Choosing electives and what YOU want to learn about is an exciting time and can be a lot of fun. It’s also a clever way to try out areas you might want to study after school.
And if you’re into STEM? Well, the good news is that a bunch of non-STEM electives work really well with science, tech, engineering and maths when thinking about your future career. We call this your STEM + X, where ‘X’ is your passion. Take a look at some of the electives and cool STEM careers you could kickstart with a little help from PDHPE, Geography, Ancient History, Business Studies, Music and Food Technology!
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)
If you’re all about that health or sport life, you’re in luck! By adding science to your passion, you could become an exercise physiologist. These guys are pros when it comes to health, fitness and understanding the effects and benefits of exercise. They use their extensive knowledge of the human body to come up with exercise programs that assist in managing pain, injuries, disease and disabilities.
Is maths more your jam? Combine sport with maths and become a sports statistician! They analyse results from matches and events, then use this data to make predictions about future games. They also do a lot of record keeping, and conduct statistical analysis on team and player performance.
You could also be a sports engineer. They solve problems and improve sporting performance using maths and physics. This includes designing new equipment (or enhancing old equipment to improve usability), ensuring safety requirements and designing facilities.
Do you dream of uncovering ancient ruins or exploring the tombs at the Valley of the Kings? Sounds like you’re an Ancient History buff! This subject links up nicely with archaeology. An archaeologist studies the origin, development and behaviour of human societies, both past and present. They do this through setting up excavation projects (or digs) and analysing artefacts and data from the field to help answer research questions.
Skills you learn in Ancient History could also set you up to become a data scientist. Understanding how to process huge amounts of information is an analytical process, just like delving into theories of ancient cultures. A data scientist provides companies with info that will help them make smart and informed business decisions! They also hunt down numbers to uncover new insights, predict trends and understand complex consumer behaviours – so your maths game needs to be sharp.
Geography is a gem of a subject that helps you understand how Earth’s physical systems work and how this affects our everyday lives. If you’re acing Geography at school, you might enjoy being a climatologist. They study weather patterns to get info on the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as collect and analyse ice, soil, water, air and plants, and work at place likes the Bureau of Meteorology.
There’s a whole menu of food careers to explore and a good place to start working out what you like and where you want to go in this area is by studying Food Technology at school.
You can mix your love of food with science to build your very own food science career as a…
Food scientist or technologist – they develop new food products, improves existing ones, and sets standards for producing, packaging and marketing food. Essentially, they are responsible for the safety and quality of food that thousands of people eat every day.
Public health nutritionist – they are the experts in diet, nutrition and disease prevention. They work to improve the health of a target group or population by developing and managing nutrition and food policy and programs.
Food marketer – they do stacks of research into consumer wants and needs, plus consumption patterns. Once they have this data, they then work with manufacturers to see if new foods need to be developed, or if modifications to existing food products should occur. They also consider things like pricing and promotions, as well as seasonality and the manufacturing process. Their goal? To make sure their food products are a success.
… just to name a few!
Music + engineering is such a cool way to combine creativity and logic. If this sounds like music to your ears (sorry), you could work towards becoming an audio engineer. They use equipment to record, synchronise, mix and reproduce music, voices or sound effects. You could find yourself working with singers and bands, on movie sets or in gaming studios!
Take your business smarts, add a dash of science and you could be a business-savvy scientist! If you’ve got an entrepreneurial streak, this is an amazing STEM study and career path for you to jump on. As an entrepreneur, you could commercialise your bright ideas, discoveries and inventions.
You could also apply your business brain to tech and becoming a computer scientist. Lots of start-ups rely on computer scientists to solve problems, build digital infrastructure and systems, and create apps and websites. If you’ve got skills in both areas, you’ll definitely set yourself apart.
Wondering what electives to take in Year 11 and 12? Check out 5 things you need to know about choosing electives
Author: Louise Meers
Louise is the production editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.