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What Are the Most Profitable College Degrees?

Updated on July 8, 2014
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Sara has been a Freelance Writer and Editor since 2007, currently in Cincinnati, OH. With a lifelong dream of writing this is it for her!

Introduction: The Advice to Follow My Dreams and Goals

I have been thinking so much lately about my college degree considering the limited job selection out there, or at least the high competition level for the jobs that are available. So my mind often wanders back to the days before I left for college and the vague advice that I received from my stepmother that was something of the following… “Just be sure you get a degree. You can major whatever you are interested in, just be sure you get a high GPA, but graduate well and there will be a job out there for you when you get out.” I guess she was thinking of the economy from her younger days when she was graduating from high school and getting an earlier job with a larger corporation and able to move up the ladder slowly and stay with that company for many years. Oh, things are not quite the same this day in age. So I was thinking about those millions of young high school graduates getting ready to head off to college and planning on their majors and thinking of their passions for the future and what they want to do with the rest of their lives, and if their advice should be more along the lines of what the most prominent careers available for the future are than simply what they love and want to do might be. They might want to look at a list of what they best options available are and take a moment to think of which of those options might look to be the most promising.

I Loved My College Major, But Was That Good Enough?

So, when I set out for college I thought of my passion for books and writing and became an English and Comparative Literature major. I loved reading books and writing papers and hoped to become a writer or editor someday. Even though I did eventually graduate from college with a very high GPA those jobs were not very easy to acquire in my hometown, and with limited writing experience and limited ability to move away to another city my hopes and dreams were a bit null. So I have done a little reading to see what the best options to choose from for some of those youngsters out there thinking of what there college major should be when they are setting out for campus in the next year or two and planning what their lifelong career should be for the next thirty or forty years.

New Graduates Find Themselves Under or Unemployed Too Often

In my research I saw numbers from the past few years that showed very high percentages of unemployment for even those degrees that are considered very desirable by hiring managers.
In my research I saw numbers from the past few years that showed very high percentages of unemployment for even those degrees that are considered very desirable by hiring managers.

Researchers Show Some of The Majors That Managers Look For the Most

Some Forbes articles over the last couple of years have discussed the most valuable and employable college degrees and majors as they are rated in order of selection by hiring managers. One article published with some information released from the 2014 graduating class stated that some of the degrees chosen most often in order of selection were Business, Engineering, Accounting, Computer Science and Economics. Another 2012 article printed some information from the Associated Press discussing the employability of the most recent graduating class overall, stating that overall 53.6% were either jobless or underemployed 10 months after graduation, leading me to believe that even at that time the issue was even a great deal to do with the job market as a whole and not just the types of jobs that are available. Another 2013 Forbes article released information on job offers to graduates, although not necessarily whether their jobs were specifically within their fields: Computer Science majors were 69% employed, Economics majors were 62% employed, Accounting majors 61% employed and Engineering majors 59% employed. At this time Liberal Arts graduates were at the worst rate with History majors at 40%, English majors at 33% and Visual and Performing Arts majors only at 28%.

Choosing a High Value University and Degree is Common Sense

In another location I read that overall for salary and career development the best path to take is Engineering in all concentrations and specifications. Now, these majors are not necessarily offered in all universities, for instance something like the petroleum engineering field which would have to be searched out specifically if that were something you would want to look into at a high quality university, but in the end it is one of the highest paying fields and would be a very profitable and quality career to embark upon. Many Engineering majors are difficult degrees and highly demanding within their schools and will leave some students hanging after the first year because they are not able to fulfill the needs of the program. Some other majors and degrees that can pay well and provide very valuable skills of which managers are looking are Math, Science, Physics, Technology and Statistics.

Conclusion: A Difficult Decision Everyday

Now, if any of these things had entered my mind, considering the demands of the corporate world rather than my own passions and personal goals I may have altered my own college major around what corporate managers were looking for in the skills and degrees of so many people. I know that I have a lot of work experience and many valuable office skills, however I am also competing against hundreds of other people with great skills and experience for the same jobs every day. It’s a tough economy and job market out there so think carefully walking into that college campus. Good luck!


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