College Advice Blog

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Feb 23, 2012

College Majors with the Lowest Unemployment Rate

These days it literally pays to know which college majors are going to deliver job offers upon graduation.  With the recession dragging on, college students can expect higher tuition and less assistance, which means graduating with no small amount of debt to be repaid, and most will head into a job market that could be described as highly competitive at best (and cannibalistic at worst).  So choosing a field of study that is more likely to have openings is essential to securing quick placement after graduation.  And while disciplines like medicine and law are generally at the top of the list, you might be surprised at which growing industries have available jobs even in this economy.  So here are just a few areas that seem to have the lowest unemployment rate today and prospects for jobs in the near future.

  • Engineering.  Whether you’re considering an occupation in mechanical, civil, or computer engineering, you should know that this is one field that has continued to grow throughout the recession.  While you should probably avoid the aerospace industry, considering recent cutbacks, areas that are growing rapidly include chemical engineering (consumer products, mainly), computer engineering (hardware and software development), and green technologies.
  • Finance.  It shouldn’t come as any surprise that this industry is growing, considering how many people are in need of financial services these days.  But you don’t necessarily want to go into banking or mortgage lending (where layoffs have been massive).  Instead consider shooting for a CPA license; whether you go corporate or private sector, everyone is looking for help from accountants these days.
  • Computer technology.  Have you stopped to think about just how much we depend on computers and mobile devices these days?  And many students entering college have at least a basic understanding of this field simply because they use these products every day.  So whether you’re interested in working in information systems or you’d rather program apps for the iPhone, consider this major as a place to start.
  • Marketing.  Believe it or not, there are still plenty of jobs out there for those that perhaps aren’t as technically-minded.  Marketing is a great way to mix business and pleasure for those that are more creative.  Just make sure that you have a specialization (like a minor in communications, international business, or finance, for example) so that you are better equipped to compete in the job market.
  • Design.  Entertainment and aesthetic expenses are often the first thing to be cut from the budget during the lean times.  So jobs in the arts (fine, performing, or other) may not be the best career path at the moment.  But for those interested in various fields of design, there could be a silver lining.  The fashion industry, in particular, seems to be on the rise in terms of job opportunities.  And since people with money always want to be fashionable, this may be just the type of artistic occupation you’re looking for.
While it can definitely be difficult to shell out the big bucks required to attend college, you have to think of it as an investment in your future.  And making a wise investment is paramount, so you really need to choose a major that is going to deliver your best chance at getting a job.  However, you can also find ways to cut costs, such as attending community college or looking into the top online colleges (you can find lists of the 50 best online colleges, including those that are accredited, by searching the internet or checking out U.S. News and World Report).  Every little bit helps, but it starts with knowing where the jobs are.
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About The Author
Evan Fischer is a contributing writer for Used GeoEngines, where used GEO engines are shipped nationwide daily. 
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