Degrees to Get You Back on Your Feet


These five degrees could help you prepare to rebound into a new career.

By Leslie Barrie

Have you recently suffered a career knockdown?

Whether it was a layoff, cut hours, or a job slump, don't despair.

While getting back on your feet may seem like a tough feat, there are proactive things you can do to help you get on the path to a career comeback, says William Arruda, a personal branding expert and co-author of "Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand."

One example, he says, is going back to school to earn a degree and new, bankable skills.

"Going back to school to get a degree can be a great career option if you're looking to change careers or want to develop an expertise in your current field," says Arruda. "It will set you apart from other candidates."

The key, Arruda adds, is to choose a degree that's specific enough. This way, you "build your brand," and show employers you have a focused skill set.

If you're ready to make your career comeback, read on for six degrees that could give you the skills to start making it happen.

Comeback Degree #1 - Business Administration

Do you want to earn a degree that could help you rebound to a career in the corporate world? If so, a bachelor's degree in business administration could be a great option for you.

Comeback Factor: "Business administration is a very broad degree, so it's a fit if you're a person that hasn't gone to college, but wants to get ahead, and isn't sure what path within the corporate world you want," says Arruda.

Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program Now.

Useful Skills Learned: As a business administration and management major, you'll likely get the chance to develop your leadership, speaking, and writing skills, according to the College Board, an organization of colleges and universities that administers tests such as the SAT. You might also improve on your communication, planning, and problem-solving skills with help from commonly offered courses such as business law, human resources, and finance.

Potential Career: A bachelor's degree in business administration could prove useful as you pursue a variety of careers. For one, there's financial analyst, a position that the U.S. Department of Labor says usually requires a bachelor's in business administration or a related field. This degree could also provide good preparation for a personal financial advisor position, notes the Department of Labor.

Comeback Degree #2 - Health Services Administration

Love helping people? Interested in the medical field? Got organizational and managerial skills? If you said "Yes" to all three questions, then a bachelor's degree in health care administration or health services administration may be a good option as you pursue a career comeback.

Comeback Factor: "It's an industry-specific major, meaning that it will set you up with a path toward specific careers like working for a hospital, a health-related company, or an HMO," says Arruda.

Click to Find the Right Health Services Administration Program Now.

Useful Skills Learned: "Students of health services administration learn all aspects of overseeing health care facilities and the services they provide," notes the College Board. You might pick up these skills as you take common courses in hospital organization and management, human resources administration, strategic planning, accounting and budgeting, and health economics, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Potential Career: A bachelor's in health services administration is required to prepare to pursue a career as a medical and health services manager, according to the Department of Labor. Master's degrees in health services, public administration, or business administration are also typical routes.

Comeback Degree #3 - Accounting

If keeping track of funds (bills, receipts, charges) is your idea of a good time, a bachelor's degree in accounting might align nicely with your interests while prepping you to pursue a career comeback.

Comeback Factor: "A degree as straightforward as accounting will, you guessed it, set you up for a career as an accountant," says Arruda. "Thus, if you've got the numbers skill and know you want to be an accountant, it's a smart degree to go back to get."

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program Now.

Useful Skills Learned: "Accounting majors learn how to gather, record, analyze, interpret, and communicate information about an individual's or organization's financial performance and risks," says the College Board. Commonly offered courses in this field include business law, government and not-for-profit accounting, and auditing.

Potential Career: A bachelor's degree in accounting (or a related field) is required for most accountant and auditor positions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Keep in mind that some employers may favor a master's degree in accounting or business administration.

Comeback Degree #4 - Computer Science

Always been Mr. or Ms. Fix-It when it comes to computers? A major in computer sciences could be an attractive bachelor's degree option to help you pursue a tech-savvy career comeback.

Comeback Factor: "This major will provide you computer skills, but most importantly it will give you tools to be a manager, which is key because many information systems jobs are moving overseas, but managerial jobs are still needed in the U.S.," says Arruda.

Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program Now.

Useful Skills Learned: In addition to computer skills, a computer science degree could also help you develop teamwork and problem-solving skills, notes the College Board. Relevant coursework might include artificial intelligence, digital system design, and software engineering.

Potential Career: As Arruda suggests above, a bachelor's degree in computer science (or information science), in addition to related work experience, is generally required to pursue a career as a computer and information systems manager, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Comeback Degree #5 - Communications

Are you the first to re-tweet a news story? Are you constantly re-pinning products and recipes on Pinterest? If you're caught up in the social media craze, and think you might want to try doing it for a living, a bachelor's degree in communications could be a good first step.

Comeback Factor: "Communications is a highly evolving field, and a recent degree in communications shows employers you're up to date with all the changes," says Arruda.

Click to Find the Right Communications Program Now.

Useful Skills Learned: As you might expect, "Business communications majors learn how to write, edit, and speak professionally," notes the College Board. And how exactly do you develop these skills? Probably through typical course offerings in media analysis and criticism, public relations writing, and public speaking.

Potential Career: If you're interested in public relations, this degree is a good option. The U.S. Department of Labor notes that a bachelor's degree is generally required for public relations specialist positions, with employers often wanting applicants who've studied public relations, journalism, communications, or business.

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