Going to college can be a really exciting experience. It can also be a little unnerving, when you start to consider what you will do with your degree.
Your attractiveness to potential employers will depend largely on your major. Choosing the right degree programs to enroll in can alter your future career path and financial security. But since you’d rather invest your college years developing marketable skills, it makes sense to tailor your major choice to open employment opportunities in the market.
It’s no surprise that the best majors focus heavily on the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Here are nine majors to consider:
Anything with “engineering” in it has great potential career opportunities. Forbes published a list of the “15 most valuable college majors” and engineering made up a whole third of the list. Specifically, if you major in biomedical engineering, software engineering, environmental engineering, civil engineering, or petroleum engineering, you can expect a good career with excellent job security.
Unlike many fields, demand for nurses is high. You can pretty much expect to get a job right after graduation and be able to keep it or find a better one anytime you want. You can get a degree with only two years, but a bachelor’s opens the field for you. Plus, if you decide on a specialty, you can see your income opportunities in this field skyrocket.
With a median mid-career pay of over $80,000 per year and a projected job growth over 30 percent, you can’t miss. If you enjoy the combination of biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering, this is the field for you. Since our economy is geared heavily toward innovation, the medical research and biochemistry field is growing rapidly.
4. Computer Science
This degree gives you the flexibility to work in many facets of information technology, a broad field with jobs in virtually any industry. However, if you specialize in a specific skill set, and become a master of it, you can command salaries in excess of $300,000 at top technology companies across the United States.
If you have a knack for rocks, you can enjoy significant increases in pay and a large job-growth potential. Who's hiring geologists? Energy companies, of course. If you want to work in the booming oil and natural gas industry, most of the major companies are grabbing up geologists like they are going out of style.
6. Management Information Systems
This degree is particularly useful because you learn how to design and maintain systems for large organizations. That specific skill puts you ahead of computer networking majors, who can expect an unemployment rate twice as high after graduation.
Not as many people go after the more abstract scientific fields. As a result, math majors are more in demand, with the pay that goes with it. Once again, who's hiring mathematicians? A lot of science-based companies, engineering firms, and even the government are looking for math majors to supplement their research staff.
8. Construction Management
No matter what the economy looks like, there will always be a need for construction. That keeps wages higher and unemployment lower. However, now with homebuilding rebounding, companies are starting to build large scale developments across the country — which, in turn, increases the need for construction managers.
Another broad field, choosing this major will allow you to move freely among a variety of potential careers. Just realize: in good times and bad times, Wall Street is always looking for the next smart finance person.
It is worth noting that a lot of these majors are in demand because they are particularly rigorous or require a great deal of technical knowledge. But if you continue to push through to graduation, your chance of scoring a great job is much closer within reach.
What do you think about the career opportunities in these majors?
Editor's Note: If you're in college and are looking for some ways to make money while you work toward earning your degree, you might want to check out the following articles: