One consideration you face when starting college is whether or not jobs will be available in your field when you graduate. Education can be expensive, especially if you’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher, so you want to know you’re going to be gainfully employed when those student loans start coming due. But how can you know which careers will be in demand four to six years ahead of time?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently estimates job growth through 2018 for a wide variety of fields. Here are five that are expected to still be hiring when today’s freshmen complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
1. Education. This includes both teachers and administrators. In K-12 education, those who teach science, technology, engineering and math subjects (often called STEM teachers) should see the greatest demand. Other popular specializations this field include adult education teachers and instructional technology professionals.
Degree to pursue: Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Education, Master of Arts in Education (MAEd)
Estimated job growth through 2018: 13% (K-12 teachers), 15% (adult education teachers), 23% (instructional technology professionals)*
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2. Network administration & security. Network administration and security professionals maintain linked computer systems and protect them from computer viruses, hacking attempts and other threats. As cybercrime becomes more of a concern, network security experts will especially be in demand.
Degree to pursue: Bachelor of Science (BS) in Information Technology – Network Administration, Master of Science (MS) in Information Technology – Internet Security
Estimated job growth through 2018: 23% (network administrators), 53% (network systems and data communications analysts)*
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3. Nursing. Registered nurses (RNs) perform the bulk of day-to-day nursing duties, from evaluating patients to providing front-line care. Those with advanced education (bachelor’s degree or higher) and/or training in certain specialties (such as nurse anesthetists) will be in the greatest demand.
Degree to pursue: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Estimated job growth through 2018: 22% (registered nurses)*
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4. Physical and occupational therapy. Physical therapists help patients recover from injuries, diseases or age-related problems that impair their physical health. Occupational therapists assist such patients in improving their everyday living and working abilities, hopefully to full functionality.
Degree to pursue: Master of Science (MS) in Occupational Therapy, Master of Science (MS) in Physical Therapy
Estimated job growth through 2018: 26% (occupational therapists), 30% (physical therapists)*
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5. Software engineering. Software engineering has largely replaced computer programming as the preferred IT development skill set. It is now primarily software engineers who create, test, maintain and update the software that allows computers to perform their functions.
Degree to pursue: Bachelor of Science (BS) in Software Architecture, Master of Science (MS) in Software Engineering
Estimated job growth through 2018: 32% (computer software engineers)*
[Find top software engineering degree programs now!]
* U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010 - 2011