College majors that do best in the job market

Julia Kuhn, Features Writer

One of the main reasons people go to college is to get better jobs, and what a student chooses to major in is the determining factor for if they will find a job once graduated from college.

Only 45.9 percent of college graduates under age 25 have jobs requiring a college degree, with the rest holding jobs like bar tending or waiting tables, looking for work, or out of the labor force altogether, according to a 2011 study by the New York Times.

“One major that seems to lead to a high unemployment rate is business. A lot of kids start in business either because their parents are in business or they don’t know what else to do,” Carl Krause, College/Career Counselor, said. “Another degree that a lot of people are having trouble finding a job for is education. Whenever there’s a job opening here at the high school, there are a hundred applicants looking for that job.”

The majors with the worst placement records were business (55.6 percent of graduates had a degree-requiring job) and humanities (45.4 percent of graduates had a degree-requiring job), according to the same New York Times study.

But for each degree that leaves graduates struggling to find a job, there is a field of study in which jobs opportunities are opening up.

“Health care jobs will have the most job openings in the future. Physician assistants and nursing are some of the hottest fields right now. Especially as the population gets older, jobs like home health care aides will open up, along with physical therapists,” Diane Willock, District 95 Career Mentor, said. “Another fast growing field is anything with technology, like computer engineers and technicians.”

The careers requiring a bachelor’s degree with the most job openings in 2018 include jobs in education, health care, technology, engineering, and accounting, according to the College Board. But not all jobs require a bachelor’s degree, and some two year degrees are predicted to have scores of job opportunities.

“There are some two year degrees that will get up to half the jobs in the next ten years,” Krause said. “Jobs like health care assistants, computer technicians, dental hygienists, and construction managers…those are all careers that may not require a four year degree.”

The best thing to do, no matter what a student chooses to major in, is to get experience in that field, Willock said.

“Students should definitely look for internships where they can get job experience, because, especially in this rough economic time, businesses are looking for employees that already know what to do and don’t have to learn on the job,” Willock said. “Something students can do in high school is try job shadowing for a day to get experience and see if that’s the right career.”   

For students who might not know what to major in, Krause says the best advice is to go to college undecided.

“I tell students to go in undecided: you’re not alone, over half of college students go in undecided, it’s a pretty common thing now,” Krause said. “Whatever you major in, make sure it’s the right thing for you.”