Featured Career, Information Technology.


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