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Top STEM Careers Pursued Through Alternative Pathways

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers are known for their innovation, dynamism, and increasingly for their flexibility in entry pathways. While many STEM careers traditionally require a college degree, there’s a growing number of roles that can be pursued through apprenticeships, certifications, or specific training programs. 

Here’s a list of some top STEM careers that often utilize these alternative pathways:

Computer Support Specialist

  • Training/Certifications: CompTIA A+, Microsoft Certified: Windows 10, Cisco Certified Technician (CCT)
  • Apprenticeships: IT support apprenticeship programs

Web Developer

  • Training/Certifications: Coding bootcamps, Certified Web Developer (CWD), Adobe Certified Expert (ACE)
  • Apprenticeships: Web development apprenticeships

Cybersecurity Analyst

  • Training/Certifications: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), CompTIA Security+
  • Apprenticeships: Cybersecurity apprenticeship programs

Network Engineer

  • Training/Certifications: Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Network+ certification
  • Apprenticeships: Network technician apprenticeships

Pharmacy Technician

  • Training/Certifications: Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT), pharmacy technician training programs
  • Apprenticeships: Pharmacy technician apprenticeships in healthcare institutions

Medical Lab Technician

  • Training/Certifications: Certified Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), Associate’s degree in medical laboratory technology
  • Apprenticeships: Clinical lab assistant apprenticeship programs

CAD Technician

  • Training/Certifications: Autodesk Certified Professional, SOLIDWORKS certifications
  • Apprenticeships: CAD drafter apprenticeship programs

Environmental Technician

  • Training/Certifications: Environmental Technician Certification, OSHA Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)
  • Apprenticeships: Environmental health and safety apprenticeships

Solar Photovoltaic Installer

  • Training/Certifications: North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Photovoltaic Associate, Electrician certifications
  • Apprenticeships: Solar installer apprenticeship programs

Biotechnology Technician

  • Training/Certifications: Biotechnician Assistant Credentialing Exam (BACE), lab technician training programs
  • Apprenticeships: Biotech laboratory assistant apprenticeship programs

It’s important to note that the specific requirements for these careers can vary greatly by region, employer, and the rapidly evolving nature of STEM fields. Additionally, some positions might require a mix of certification and on-the-job training. Always check the latest industry standards and educational pathways to ensure the best preparation for your chosen career. 

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