Degrees That Attract Employers


Learn more about bachelor's degrees that stand out to employers.

By Chris Kyle

Thinking about going back to school to earn your degree, but not sure what to study?

You should carefully consider how employers will view your degree, says Dani Babb, founder and CEO of The Babb Group, a higher education consulting firm. In fact, it's not unusual for employers to find some degrees more fetching than others.

"Looking at how marketable you and your degree will be when you are finished - and what the return on your investment will be - matters a lot," Babb adds.

So what degrees are marketable to employers? To find out, we talked to Babb and looked at the National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) survey "Job Outlook 2012," which polled employers nationwide and asked about their hiring intentions for various degrees.

Keep reading to learn more...

Degree #1 - Business Administration

When it comes to bachelor's degrees, hiring managers appear to be very attracted to business administration grads.

In fact, business-related bachelor's degrees outperformed all other general categories, including engineering, computer sciences, or liberal arts, according to the NACE survey.

More specifically, 48.5 percent employers said they plan to hire 2012 grads with a bachelor's in business administration/management.

Hot factor: "Business administration is one of those staple degrees that is consistently in need - where the student is exposed to a lot," says Babb.

Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.

What you'll learn: According to the College Board, an organization of colleges and universities that administers tests such as the SAT, a business administration and management program can prepare students to "plan, organize, direct, and control an organization's activities." Common courses include business ethics and law, operations management, and marketing.

Career options: A degree in business administration could potentially prepare you to pursue a variety of careers in the business and finance world. Financial analyst and budget analyst are just two examples of career paths that typically require a bachelor's in business administration, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Degree #2 - Accounting

Want to make yourself more marketable to employers? You might want to consider grabbing a calculator and studying accounting.

According to the NACE survey, accounting finished second overall (right behind finance) among the top bachelor's degrees in demand. Ultimately, over 59 percent of employers plan to hire 2012 accounting grads.

Hot factor: Why is this degree so in-demand? Babb believes it is because rules and requirements are becoming increasingly complex due to new legislation and regulation.

"Companies want to stay out of trouble and they want to seamlessly get through audits; and they need good people advising them to do that," she says.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

What you'll learn: Accounting majors could learn about crunching numbers and financial reports through common courses like accounting information systems, auditing, and tax accounting, says the College Board.

Career options: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a bachelor's degree in accounting is generally required to prepare to pursue occupations in finance, such as an accountant, auditor, tax examiner, and revenue agent.

Degree #3 - Psychology

Did you know that the NACE survey rated it as one of the most in-demand liberal arts degrees for hiring purposes?

It's true. In fact, it actually tied with political science, with 71.4 percent of employers planning to hire bachelor's in psychology grads in 2012.

Hot factor: According to Babb, a psychology graduate understands the human condition, which is a helpful skill for those looking to move into human resources. For example, "Companies know it is cheaper to retain employees than hire new ones, and psychologists can help that happen," she adds.

Click to Find the Right Psychology Program.

What you'll learn: "Psychology majors study the way humans and animals act, feel, think, and learn," according to the College Board, which notes that common courses include perception and sensation and social psychology.

Career options: Some employers may hire social workers who have earned a bachelor's degree in psychology, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Interested in more of a research role? No problem. According to the Department of Labor, a bachelor's degree in psychology could help you prepare for a career as a survey researcher.

Degree #4 - Information Technology (IT) & Information Systems

If you are leaning toward an information technology degree, you'll be happy to hear this: The NACE survey found that 59.3 percent of employers will seek computer and information sciences 2012 grads.

In fact, this finished as the third most sought-after bachelor's degree. And 43.8 percent of employers plan to hire candidates with a similar tech bachelor's degree - management information systems.

Hot factor: According to Babb, "IT & information systems will likely be hot for decades and has been for some time."

Since many IT professionals are self-taught, earning a degree may give you an edge in the job market. "The science and technology behind computing is ever-evolving and requires a top-notch curriculum," Babb adds.

Click to Find the Right IT & Information Systems Program.

What you'll learn: "IT majors focus on how information and computing systems support business, research, and communications needs," says the College Board. Computer networking, database management systems, and Web technologies are among some of the common courses.

Career options: According to Babb, earning a bachelor's degree in IT & information systems "provides building blocks for graduates to go on to be engineers, programmers, network or systems analysts, information systems engineers, team leaders, managers, and even broaden horizons into IT project management."

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