Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Where the Best Jobs Are Today

What are the best college majors for students who want a lucrative career and low unemployment in their field?  Recently, the Kiplinger magazine ranked the top ten (you can find the slideshow here:, starting with “Pharmacy and “Pharmaceutical Sciences,” where starting salaries average $42,100 and mid-career salaries average $120,000.  Unemployment rates for these graduates are 2.5%, and job growth is projected at 36.4% a year.  This degree leads to a career as a pharmacist or researcher in the pharmaceutical industry (designing and developing drugs).

Second on the list is “Computer Science,” with a starting salary averaging $58,400, mid-career: $100,000.  Job growth is projected at 18.7% a year, and the unemployment rate for these graduates is 4.7%.  Students are advised to master computer languages C++ and Java, and be prepared to work in artificial intelligence, computer system organization and digital system design.

Third?  “Civil Engineering” ($53,800; $88,800, 19.4% job growth and 4% unemployment rate).  These are the people who design and supervise large construction projects--like airports, sewer systems and tunnels.

Numbers four through ten are “Information Systems Management” (which marries computer courses with project management skills); “Nursing;” “Information Systems” (implementing technology within a company or organization, often best supplemented with a minor in business); “Finance” (requiring economics, statistics and calculus, plus accounting and financial markets courses); “Mathematics” (mastering number theory and real analysis for work with government and scientific research teams); “Information Science” (database management and programming, plus study of human-computer interaction); and “Construction: (requires a solid foundation of math and science courses, including the physics of building a structure and the accounting to build the budget for it).

The magazine also ranked the worst careers: the list included “Human Services and Community Organization” ($32,900; $41,100; 8.1% unemployment rate); “Fine Arts” ($31,800; $53,700; 7.3%); “Social Work” ($33,100; $45,300; 6.5% unemployment rate); “Early Childhood Education ($29,200; $37,600; 5.5% unemployment rate); “Art History” ($36,400; $54,000; 8.3%); “Interdisciplinary Studies” (majors you design yourself; $37,500; $51,000; 8.5%); “Studio Arts” ($35,700; $53,200; 7.3%); “Mass Media” ($34,400; $59,800; 7.9%); “Humanities” ($35,600; $60,100; 9.8%); and “Family Consumer Sciences” (aka Home Economics; $34,700; $47,800; 5.6%). 

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