While some university degrees can pay off better than others, science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees continue to offer some of the best postgraduate prospects for college students.
Jobs portal CareerCast evaluated statistics from the BLS, trends from the Georgetown University Center of Education and the Workforce, and the National Association of Colleges and Employers; referenced against the 2018 Jobs Rated report, and determined the best college undergraduate majors employers find attractive today.
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Employment rates for recent accountant degree program graduates historically linger above 90%, making it one of the most-steady fields of study for landing a position. The need for accountants — a field the BLS expects to grow by 10% in the next eight years — suggests continued demand.
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The versatility of a business management background opens the doors in a variety of careers, many of which are highly ranked in the CareerCast.com Jobs Rated report. A degree in business management can be translated to HR, operational research analysis, and management consulting.
Opportunities even exist in industries one might not assume: Medical Services Manager, the No. 6 job in the 2018 Jobs Rated report with a growth outlook of 20%, is a potential career path for a graduate with a Business Management degree.
Looking back on the Jobs Rated report again, a number of the high-paying jobs required post-secondary schooling, with a common theme for many — like physician and pharmacist — is an undergraduate degree in Chemistry.
IT jobs typically rank very highly among career opportunities, due to the booming growth forecasts and often high pay. A degree in computer science provides a solid foundation for pursuing any number of promising tech careers, like software developer and computer systems analyst.
With retirement being a hot topic among employer-offered benefits, financial analysts and personal financial advisors have growth outlooks of 11% and 15%, respectively.
Rows of colored high end data cables are seen feeding into racks of computer servers inside a comms room at an office in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. Vodafone Group Plc will ask telecommunications regulator Ofcom to guarantee that U.K. wireless carriers, which rely on BT's fiber network to transmit voice and data traffic across the country, are treated fairly when BT sets prices and connects their broadcasting towers. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
A degree in the information systems field should have a vast shelf life in the future economy, with more and more data being stored in Cloud-based technology, and increased reliance on telecommunications.
Marketing and market research
While various careers in communications face uncertainty amid tumultuous times — jobs like newspaper reporter and broadcaster rank among the worst due to hiring instability — similar skill sets can lead to rewarding opportunities in marketing.
The employment rate for recent Marketing and Market Research grads sits around 94%. Market Research Analysts can earn $34,510 at entry-level.
Although some universities are beginning to offer degree programs with specific emphasis — for example, Actuarial Science is offered at some universities — a more general education in Mathematics opens the possibility to pursue a variety of promising career opportunities, such as statisticians and data scientists.
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Mechanical Engineering may be the most attractive option for a prospective student, however, as its application can be carried over to a variety of industries like automotive, robotics and construction.
Demand for nursing graduates ranks among the highest for all careers, according to CareerCast. The need for highly skilled nurses translates to one of the highest employment rates of all degree programs for entry-level graduates, per the Georgetown University CEW, as well as a healthy $46,360 annual median entry-level wage per the BLS.
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