5 College Degrees with the Brightest Outlook

It goes without saying that the current job market is competitive. The U.S. unemployment rate right now is steady at just under 9%. That’s nearly three million people looking for jobs, good jobs, jobs for which new college graduates will also be applying. The good news is that this year, hiring for college grads is up by 19% and although the numbers are still trickling in, the overall earning for these new hires has increased 6% since 2009. The best bet for landing one of these jobs? Make yourself competitive. Arm yourself with the proper tools and credentials for the shifting job market. Get a good education. Get the right education.

For the millions of students entering college this fall or returning to their studies, the degree program selection process can be a difficult one. What it boils down to, though, is which degree will get you the job? Take a look at some college degrees that hold the most promise in today’s economy:

1. Engineering (specifically Chemical and Environmental Engineering)

Jobs in the field of energy will only increase in future years and right now chemical engineering degree holders enjoy the highest paying entry level positions. Environmental engineers can earn up to $70k a year and can see plenty of room for growth and promotion as they enhance their education and remain flexible in the workplace. The engineering industry as a whole is expected to grow 11% by 2018 presenting numerous opportunities for aspiring students.

2. Business, Accounting and Financial Services

Businesses are growing and looking for diverse ways to expand and remain competitive. The need for financial advisers has increased as businesses and individuals have found the need to become smarter with their money and financial planning. The job outlook for personal financial advisers is strong, expecting to grow 30% between now and 2018. It’s not too late to jump into this growing field, now you can earn an undergraduate business degree and even a bachelor’s in finance online through top tier institutions.

3. Education

There will always be a need for teachers. As the economy and population of the country grows, so does our need for qualified, motivated teachers at all levels. By 2018, employment of kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school teachers is expected to grow by 13% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  On average, teachers earn between $48K and $51K per year. All 50 States and the District of Columbia require public school teachers to be licensed so obtaining your proper credentials is a must. For more information, visit Certification Map to find information on how to become a teacher.

4. Nursing

582,000 nursing jobs are expected to be added by 2018. Throughout the recession, nursing jobs have remained plentiful and with this growth rate, things are not slowing down anytime soon. Specialize in a field such as pediatric care or emergency services and your career prospects will be bright. Advanced education in nursing also helps to increase prospects and earning potential, and with new online Master of Science in Nursing programs sprouting up like the one offered from Georgetown University, it has never been easier to improve your career with a degree from a top university.

5. Sociology

As our society expands so do our needs for social services and social workers, the BLS expects the social work industry to grow by 16% by 2018. There is an increasing need for qualified individuals to help aid and care for those in need of mental health services, job and family services, and basic medical services that are often overlooked. An advanced degree in social work or counseling can increase a social workers qualifications and salary, helping you land a great job doing real work that matters. Earnings for a qualified social worker tend to range however the middle fifty percent earn between $31K and $52K.

Updated July 13, 2021

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