Six Hot Degrees for Booming Careers

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These degrees could prep you for careers with high job growth potential.

By Amy Chang

Looking to go back to school to prepare for a booming career?

You're in luck...there are quite a few hot degree options to choose from.

So what makes these degrees so "hot"? To find out, we asked a few career experts to weigh in.

Keep reading to learn more...

Hot Degree #1 - Business Administration

Want to pursue a degree that could lead to solid career prospects? Consider earning a bachelor's in business administration.

Hot factor: "Business administration is one of those 'staple' degrees that is consistently in need," says Dani Babb, a professor and founder of the Babb Group, an online educational consulting firm. "Whether individuals are trying to build a business or work for a company in whatever discipline they choose, a business admin degree covers the essentials."

NEXT STEP: Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program Now.

And what might those essentials be? Well, according to the College Board, an education organization that administers tests like the SAT, a business administration and management major could study subjects like marketing, business ethics and law, and financial management.

Potential career paths and job growth:*

  • Financial analyst: 23 percent
  • Survey researcher: 24 percent

Hot Degree #2 - Medical Assisting

Interested in opportunities in the medical field but don't really see yourself as a doctor or nurse? You might want to consider pursuing an associate's degree in medical assisting.

Hot factor: While most states have no formal education requirements for this gig, the U.S. Department of Labor does note that employers may prefer those with formal education.

"Medical assisting is a way for those interested in the medical field to find the area they enjoy most and then further explore it as well, creating a win-win for the caregiver/student," says Babb.

On another positive note, this degree can prep you to pursue a hot career. In fact, "many health care institutions are looking for ways to cut costs while still providing quality patient care, from dentists to hospitals," says Babb.

NEXT STEP: Click to Find the Right Medical Assisting Program Now.

As for what a medical assisting program entails, courses might cover medical terminology, pharmacology, and medical software applications, notes the College Board.

Potential career path and job growth:*

  • Medical assistant: 31 percent

Hot Degree #3 - Psychology

Have a desire to study how the human brain functions? Look into earning a bachelor's degree in the growing field of psychology.

Hot factor: "Psychology goes far beyond the couch today, making it one of the hottest degrees," says Babb. "Many organizations hire psychologists to help bring organizational psychology as a field into their business, including the study of human behavior, motivation, and reward systems," notes Babb.

NEXT STEP: Click to Find the Right Psychology Program Now.

In addition to learning more about how humans think, psychology majors typically study the way humans act, feel, and learn. According to the College Board, examples of study questions include "What are the roots of violence?" and "What is the best way to help someone with an eating disorder like anorexia?"

Potential career paths and job growth:*

  • Social worker: 25 percent
  • Survey researcher: 24 percent

Hot Degree #4 - Health Care Administration

Interested in developing your leadership skills to prep for a booming health care career? A bachelor's in health care administration could help.

Hot factor: "All the changing requirements for health care that will continue into the next decade require knowledge of the space as well as strong leadership and financial skills," says Vicki Lynn, senior vice president of Universum, a global talent recruiting company that works with many Fortune 500 companies.

NEXT STEP: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program Now.

In order to learn all the aspects of managing health care facilities, health services administration majors typically study subjects like financial management, human resources, and policy making, according to the College Board.

Potential career path and job growth:*

  • Medical and health services manager: 22 percent

Hot Degree #5 - Communications

Looking for a degree that suits your expressive nature? A bachelor's in communications could be a good fit.

Hot factor: "Communications has taken on a new life in the past three years," says Babb.

"Communications students have a lot of options today with technology that they did not have several years ago." In fact, "As social media has expanded, so has the communications degree at many institutions," notes Babb.

NEXT STEP: Click to Find the Right Communications Program Now.

As a business communications major, you can refine your writing, editing, and speaking skills and prepare for a professional business setting. According to the College Board, commonly offered courses include public relations writing, public speaking, and advertising and marketing communications.

Potential career paths and job growth:*

  • Public relations specialist: 23 percent
  • Technical writer: 17 percent

Hot Degree #6 - Computer Science

Eager to learn more about the growing field of information technology? Consider earning a bachelor's in computer science.

Hot factor: "The demand for computer science majors is just outrageous. Every company is looking for somebody to help them with software and renovation. They want to do more to use or leverage technology, reduce costs, and improve efficiency," says Lynn.

NEXT STEP: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program Now.

Additionally, this type of program could help you learn all about computer systems, programming, and software design, says the College Board. Courses typically cover computer system organization, artificial intelligence, and software engineering.

Potential career paths and job growth:*

  • Software developer: 30 percent
  • Information security analyst: 22 percent

* Potential career paths and 2010-2020 projected job growth rates are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/home.htm (visited Sept. 18, 2012).


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