A STEM career in 2 years – or less

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Many jobs in science, technology, engineering, math and health don’t require a Ph.D., a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree. TCC offers numerous certificate and associate degree programs that can lead to top-paying careers in the STEM-H disciplines.

In fact, half of all STEM jobs are open to those without a four-year college degree. These so-called “middle-skills” jobs – those that require more than high school but less than a bachelor’s degree – on average pay $53,000 a year, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institute.

TCC’s Regional Health Professions Center on the Virginia Beach Campus offers programs preparing students to work as physical therapy assistants, occupational health assistants, digital sonographers and respiratory therapists – all middle-skills jobs in the growing health-care field.

If you are technically inclined, you can pursue electronics technology, electronics engineering technology, computer-aided drafting and design and information systems technology, to name a few fields. While some programs lead to associate degrees, many others are certificate-based, so they can take less than two years. “They are critical to the implementation of new ideas and advise researchers on feasibility of design options, cost estimates and other practical aspects of technological development,” says the Brookings report.

There’s more good news: The report identifies Hampton Roads as one of the metropolitan areas with more than its share of these kinds of jobs, thanks largely to defense-related industries.

The Brookings report expands the definition of STEM jobs beyond what we usually think of as science and technology. You might not think that someone who works on cars is in a STEM job, but automotive technology is becoming ever more complex. Workers who install and maintain machinery are also in STEM fields. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, for example, is one of TCC’s signature programs.

If you do want to attend a four-year school, TCC’s transfer programs in science, engineering and computer science might interest you. To see the full breadth of TCC’s offerings, check out the TCC Program listing on page 12 of Career Focus. You can also explore a multitude of career options with a counselor prior to enrollment.

You really can go anywhere from TCC, and you don’t necessarily need an advanced degree to get there.

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