Colleges Pushing For Increase In Students With Science And Engineering Degrees

Some states are faring better than others when it comes to engineering and science degrees. The US Census Bureau recently released information from an annual survey that for the first time included information about the types of college and university degrees residents on a state by state basis had obtained. The Census Bureau information shows that states such as New Jersey are ahead of the national average in engineering and science degree-holders, while states such as Ohio are behind.

President Barack Obama in 2009 established what's known as an "Educate to Innovate" campaign that encourages studies in science, technology, engineering and math. The subjects are key to the innovation that can keep the country an economic leader, an announcement on the White House website notes. The US Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey for 2009 included a new question that asked bachelor's degree-holders what their major area of study was.

Of an estimated 56.3 million people ages 25 and older with bachelors degrees at minimum, 36.4 percent held at least one science and engineering degree, according to the Census Bureau website. In states such as North Dakota and Mississippi, 28 percent or less of all bachelor's degree-holders older than 24 had obtained engineering and science degrees. Washington, D.C., at 51 percent, boasted the highest percentage of residents in this category with engineering and science degrees.

The Dayton Daily News and reported on the below and above average rankings in Ohio and New Jersey respectively. In Ohio, some 31 percent of the state's 1.9 million degree holders ages 25-plus had obtained engineering and science degrees, the Dayton Daily News article noted. In New Jersey, engineering and science degrees accounted for 37.4 percent of the degrees held by the state's 2 million-plus degree-holders older than 24, according to the article.

Students have a variety of subject areas in which they can specialize when pursuing engineering and science degrees. In engineering alone, students can study toward becoming anything from civil engineers who plan, design and build projects such as airports, bridges, government structures and water treatment facilities to biomedical engineers who develop health products and systems such as MRIs and automatic insulin injectors. Graduates with engineering degrees in 2009 commanded most of the top entry level salaries, information from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Working toward degrees in science, students might study geology and hydrology, where they could search for natural resources such as in-ground drinking water supplies or petroleum, or environmental science, where they might work to clean up the environment.

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