You can’t avoid the economic doom and gloom headlines. But you can avoid a trip to the unemployment center. How? Pick the right major.
College freshmen with an undecided major have the best chance of setting themselves up for a high paying job after graduation. Without the constraints of a finite course of study, undecided students can choose a major based on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs with future growth list.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiles this list of top future jobs based on past and current employment and economic data. For over 50 years, the BLS has collected this data to predict areas of high employment growth. For undecided students, this data provides a resource to help settle on a specific major. As a starting point, it’s a great resource to survey the job market.
However, that’s not to say students should abandon their passions in order to pursue these jobs that offer the most promising salaries and number of job openings. Not all students are looking for jobs that will make them rich. After all, money isn’t everything.
Still, while the BLS list of top future jobs predicts high growth career paths, it also predicts moderate growth and shrinking career paths as well. At the very least, undecided students can choose to stay away from jobs showing the least growth or shrinking career paths.
Regardless of intention, the BLS employment data sheds light on employment in the United States as a whole. For students, this information provides a leg up in landing a great job after college.
Since graduation is always closer than you think, here are some degrees you should consider, and why you should consider them:
- B.S. in Biomedical Engineering: The BLS predicts over 72% growth in the field of biomedical engineering by 2018. Biomedical engineering overshadows all career paths in terms of growth in the near future. It will add more jobs than any other career path. What’s more, the average annual wage for a biomedical engineer is above $77,000 a year, which ranks it in the very high median annual wage quartile. For undecided students, this is one of the best careers to consider.
- B.S. in Information Technology: In 2008, the field of network systems and data communication analysis added 292,000 new jobs: it is second only behind biomedical engineering in positive future job growth. By 2018, the BLS expects the number of jobs added to this field to number around 448,000, or a growth rate of over 54%. This is a cutting edge career that would appeal to undecided undergraduates with a wide range of interests.
- B.S. in Finance: While a degree in finance and a career path towards financial analysis is for the business-minded, it’s another field that the BLS ranks as a top future job for several reasons. First, at a growth rate of 41.6%, the BLS expects 38,000 new financial examiner jobs by 2018. Although other career paths claim higher expected job growth, financial examiners make this list because of the very high median annual wage quartile. At almost $71,000 a year, a financial examiner is another career for undecided students to consider.
As the Baby Boomers continue to grow older, there will be a higher demand for health-related jobs. Jobs in the health industry are predicted to grow the most by 2018. Tech-related industries also look promising in the next decade. One thing to note: stay away from the construction industry, at least for now. The demand for housing doesn’t look like it’s going to rebound anytime soon. As an architecture student, this news isn’t exactly music to my years. Oh well, I could always start applying to medical schools right?
Evan Thomas is a senior at UCSB studying architecture and the environment. He plans to study sustainable architecture in grad school with the particular aim of planning and developing smarter, more eco-friendly communities.