health care degree and jobsIf you want to be guaranteed a job when you graduate, you’ll want to consider the following top three college degrees. These are the degrees that lead to real jobs in the current market, regardless of the economic climate.

How did we determine these rankings? Lucky for us, a consulting firm did it first. Challenger, Gray & Christmas took a poll to identify the top college degrees. They surveyed 100 different human resource professionals, asking which degrees were most desirable in new college grads. The poll summary determined the following are the degrees most sought-after by employers:

1. Health Care Degree

Health care continues to perform well, even in the worst economic conditions. Why? No matter what happens, we still need health care. Thanks to an aging population and continual advances in medicine, the demand for health care workers remains strong.

With a degree in health care, you’ll open yourself up to a variety of job opportunities. Consider anything from a traditional RN nurse position to a specialized job as an ultrasound technician or an anesthesiologist. Talk to your college counselor about the many options inside the umbrella of health care.

Highlight: RN Nursing Degree

As of 2010, the median hourly wage for an RN (nurse) was $31.10/hour, or $64,690 a year. Over 1,500,000 nurses were employed at hospitals, and about 230,000 nurses were employed by physicians in private offices. Approximately 140,000 nurses worked for home health care service organizations and just slightly fewer (about 130,000) worked for nursing home facilities.

Want to know where all the nursing jobs are? The states with the highest employment percentages (nursing positions per 1,000 jobs available) were: Rhode Island, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Kentucky. The top paying states were: California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Alaska and Maryland.

2. Business Administration Degree

If you get a degree in business administration, you will find a lot of employment doors will open for you. Just about every business needs a good staff of administrators, and you’ll find everything from vice president of operations to human resource types of positions.

Highlight: Administrative Services Managers

As of 2010, the median hourly wage for an administrative service manager was $37.45/hour, or $77,890 a year. You’ll find most of the administrative service managers working in local governments, at colleges and universities, in private companies, in hospitals, and in state governments.

Want to know where all the administrative service manager jobs are? The states with the highest employment percentages (administrative service manager positions per 1,000 jobs available) were: California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Georgia. The top paying states were: New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Rhode Island and New Jersey.

3. Computer Science Degree

If you are a techie extraordinaire, you might as well parlay your love for your laptop into a lucrative employment opportunity. A degree in computer science can help you get into programming, software engineering, IT design and support, network design and support, and software architecture positions.

Highlight: Computer Programmer

As of 2010, the median hourly wage for a computer programmer was $85,430 a year, but computer programming salaries vary widely depending on what particular programming languages you learn and what sort of work environment you choose. You’ll find exceptional flexibility in this field since many programmers can work from home, work remotely, find contract positions all over the world, or choose a more traditional, corporate environment. The possibilities are almost endless, depending on how entrepreneurial you are and what you desire to pursue.

Choosing Your Degree

Want to know who the runner-ups were? Accounting (or finance) degrees came in fourth place, engineering degrees came in fifth, and marketing degrees came in sixth.

When choosing your degree, you’ll want to consider the following factors:

  • What kind of job can I get with this degree?
  • What is the average salary range?
  • Will I be able to find this job in an area where I want to live?

To answer this question and others related to jobs and employment, check out the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. (That’s where we found all our information about the jobs highlighted above.) You’ll find up-to-date information on just about every possible job and college degree.

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