Degrees for the Next Decade


Find out which four degrees hold the most potential in the next decade.

By Chris Kyle

A lot can change in ten years. One career can explode in popularity while another can go cold.

Your degree, however, lasts forever, which is all the more reason to earn the right one.

Next step: Click here to find the right college for you

Yahoo! Education pored over employment projections through 2020 to determine what graduates with different degrees and educational backgrounds can expect from the job market over the next decade.

Keep reading for the degrees that rank highest in terms of employment opportunities through 2020.

#1 - Health Care Degrees

Love it or hate it, health care reform is creating many new, exciting positions in what is already the fastest growing sector of our economy. Factor in the aging population and demand for health care graduates has never been higher.

Top Degree Picks:
Medical Assistant
Medical Technician

Next step: Search for Health Care programs right now

"We're moving not only toward a white-collar economy, but toward a white-coat economy," Derek Thompson wrote in "America 2020: Healthcare Nation", an article in The Atlantic magazine.

With hospitals looking to control costs, most of the white coats will be worn by people who assist doctors and not the doctors themselves. This means many new opportunities for nurses, medical assistants, and medical technicians. Find Nursing and Medical Assisting programs

As Thompson points out, the White House and U.S. Department of Labor expect health care jobs to grow almost twice as fast as any other industry, with health care boasting three of the top five fastest growing jobs in the country.

Average Earnings:*
Medical Assistant: $28,300
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians: $30,610
Registered Nurse: $62,450

Next step: Search for Health Care degree programs right now

#2 - Business Degrees

New technology has forever changed the way people live their lives - and how companies do business. It seems the only constant in the business world is change. Today's business school students will help define the way business gets done in the next decade - and beyond.

Next step: Search for Business schools now

Top Degree Picks:
Business Administration

Looking forward, the business sector's biggest gains will be in management, scientific, and technical consulting services...and that may be a big understatement! The Department of Labor forecasts a "staggering" 83 percent rise in employment opportunities in this area.

Average Earnings:
Accountant: $59,430
Management Analyst: $73,570
Financial Manager: $99,330

Next step: Worried about your future career plans? Think big by getting a Business degree.

#3 - Education Degrees

According to the Department of Labor, educational services is the second largest industry in the U.S. In fact, in 2008 there were about 13.5 million jobs in this industry. Population growth will fuel demand for jobs in this field through 2018.

Top Degree Picks:
Curriculum & Instruction
Education Leadership
Special Education
Teaching Certification

Education administrator might sound like an unlikely career to get showcased in a 2010 Kiplinger column about careers for the next decade, but the numbers back it up. After all, a rapidly growing population means more students, and that means more opportunities for educators.

A 2010 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce puts education behind only health care as a field facing the biggest shortage of qualified workers with degrees in 2018.

Average Earnings:
Public School Teacher: $47,100-$51,180
Dean of Students: $88,280
High School Principal: $97,486

Next step: Explore Education degree programs and learn how you can get certified to teach

#4 - Technology Degrees

Those with technology-related degrees, like network administration, will benefit from their grasp of cutting-edge technologies that will fuel future advances in all sectors of the economy.

From tech hot spots like Silicon Valley and Seattle to regional centers of innovation in Texas, North Carolina, and around the country...companies will be looking for qualified technology professionals to develop new technology products and to service the computers and networks up and running now.

Top Degree Picks:
Information Technology and Systems
Network Administration
Programming and Applications
Technology Support

According to the Georgetown report, computer specialists alone stand to see a gain of 700,000 new jobs over the next eight years.

Meanwhile, employment in computer systems design and related services is expected grow a robust 45 percent through 2018, according to the Department of Labor.

Average Earnings:
Network Administrator: $66,310
Computer Scientist: $97,970
Information Systems Manager: $112,210

Next step: Click here to find IT degree and certificate programs

* All average earnings information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor and indicates median 2008 wages.

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