Best Degrees for Growing Careers


Find out which degrees could prove useful for these in-demand careers.

By Amanda Hearle    
Last updated on 07/10/2014

Thinking about earning your bachelor's degree? Smart thinking.

It's estimated that nearly 35 percent of jobs will require a bachelor's degree by 2020, according to a report entitled "Recovery" published by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce.

But which bachelor's degrees are more in demand?

We break down six bachelor's degrees that could prove valuable - even in today's tough market.

Degree #1 - Bachelor's in Marketing and Communications

A good option for those who are intrigued by trends - whether in fashion, technology, or art - marketing students generally learn how to research people's shopping habits and understand what type of products people want, according to the College Board, the organization that administers the SAT.

On the other hand, as a communications major, you'll likely study how people communicate with each other, and take courses in persuasion and research methods, explains the College Board. These degrees could offer great preparation for pursuing exciting new careers.

Click to Find the Right Marketing and Communications Program.

Career forecast*: The U.S. Department of Labor projects employment of public relations specialists to grow 12 percent between 2012 and 2022.

Potential career opportunities*: Public relations specialist, market research analyst, management analyst

Degree #2 - Bachelor's in Finance

If you're interested in one day managing money, a bachelor's degree in finance could be beneficial for you. A good option for people who have a knack for numbers, finance programs generally learn to make financial decisions for organizations, and how to create budgets, explains the College Board.

A bachelor's degree in finance could help prepare you to pursue careers in the exciting financial world. Financial analysts, for example, must usually have a bachelor's degree, and finance is one of numerous fields of study that could provide appropriate preparation to pursue this occupation, explains the U.S. Department of Labor. These professionals decipher the best way to invest and manage money on behalf of clients and companies.

Click to Find the Right Finance Program.

Career forecast*: Employment of financial analysts is projected to grow by 16 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Department of Labor.

Potential career opportunities*: Financial analyst, securities, commodities, and financial services sales agent, personal financial advisor, and accountant

Degree #3 - Bachelor's in Information Technology (IT)

Are you interested in computers and the newest gadgets? Do you want to learn more about the ever-changing tech industry? A bachelor's degree in information technology could be a good fit for you. IT students usually learn how computer systems are used support communications and business needs, according to the College Board.

An expert says this program might also be a good option for you if you are comfortable with change, as this field is always evolving.

Classes might include computer systems and architecture, database management systems, and computer networking, adds the College Board. This program could prepare you to pursue IT positions, such as network and computer systems administrators, and database administrators, according to the U.S. Department of Labor*.

Click to Find the Right Information Technology Program.

Career forecast*: The Department of Labor projects 15 percent industry growth for database administrators between 2012 and 2022.

Potential career opportunities*: Network and computer systems administrator, and database administrator

Degree #4 - Bachelor's in Accounting

If you like the idea of working with money, calculators, and spreadsheets, you might want to consider pursuing a career in accounting.

A bachelor's degree in accounting could help familiarize you with accounting information systems, financial statements, and tax laws, while offering courses in tax, auditing, or cost accounting, says the College Board. Grads could be prepared to pursue careers as auditors or accountants. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, most of these positions require a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

Career forecast*: The Department of Labor estimates that auditors and accountants will see 13 percent job growth between 2012 and 2022.

Potential career opportunities*: Accountant, auditor, and budget analyst

Degree #5 - Bachelor's in Computer Science

Having this degree under your belt could prove to be a valuable asset when you set out in the technology field.

Computer science students usually learn various computer languages, including C++ and Java, as well as take courses in data structures and algorithms, and mathematics for computer science, according to the College Board. Grads could be prepared to pursue a career as a software developer, as according to the U.S. Department of Labor, these professionals usually have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field.

Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

Career forecast*: The Department of Labor notes that employment of software developers is projected to grow 22 percent between 2012 and 2022.

Potential career opportunities*: Software developers, computer programmers, computer support specialists, and computer systems analyst

Degree #6 - Bachelor's in Criminal Justice

For those interested in legal issues but not sure they want to pursue law, a criminal justice degree could be a logical fit. Criminal justice programs generally focus on the administration of justice by emphasizing the study of law enforcement, correction, and safety.

By choosing an emphasis, such as forensics or correction, students could focus their skills on preparing to pursue specific career fields.

Click to Find the Right Criminal Justice Program.

Career forecast*: The Department of Labor notes that employment of probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is projected to show little or no change between 2012 and 2022.

Potential career opportunities*: Probation officer and correctional treatment specialist

*All potential careers listed come from the 2014-15 U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Department of Labor cites the associated degrees as common, required, preferred, or one of a number of degrees acceptable as preparation for the potential career. In some instances, candidates might require further schooling, professional certifications, or experience, before being qualified to pursue the career.

Molly Smith also contributed to this article by updating the information on 07/10/2014

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