What College Majors Will Actually Help You Land A Job?

Great news for recent grads: The job market finally seems to be on the upswing. Employment rates for college grads continue to grow, and while earnings remain flat, we might hit pre-recession employment levels as soon as 2017. However, a recent Georgetown study finds that your major does have a big impact on whether you’ll find a job.

If you want a nearly guaranteed career, elementary education is the way to go: Only 5.1% of that cohort was unemployed after graduation. Other great bets were nursing (4.8%), followed by chemistry and agriculture (4.5 %). A lot of majors we think of as practically guaranteed job-finders (stuff like engineering, medicine, and the sciences) have very low unemployment rates in general, but often not until a couple of years after graduation — a.k.a. until you get an advanced degree. 

If you dream of designing skyscrapers, it might be tough to land a gig: Architecture students had the worst employment rate, with 10.3% of recent grads still searching for jobs (largely due to a drop in building during the recession). The majors just behind architecture are: the social sciences (10.1%), the arts (9.5%), psychology, and social work (9%). The humanities and liberal arts have a pretty low ranking, at 8.4%. Those of us who studied journalism hit 8.2% unemployment — and that rate is on the rise. Whatever your major, though, the study finds that those who do graduate are still much better off; recent college grads have about double the employment rates of their peers who stopped their studies after high school.

Generally, the trend in U.S. employment is positive. But, another thing to keep in mind: Just because your degree is in a field with a slightly higher unemployment rate doesn’t mean you won’t end up better off in the long run. In 2012, education majors — though more or less guaranteed to find a job upon graduation — had an average annual salary of only $33K. Engineers — though they might have been on the hunt a little longer — made $138K. Only you can decide whether that $100,000 is worth the extra time spent living in your parents’ basement. (The Washington Post)
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