Global warming and other climate/energy concerns have sparked a sharp interest in many college students, leading them to pursue careers in these fields, according to an article in The Los Angeles Times.
Educators are suggesting that there will be an increasing number of jobs in this market in years to come. Educators also noted that students are pursuing science and engineering studies to fulfill these jobs.
The rising interest is so recent that most colleges have not been able to clearly document the latest numbers on students engaged in these disciplines. However, many college officials said they believe that energy/environmental concerns are one of the most interesting topics among college students.
Educators, however, are unsure if this interest will carry over into graduate programs, giving students the necessary, advanced degrees in science and engineering needed to succeed in this job market.
Also, President Barack Obama is focusing on boosting the clean energy market. Obama is building a multibillion-dollar push to create millions of jobs in the wake of environmental concerns. The President is supporting graduate students who are researching this field, in hopes to make current energy sources cheaper and more efficient.
The United States, however, is facing concerns that it might not be able to develop enough American scientists and engineers to adequately meet the demands of clean energy and other environmental concerns. Enrollment in engineering and science graduate programs has dropped five percent from 2003 through 2005, which was the last year statistics were available.
Rising countries such as China and South Korea have sharply boosted their science and engineering programs. Also, science and engineering programs have risen sharply the last 20 years; however, these programs are filled mainly with foreign students who are likely to leave the U.S. after graduation. The U.S. is hoping to retain these top, international students. However, the best markets for these fields are likely to be overseas, and students will begin careers outside the U.S.
Furthermore, the rate of retiring, qualified, American workers in this field is expected to triple in the next 10 years.
"The most critical challenge over the long-term is people and brainpower," Karen Harbert told The Los Angeles Times, executive vice president and managing director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy.
Many entrepreneurs will look to open new businesses and agencies within engineering and science disciplines to curb environmental concerns. This will create more jobs within these fields.
All of this is good news for a student who is interested in this field because the market will continue to grow and there will be a strong demand for qualified scientists and engineers.