Five Degrees That Are In Demand


See how these five hot degrees could serve you well upon graduation.

By John Loos   

Are you thinking about going back to school, but not sure which degree is the best investment for you?

One way to evaluate degree programs is by thinking about which careers they could prepare you for - and the job growth for each related profession.

For example, according to projections from the U.S. Department of Labor's 2010-2011 Occupational Handbook, health care, management, business, and financial - among others - are areas expected to experience substantial job growth.

Keep reading to find out which degrees could be safe bets for the future.

Degree #1 - Master's in Business Administration (MBA)

With courses that include business management and business operations, an MBA can be distinct in its career flexibility. As one example, the Yale School of Management MBA Career Report said that its 2008 graduates accepted job offers in financial services, at non-profits, with consulting firms, in the media and entertainment field, and with the government, among other areas.

Hot Factor: While hiring of MBA grads lowered during the recession, the hiring stagnation is over, and "...more business school graduates are getting jobs," according to a March 2011 U.S. News and World report article. Another hot factor: The potential for pay...which at the mid-career mark is $109,000 for MBA grads, according to a Forbes May 2010 article, "Best Master's Degrees For Jobs".

Click to Find the Right MBA Program

Degree#2 - Associate's in Paralegal Studies

An associate's degree in paralegal studies could help you pursue a career as a lawyer's right-hand man or woman. Paralegal courses might require in-class legal research and practice in drafting legal documents, according to the College Board, an organization that administers academic aptitude tests like the SAT.

Hot Factor: This degree is a common credential for paralegals, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which projects employment of paralegals to grow by 28 percent between 2008 and 2018. The Department also notes that paralegals have an average annual salary of $49,640, according to May 2010 statistics.

Click to Find the Right Paralegal Program

Degree #3 - Bachelor's in Accounting

The curriculum in this hot degree could prepare grads to pursue number-crunching accountant career opportunities. Courses generally cover basic accounting concepts, preparing financial statements, and research of real-life cases, according to the College Board.

Hot Factor: The numbers don't lie. The Department of Labor projects 22 percent growth in accounting careers between 2008 and 2018. Career opportunities can include everything from working for companies or individual clients, according to the Department, which notes that the average annual salary for accountants was $68,960 in May 2010.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program

Degree #4 - Associate's in Dental Assisting

Dental assisting associate's degree programs could prepare students to pursue dental assistant career opportunities. Programs generally cover relevant topics such as proper brushing and flossing techniques, how to take x-rays, medical record keeping, and more, according to the College Board.

Hot Factor: As long as people have teeth, there will be a need for dental assistants. In fact, dental assistant positions are projected to grow a hefty 35.75 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. What's more? The Department also notes dental assistants have an average annual salary of $34,140, as of May 2010.

Click to Find the Right Dental Assisting Program

Degree #5 - Bachelor's in Human Resources

A bachelor's in human resources is a great start to pursuing a career in the "people-person" friendly industry of human resources. Human resources programs will likely include courses in organizational behavior, psychology, and the sociology of work, according to the College Board.

Hot Factor: Companies big and small need human resources managers and/or assistants. The U.S. Department of Labor notes that between 2008 and 2018, human resources jobs should climb 22 percent, a gain of 197,400 jobs. HR assistants have an average annual salary of $37,900, while HR mangers average at $108,600, according to May 2010 statistics from the Department.

Click to Find the Right Human Resources Program

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