Best College Degrees for In-Demand Careers


Find out which college majors could lead to high-growth careers.

By Lisa Manterfield

Want to land an in-demand career? Going back to school to advance your education could be a step in the right direction. At least that's what a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce suggests.

The report, titled "Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018," released in June 2010, projects that 63 percent of all jobs through 2018 will require some postsecondary education.

Keep reading to learn about some of the best college degrees for in-demand careers.

Degree #1 - Business

Interested in learning more about the business world? You might be onto something.

According to "Job Outlook 2012," a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 83 percent of employers are planning to hire business grads in 2012.

A bachelor's degree in business administration could help you learn the ins and outs of this dynamic, growing industry. Courses will likely promote skills in communication, problem solving, and leadership. Typical classes might include psychology, writing, and math, as well as business-specific classes, such as economics, business organization, and marketing, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Business Program Now.

In-Demand Career Spotlight:*

  • Human resources specialists are often responsible for managing a company's payroll, recruitment, and benefits. Overall employment is projected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018.
  • Financial analysts provide investment information to companies and individuals. Financial analyst positions are projected to increase by 20 percent during the 2008 and 2018 decade.

Degree #2 - Nursing

With the rapidly aging population creating a boom in health care - the U.S. Department of Labor reports that 10 of 20 fastest growing occupations for 2008-2018 are health care related - now could be the perfect time to take advantage of your passion to help others.

An associate's degree in nursing can help you prepare to pursue a career in the in-demand nursing profession. In a nursing program, you'll likely take classes such as anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology to help you pursue a career as a registered nurse.

Click to Find the Right Nursing Program Now.

In-Demand Career Spotlight:*

  • Registered nurses work in hospitals, doctors' offices, and nursing care facilities. The Department of Labor projects that registered nursing jobs will increase by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018.*

Degree #3 - Accounting

Number-crunchers with a desire to pursue a stable career might find the accounting field promising. The U.S. Department of Labor notes the demand for accounting expertise will likely increase as the financial world becomes more complex and companies maintain transparent business affairs.

In an accounting program, you'll likely learn basic accounting skills, business principles, and computer applications. And because of the responsibility that comes with an accounting career, you might also take classes in law, ethics, and communication, according to the Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program Now.

In-Demand Career Spotlight:*

  • Accountants/auditors generally oversee the financial aspects of companies, such as budgets, taxes, and public records. Accounting jobs are projected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018.
  • Cost estimators usually predict the cost, size, and duration of projects in construction and manufacturing. Cost estimator positions are projected to grow by 25 percent between 2008 and 2018.

Degree #4 - Information Technology and Information Systems

Already got a bachelor's degree, but want to move into the growing technology sector? Consider a master's degree in information technology (IT)/information systems.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the computer systems design and related services industry is expected to see a 45 percent job growth between 2008 and 2018 as a result of the escalating need to maintain networks.

With an IT master's degree, you'll likely take advanced classes in computer science and IT-related business, often with options to specialize in areas like database systems or network communications. These types of courses could help you get ready to pursue growing careers in the IT field.

Click to Find the Right IT Program Now.

In-Demand Career Spotlight:*

  • Database administrators help companies store, organize, and maintain information. Database administrators are projected to have a 30 percent increase in job growth from 2008 to 2018.
  • Computer software engineers design, construct, and maintain a company's computer system. Positions in computer software engineering are projected to grow by 21 percent from 2008 to 2018.

Degree #5 - Health Care Administration

Do you have an interest in the medical field and want to pursue a managerial position? A master's in health care administration could help you develop the management skills you need to better meet your career aspirations in this in-demand area.

The U.S. Department of Labor notes that managers will be needed to help improve the quality and efficiency of health care, as well as recruiting and increasing employee retention.

By taking courses in financial management, accounting, law, ethics, and computer applications - specific to health care - you could be prepared to meet the demand and effectively manage a health care facility, according to the Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program Now.

In-Demand Career Spotlight:*

  • Medical and health services managers handle the day-to-day operations of care facilities, such as personnel, finances, and admissions. The employment of medical and health services managers is projected to increase by 16 percent from 2008 to 2018.

Degree #6 - Education

A bachelor's in education is a great starting point for people who want to pursue a field with growing opportunities, like education.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that a greater number of children and adults enrolled in all types of schools, as well as the large number of retirements, will generate employment growth in the educational services industry.

Since an education degree prepares students to teach in a variety of subjects, a typical education program usually includes a range of subjects such as math, science, art, and music. In addition, you'll most likely take classes specific to a teaching career, such as psychology of learning, education philosophy, and teaching methods.

Click to Find the Right Education Program Now.

In-Demand Career Options:*

  • Kindergarten teachers work with the youngest children and teach letters and numbers, as well as creating an awareness of science, art, and nature. Kindergarten teachers, except special education, are projected to see a 15 percent increase in jobs between 2008 and 2018.
  • Elementary school teachers generally instruct children in several subjects, including music, art, reading, science, and more. Elementary school teachers are projected to have a 16 percent increase in career opportunities between 2008 and 2018.

*All career, education, and job growth information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor using May 2010 data.

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