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Top 15 College Majors for the Future
As industries evolve and the demand for certain jobs increases, some college majors promise especially rewarding career paths. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top 15 college majors that lead to the best job prospects.
We’ve paid close attention to the demand for certain jobs across industries, basing our list on the fastest growing occupations according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Note that some of these professions require only a certificate or associate’s degree, while others call for a bachelor’s, master’s, or even doctoral degree. Let’s get started!
1. Wind Turbine Installation
Wind energy is a rapidly expanding field. In fact, wind turbine technician jobs are expected to grow by 45% over the next decade – the fastest growing profession in the U.S.
Windtechs install, maintain, and repair wind turbines. They generally work outdoors, in confined spaces, and often at great heights.
Career: Wind Turbine Technician
2022 Median Pay: $57,230 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 45%
Nursing is one of the fastest-growing fields in the healthcare industry. Within the field of nursing, there are a wide range of career paths. With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing you could become a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or a specialized nurse in a number of areas.
While the field of nursing as a whole is generally trending upward, nurse practitioner (NP) jobs in particular are quickly expanding. NPs serve as primary and specialty care providers, delivering advanced nursing services to patients. To become a nurse practitioner, you must obtain a B.S. in Nursing and complete an NP-focused advanced degree program.
Career: Nurse Practitioner
2022 Median Pay: $125,900 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 38%
Career: Registered Nurse
2022 Median Pay: $81,220 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 6%
Also see: Top nursing scholarships
3. Data Science, Statistics, and Mathematics
In today’s information-driven world, data science, statistics, and mathematics are extremely valuable fields of study. Across all industries, businesses are turning to data to predict consumer behavior, improve decision-making, and tweak marketing strategies. So, it makes sense that there’s such a high demand for individuals who understand the science of data.
These professionals, often referred to as data scientists, help companies make sense of information that can improve their business practices. Data science is a relatively new field of employment and is expected to expand rapidly.
To become a data scientist, students typically major in data science or a related field such as mathematics, statistics, or computer science. A master’s degree is sometimes required, depending on the specific job position and employer.
Career: Data scientist
2022 Median Pay: $103,500 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 35%
Career: Statistician and Mathematicians
2022 Median Pay: $99,960 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 30%
4. Computer Science and Software Engineering
In today’s digital world, there’s a big demand for college graduates with a degree in a computer-related field. From developing websites to mining data to making advancements in artificial intelligence, there’s an abundance of opportunities in this field. Jobs in information security, software development, and computer research are expected to expand rapidly throughout the coming years.
As the demand for new and better technology grows, the demand for these jobs will grow as well. Depending on the specific field they wish to enter, students may want to concentrate their computer science degree in a certain area. Popular concentrations include artificial intelligence, information security, data science, software engineering, and programming languages.
Career: Information Security Analyst
2022 Median Pay: $112,000 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 32%
2022 Median Pay: $124,200 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 25%
2022 Median Pay: $136,620 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 23%
Related: Information science major overview
5. Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administrators work on the management side of healthcare. They ensure that hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes run efficiently by overseeing finances and coordinating health services. They may oversee an entire facility, or a specific clinic or department.
Most individuals have at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration before entering the field, but master’s degrees are also common. Due to the aging of the Baby Boomer population, an increased demand for healthcare service professionals is expected.
2022 Median Pay: $104,830 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 28%
Epidemiology helps identify populations that are at risk for certain diseases, and why they occur. It’s at a crossroads between research and medicine, and your findings could be the start to preventing illnesses in certain groups. Epidemiologists also analyze the spread of diseases as well, which is extremely important after the coronavirus outbreak.
In order to become an epidemiologist, you must achieve at least a master’s degree in a medical field such as public health. This means that you will have to finish four years of undergraduate and apply to graduate school to be on the right track.
2022 Median Pay: $78,520 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 27%
7. Physician Assistant Education
While becoming a physician assistant seems like the same track as becoming a doctor, you will actually shave off a few years pursuing this career. Physician assistants usually spend their four years in a medical related major, though it’s not required, before applying to PA school.
PAs fulfill similar responsibilities as physicians, but they are under direct supervision of surgeons or physicians. There’s a variety of medical fields that PAs can work in, and they are often able to examine and diagnose patients.
Career: Physician Assistant
2022 Median Pay: $126,010 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 27%
8. Physical Therapy
Physical therapists are movement experts who help patients improve their quality of life through prescribed exercise and hands-on care. They treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to senior citizens. Most patients have injuries or disabilities that require treatment.
The demand for physical therapists and their assistants is increasing due to the large number of aging Baby Boomers, as well as the recent rise of conditions such as diabetes and obesity. A doctor of physical therapy (PT) degree is required to become a physical therapist.
However, there’s no specific bachelor’s degree required to pursue the profession. Most undergraduate students with plans to pursue PT choose to major in exercise science, kinesiology, biology, health science, or psychology. An associate’s degree is required to become a PT assistant.
Career: Physical Therapist Assistant
2022 Median Pay: $57,240 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 19%
Career: Physical Therapist
2022 Median Pay: $97,720 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 15%
Career: Occupational Therapist
2022 Median Pay: $93,180 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 12%
9. Actuarial Science
Actuaries work with companies to predict financial risk of certain events and minimize it. As a result, they are extremely important for insurance companies to continue operating. Some of their responsibilities are similar to accountants and financial analysts.
Therefore, actuaries typically start out with an undergraduate degree in mathematics, statistics, business administration, and other related fields. Students can also pursue additional certifications to diversify their resumes as well.
2022 Median Pay: 113,990 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 23%
10. Operations Research Analysis
If you love problem solving, operations research analysis might be the major for you! As the name indicates, operations research is dedicated to identifying problems within businesses and organizations to improve operations. People in this profession collect data to effectively create and implement solutions.
Since data is imperative in this major, statistics and math are heavily involved as well. It also requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree may be required for certain positions. Degrees should be in mathematics, business, computer science, and other related fields.
Career: Operations Research Analyst
2022 Median Pay: $85,720 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 23%
11. Solar Panel Installation
Another quickly growing field is solar energy. As more and more households turn to solar power as an alternate form of energy, the demand for solar photovoltaic (PV) installers is skyrocketing. These professionals assemble and maintain rooftop systems that convert sunlight into energy.
By 2029, it’s expected that there will be 51% more solar panel installation jobs. PV installers learn their trade by taking courses at technical school or community college, while also receiving on-the-job training. A bachelor’s degree is not required to pursue this profession.
Career: Solar Photovoltaic Installer
2022 Median Pay: $46,470 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 51%
12. Home Healthcare
As we’ve mentioned, Baby Boomers are beginning to get older, which has caused a rise in several medical related fields. Home healthcare aides in particular assists older adults, people with disabilities, and severe illnesses with day-to-day tasks. This can include but isn’t limited to administering medication, housekeeping, and other caregiving activities.
In order to fulfill a role in home healthcare, you have to complete training and certification for your state and/or program. A college degree isn’t required, but aides must graduate from high school or have a GED equivalent.
2022 Median Pay: $30,180 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 22%
Related: Public health major overview
13. Taxi Services
Despite the popularity of Uber and Lyft, openings for taxi drivers and chauffeurs are still increasing. Drivers in this field take people where they need to go and perform maintenance activities on their vehicle. It’s important to know the routes of the area and be highly vigilant on the road.
There is no education requirement for this career, but there will likely be a training period upon being hired. Drivers will also need to acquire a taxi or limo license on top of a traditional driver’s license.
Career: Taxi Driver
2022 Median Pay: $32,440 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 14%
14. Veterinary Technology
Specializing in veterinary technology means assisting veterinarians in the very important task of keeping people’s pets healthy. Students in this major can either go into the research side as a veterinary technologist or work in a vet clinic as a veterinary technician. Veterinary technicians work directly with veterinarians and conduct animal exams and tests.
Depending on if you’re a technician or technologist, your schooling requirements will differ. Veterinary technicians require at least an associate’s degree while veterinary technologists must complete a four-year bachelor’s program.
Career: Veterinary Technician
2022 Median Pay: $38,240 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 21%
See also: How to become a veterinarian
15. Animal Caretaking
Animal caretakers are responsible for the overall care of many different types of animals. These responsibilities include bathing, feeding, performing maintenance on enclosures, and more. They also don’t have to just work at a veterinary clinic since their options include places like aquariums and zoos!
Anyone that has a high school diploma or equivalent and a passion for animals can get started in this career. However, you can get certifications to set yourself apart when applying for positions.
2022 Median Pay: $34,740 per year
Growth Rate (2022-2032): 20%
As you can see, there’s many promising majors that lead to lucrative and rewarding careers. The key is to choose a field of study that you’re passionate about. Don’t declare your major based on job prospects alone. Choosing a major is an important decision that has a long term impact. You want to end up with a stable career, of course, but you should also enjoy the work that you’re doing. If you can find something that checks both boxes, you should absolutely pursue it.