College Degrees Employers Want Most

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According to a recent report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, these five degrees are in demand with employers.

By Sarah Tann

Do you want to go back to school and earn a degree that employers actually want?

In their "Job Outlook 2012" report, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) uncovered which college degrees are most wanted by employers in 2012.

The report also noted that the surveyed employers said that they plan to hire 9.5 percent more new graduates between 2011 and 2012 than they did between 2010 and 2011.

New York career expert and psychologist, Eileen Sharaga, is not surprised by these numbers. "Economic reports indicate that employers are starting to hire," says Sharaga, noting that industries like accounting, finance, and computer science are seeing a bright hiring outlook.

So, how exactly do you get these employers to come after you? While there are no guarantees that a specific degree will lead to a job, it might help to know which degrees they are currently targeting.

Keep reading to learn more...

#1 Degree - Finance

If numerical equations don't intimidate you, you might want to consider earning an in-demand bachelor's degree in finance.

Most Wanted: This facts and figures degree is definitely on employers' radar, with the 2012 NACE job outlook report finding that 61.3 percent of surveyed respondents intend to hire finance degree grads.

Typical Coursework: "Finance majors learn how to make financial decisions for organizations" with help from courses that cover topics like planning, raising funds, making wise investments, and controlling costs, notes the College Board, an educational organization that administers aptitude tests like the SAT.

Click to Find the Right Finance Program.

Potential Careers & Average Annual Salaries: It's no surprise this degree is in demand with employers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, you could take a variety of career paths with this degree, including financial analyst ($87,740), personal financial advisor ($90,900), and insurance underwriter ($67,520).*


#2 Degree - Accounting

Do you like to keep an eye on your budgets and finances? Then consider studying accounting, an area that employers have their eyes on.

Most Wanted: With 59.3 percent of surveyed employers planning to hire accounting grads in 2012, according to the NACE report, accounting majors would do well to keep their calculators and spreadsheets handy after graduation.

Typical Coursework: "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. To get a handle on these skills, you'll likely take commonly offered courses like business law, auditing, and tax accounting.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

Potential Careers & Average Annual Salaries: With a bachelor's degree in accounting, you could learn the skills needed to help you pursue a career as an accountant ($70,130), auditor ($55,430), or budget analyst ($71,450).*


#3 Degree - Computer and Information Sciences

Computers, smartphones, and tech gadgets have become necessities in both our personal and professional lives. That might explain why so many employers are after techies with a degree in computer and information sciences.

Most Wanted: In fact, according to the NACE report, 59.3 percent of surveyed employers have plans to hire computer and information science grads this year.

Typical Coursework: With this degree, you'll likely learn about areas like "robotics, natural language recognition programs, artificial intelligence, programming languages, numerical analysis, and gaming technology," notes the Princeton Review's "Top 10 College Majors" list on their website. The Princeton Review is a leading provider of education support and college preparation services.

Click to Find the Right Computer and Information Sciences Program.

Potential Careers & Average Annual Salaries: With a bachelor's degree in this tech-savvy area, you could prepare to go after careers like network and computer systems administrator ($74,270), computer programmer ($76,010), and computer systems analyst ($82,320).* Earning a "most wanted" degree never sounded so good.


#4 Degree - Engineering, Electrical and Mechanical

When you think of robots and roller coasters, what comes to mind? Fun, excitement, innovation, and engineering... Okay, engineering might not have been your first thought, but did you know that without talented engineers and the in-demand degrees linked with them, robots and roller coasters might not exist?

Most Wanted: Finding people to help build and purpose these types of thrilling devices and machines is a high priority for employers - at least that's what stats from the NACE report seem to indicate. The report found that 51.5 and 50 percent of surveyed employers plan to hire electrical and mechanical engineers in 2012, respectively.

Typical Coursework: Electrical engineering majors "study electricity: how it works, how it's generated, and how it's used to power everything from light bulbs and radios to cell phones and robots," says the College Board. Mechanical engineering majors, on the other hand, "learn about the machines that bring convenience and excitement to our lives. They study the physics that make roller coasters loop and planes fly."

Click to Find the Right Engineering Program.

Potential Careers & Average Annual Salaries: It's no surprise that employers are after engineering grads. Depending on which bachelor's in engineering you earn - electrical or mechanical - you could be prepped to pursue careers like electrical engineer ($89,200), mechanical engineer ($83,550), and sales engineer ($97,320).*


#5 Degree - Business Administration

Leader, ambitious, problem-solver...if these are words that describe you, or terms you want to be associated with - a degree in business administration might be worth considering. And more importantly, it's a degree that employers want.

Most Wanted: Employers have their sights on students with this business degree background, notes the NACE report. To get into specifics, 48.5 percent of surveyed employers said they plan to snatch business grads to join their companies this year.

Typical Coursework: "This program prepares students to plan, organize, direct, and control an organization's activities," notes the College Board. And just how do students pick up this expertise? Probably from commonly offered courses that could include accounting, business communication, and management.

Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.

Potential Careers & Average Annual Salaries: With this "most wanted" degree, students could prepare to pursue careers like human resources specialist ($58,890), market research analyst ($67,130), and personal financial advisor ($90,900).*


*All potential careers and average annual salary information is from the U.S. Department of Labor, May 2011 statistics.


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