NSF's Science Resources Statistics Division (SRS) collects information
on many aspects of the U.S. science and engineering (S&E) workforce,
including ethnicity, gender, occupational group and highest degree earned,
from high school diploma to PhD. An "InfoBrief" issued by
SRS in August examines "the occupational and demographic characteristics
of individuals who have been successful in obtaining employment in S&E
occupations with the academic credentials of an associate's degree or
a high school diploma."
"The S&E workforce of the United States depends heavily on
graduates with at least a 4-year college education; however, individuals
employed in S&E occupations with associate's degrees and high school
diplomas represent a significant portion of this workforce and account
for over one-fifth of all persons employed in U.S. science and engineering
occupations," the InfoBrief states.
SRS looked at the over four million individuals who, as of April 2003,
were participants in the S&E workforce and had at least a high school
education. Of those individuals, 7 percent reported a doctorate as the
highest level of educational attainment, 22 percent reported a master's,
48 percent reported a bachelor's, 2 percent reported a professional
degree, 17 percent reported an associate's degree, and 5 percent reported
a high school diploma.
According to the InfoBrief, a higher percentage of individuals with
less than a bachelor's degree are employed in computer and mathematical
sciences and engineering occupations than in the life sciences, physical
sciences, and social sciences. "Approximately 40 percent of all
individuals employed in computer and math science occupations and 20
percent of all individuals employed in engineering occupations have
no higher than an associate's degree," it says, while the life,
physical and social science occupational groups "have substantially
smaller proportions (10 percent or less) of individuals with less than
a bachelor's degree education."
The InfoBrief also found that "the proportion of individuals employed
in S&E occupations with less than a bachelor's degree education
is similar for men and women - slightly more than one-fifth. This ratio
does not vary widely across S&D occupations: whether employed in
science occupations or engineering occupations, women are as likely
as men to have less than a bachelor's degree education." It continues,
"The percentage of those with less than a bachelor's degree education
in all S&E occupations combined varies by race/ethnicity, ranging
from 6 percent for Asian/Pacific Islanders to 34 percent for blacks
and 37 percent for Hispanics."
This InfoBrief is entitled "More Than One-fifth of All Individuals
Employed in Science and Engineering Occupations Have Less Than a Bachelor's
Degree Education," (NSF04-333). It is available, along with other
NSF InfoBriefs, at http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/infbrief/ib.htm.