Hottest College Degrees for 2013

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Wondering which degrees are in high demand for 2013? Check out these five programs.

By Jennifer Berry

Do you want to go back to school in the New Year and earn a degree that could prepare you for a hot career?

If you answered "yes," then we have some good news for you: We did some research and spoke to a career expert to pinpoint which degrees will be in-demand in 2013 and beyond.

Many of these degrees - like health administration and business - are deemed "hot" in large part due to their versatility, as well as their connection to a variety of growing career fields.

Interested in learning more? Keep reading to see which degrees are slated as hot for 2013 and beyond.

Degree #1: Bachelor's in Health Care Administration

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Health care is a business, and as a business it needs good leadership to function well. So if you're looking for a way to explore your leadership potential in the New Year, consider pursuing a hot degree in the field of health care administration.

Why it's a hot degree pick: "As health care becomes a more important issue, we'll need people to deal with the business side of administering plans and collecting money," Mitchell says. "This will become more complex as regulations and the health care system continue to evolve."

And what better people to deal with the evolving health care system than health administration grads who have studied the ins and outs of the system?

Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.

What you'll learn: As a health services administration major, you could gain the skills needed to oversee health care facilities, according to the College Board, the organization that administers tests like the SAT. Typical coursework includes classes like accounting, health care administration, anatomy and physiology, epidemiology, and human resources management.

Potential careers: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor's degree in health administration. This degree could also prep you to pursue a management role as a nursing home administrator, health information manager, or clinical manager.

Degree #2: Bachelor's in Business Administration

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Looking for a degree that employers will always be after? Consider jumping into the New Year by pursuing an in-demand degree in business administration.

Why it's a hot degree pick: "A business administration degree is a well-rounded degree that says you are proficient in several areas pertaining to the way business works," Mitchell says. "This degree should give you strong versatility in the job market."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.

What you'll learn: According to the College Board, a bachelor's in business administration and management program typically includes courses in financial management, management information systems, business ethics and law, economics, and marketing. Such courses could prepare you to "plan, organize, direct, and control an organization's activities," notes the College Board.

Potential careers: A degree in business administration could prepare you to pursue a variety of careers in the business and financial sectors. Financial analyst and financial manager are a few examples of career paths that generally require a bachelor's in business administration, notes the U.S. Department of Labor.

Degree #3: Bachelor's in Public Administration

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If your New Year's resolution includes learning how to help society run more smoothly, consider pursuing a hot degree in public administration.

Why it's a hot degree pick: If you want to learn how to best help people, this degree is a great option, especially with the College Board noting that "You'll build the skills it takes to bring together diverse groups - from neighborhood associations to private businesses - and change communities for the better."

What's more, "This type of degree gives you lots of flexibility in terms of what you are able to do professionally," says Mitchell. For example, you could facilitate and administer programs in the public or private sector.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Public Administration Program.

What you'll learn: As for what you'll study in a public administration program, typical courses include economic development, grant writing, public policy, structure of state government, and voluntarism and the nonprofit sector, says the College Board.

Potential careers: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a bachelor's degree in public administration is a common credential to pursue a career as a social and community service manager.

Degree #4 - Bachelor's in Forensics and Criminal Science

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If you want to start the New Year learning how to fight crime - behind-the-scenes - consider a degree in forensics and criminal science.

Why it's a hot degree pick: Unfortunately, criminal activity won't be going away anytime soon. Fortunately, however, that makes a crime-centered degree like forensics and criminal science a hot field to pursue.

In fact, "technological advances and the growing awareness of forensic evidence among potential jurors are expected to increase the use of forensic evidence in criminal proceedings," notes the U.S. Department of Labor.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Forensics/Crime Scene Program.

What you'll learn: In order to prepare to solve crimes, science and criminal justice will be part of what you study in this major, notes the College Board. Examples of typical courses include the U.S. criminal-justice system, genetics, crime scene investigation, and criminal evidence and procedure.

Potential careers: According to the Department of Labor, a bachelor's degree in forensic science is one education path to prep for a career as a forensic science technician, in which you would work in a crime laboratory. This degree is also a common credential for non-uniform crime scene investigation (CSI) positions at larger law enforcement agencies.

Degree #5 - Bachelor's in Homeland Security

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Do you want to protect and serve your country? Consider prepping by earning an in-demand degree in homeland security.

Why it's a hot degree pick: "This degree will be a smart move because the U.S. government is continuing to invest in security on a national scale," says Mitchell.

In fact, "the need to protect against terrorism in all forms will continue to drive the need for more professionals to be employed in this area," notes Mitchell.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Homeland Security Program.

What you'll learn: According to the College Board, an emergency management/homeland security major generally studies courses such as disaster response and recovery, emergency planning and preparedness, intelligence analysis, terrorism, and legal issues in homeland security. Such courses could help students develop the knowledge to respond to and recover from disasters.

Potential careers: Within the broader scope of homeland security, there are a variety of careers that you could pursue. For example, if you are interested in cyber security, these workers generally need some sort of computer background, but no specific degree is required, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Another potential homeland security career is border patrol agent. For this role, candidates need at least a bachelor's degree and one year of qualifying experience, notes the Department of Labor.

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