When choosing a major, it’s helpful to look to the career fields with the best job outlook. A college degree requires a significant investment of time and money — by choosing a fast-growing or stable field, it’s easier to get a higher return on that investment. Even better? The promise of stable, lucrative employment is a motivating factor that helps students get the most from each class.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare field offers some of the best job outlooks in the United States. It’s easy to see why — as long as there are people, there’s a need for healthcare workers. Jobs for home physician assistants are expected to grow by 31 percent between 2018 and 2028. People in this position earn an average of $108,610, which means that in addition to plenty of job opportunities, graduates can expect to earn excellent salaries.
Nurse practitioners are also expected to be in demand, with a projected growth of 28 percent between 2018 and 2028. Other fast-growing healthcare professions include physical therapist assistants (27 percent) and genetic counselors 27 percent, according to the BLS.
Renewable energy has been gaining traction — and it shows in the job outlook for the field. In fact, the fastest-growing field in the U.S. is solar photovoltaic installers. Between 2018 and 2028, this profession is expected to grow by 63 percent. These professionals design, install and maintain solar energy systems, both in residential and commercial applications. The reason for this growth is likely motivated by climate change and the increasing interest in energy sources that do not require non-renewable natural resources such as oil and coal. Solar installers have a median salary of $42,680, according to 2018 BLS data.
The second-fastest growing profession is wind turbine service technicians, with projected job growth of 57 percent. Like solar installers, these workers handle all aspects of wind turbine installation and operation. For workers with college degrees, it’s possible to move up to higher-paying positions within solar companies. As with solar energy, wind is a renewable resource that’s poised to be an important energy source in the coming decades.
As Big Data becomes an increasingly important part of business operations, the related careers are also growing quickly. Jobs for statisticians have an expected growth of 30 percent; mathematician jobs will grow by 26 percent. Both of these positions can work in government, science, research, engineering, or business fields. The BLS states that both careers come with high salaries, making them promising options for college graduates. Statisticians earned an average of $87,780 in 2018, while mathematicians earned $101,900 per year.
For students who are choosing a degree program, it’s helpful to consider the job prospects after graduation. Fields with plenty of jobs, a high job-growth rate, and reasonable average salaries can make the educational investment worthwhile. By choosing career fields with the best job outlook, it’s easier to make the most of a two-year or four-year college degree.