Choosing Between the STEM vs Non-STEM Strands in Senior High School

choosing STEM strand

Knowing the difference between the STEM vs non-STEM strands is essential when choosing which path to take in senior high school. This challenging decision will significantly impact any future career opportunities so you want to do your due diligence and research as much as you can before committing to one strand.

With that in mind, among the popular choices in senior high school academic tracks to pursue is the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) strand­­––which focuses on developing your skills and knowledge in these fields.

In this article, we’re going to be exploring more about the STEM strand, its difference from the other strands, and its advantages.


The STEM Strand: What Is It?

The STEM strand is a senior high school program that focuses on your skills and knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It’s designed to provide you with the necessary skills to pursue careers in highly demanded fields like Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics.

While you will tackle some general classes like Communication, Philosophy, and Entrepreneurship classes in this track, most of the classes you will encounter are geared toward Math and Science. An example of the classes you might encounter from OEd SHS’s curriculum are:

  • Earth Science
  • General Mathematics
  • Calculus
  • Statistics and Probability
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biology
  • General Physics

As you may have noticed, the classes focus on introductory topics for Math and branches of Science, which are essential and often prerequisites in collegiate courses. With the classes in STEM’s curriculum, you will learn how to apply their concepts to real-world technical issues through hands-on projects, research, and experimentation.

Now, if you’re wondering which specific occupations are available for you after the senior high school program and after tertiary-level studies, here’s a list of jobs in the STEM strand:

  • Aviation (Pilot)
  • Architect
  • Biologist
  • Chemist
  • Engineer (Industrial, Chemical, Mechanical, Marine)
  • Medicine (Dentist, Doctor)

Most of these career paths rely heavily on your skills in technical classes which is why the STEM strand focuses on these relevant topics in their curriculum.

Non-STEM Strands: What Are They?

Now that you know all about the STEM strand, let’s talk about the other strands available.

  • Accountancy, Business, and Management (ABM) strand: This strand focuses more on the business fields or the business side of the industry. This track offers in-depth classes regarding management that will be beneficial to careers as an Entrepreneur, Financial Officer, or Business Administrator.
  • Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) strand: This strand is ideal if you want to pursue careers in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Liberal Arts. A great example of this is a career in politics. You can even further your studies in a career in law if that’s what you aim to pursue.
  • General Academic Strand (GAS): This academic track offers a broader range of classes that tackles subjects from all the other strands. This is typically what undecided students take so that they can dabble in a different range of courses which may eventually influence their decision in choosing a major in college.
  • Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (TVL) strand: This strand is perfect for those who want to start working immediately after senior high school. Graduates from this strand will receive certifications backed by TESDA like the Certificate of Competency and National Certifications that will give them the authority to work.

As for OEd Senior High School’s TVL program, they offer certifications specifically for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with specializations in computer programming. With their curriculum, you can choose to pursue collegiate-level studies or start a career either as a Data Encoder, Programmer, Web Developer, or any other occupation of the like.

With these other strands in senior high school, you can aim for any type of career you want to take in the future.

The Advantages of STEM Over Other Strands

Choosing the right SHS track can be a daunting decision where there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The right path ultimately depends on your interests, goals, and strengths so learning how to choose between the STEM strand over other strands depends entirely on you and your preferences.

While that may be, if you are leaning towards the STEM strand, there are key differences between the STEM vs. Non-STEM strands and they lie in the strand’s advantages.

1. High-Demand and Lucrative Careers

One of the more significant advantages of the STEM strand is that it prepares you for high-demand careers like Engineering and Science.

In today’s digital age, the investment in careers in technological innovation and advancement is higher. You can see proof of this as the demand for engineers increases as the country needs approximately 1.8 million engineers in different sectors by 2025.

And in terms of salary with mechanical engineers specifically, you can earn up to ₱48,600 monthly in the Philippines and $95,300 annual salary in the U.S.

2. Focus on Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

As the STEM curriculum focuses on various subjects in Math and Science, it teaches you to approach problems logically. You will be encouraged to break them out into smaller parts and find out solutions through experimentation and data analysis.

Learning about how things are made and how they perform will give you the ability to solve complex problems by coming up with innovative solutions. These skills will come in handy if you decide to pursue a career that requires problem-solving and critical thinking.

3. Hands-On Learning and Real-World Applications

Complementary to the previous benefit of taking the STEM strand, this track will prepare you for real-world applications through hands-on learning.

A basic example of this is learning the ins and outs of how a motorized vehicle works. With the knowledge you gain from how they function, you may have a better understanding of what might be wrong with your car if it ever breaks down.

This is the type of technical real-world application you can get from the STEM strand. Of course, senior high school will teach you only the basics of this, but eventually through further learning, you will have more in-depth knowledge of how things work.

4. Opportunities for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

STEM education can expose you to cutting-edge technologies and trends that you can use to identify gaps and opportunities in the market. While most of the previous examples talked about Engineering, the critical thinking skill you will gain is not limited to only that field of study.

You can also apply the learnings you get into business and apply your technical knowledge in providing solutions for companies or organizations. It can be used for business development through innovative techniques and your skills in problem-solving.

Ultimately, the skills you gain from the STEM strand can help you with the more technical aspects of life. And if you think your brain is wired to think more logically, this is a great basis as to why you should choose the STEM strand.

Choosing OEd Senior High School for Further Education

shs student

Now that you know why choosing the STEM strand is ideal for you, consider pursuing your education with us!

Here at OEd Senior High School, we encourage online learning that you can do in the comforts of your home while continuing to receive high-quality education. We pride ourselves as one of the best schools in the Philippines offering online education with whom you can partner with to jumpstart your careers.

Senior high school is your steppingstone into future success and with us, you will be taught by professionals that will guide and hone your skills for growth and development.

Visit our website today to learn more about us or get in touch with us to learn more about our programs!