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Choosing a degree that prepares you for tomorrow’s workforce requires careful thought and consideration. What are you passionate about? How much money do you hope to make, and does career advancement matter?
Plenty of degrees have withstood the test of time, ensuring job security and lucrative opportunities even during the worst recessions or global pandemics.
However, arming yourself with the best education possible is paramount to achieving lifelong success. How do you do that? You must know which seven programs are the best college majors for the future.
Health care professionals are some of the most important workers in society — as highlighted by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, the United States has undergone a nursing shortage for nearly a decade, with over 1 million nurses expected to retire or quit by 2030.
COVID-19 exacerbated an exodus of nurses due to moral distress and burnout. Recently, 92% of hospitals reported their nurses leaving in droves. Approximately 66% of nurses have considered quitting due to the trauma they faced at the height of the pandemic.
Students who pursue nursing degrees can help close this employment gap. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 203,200 registered nurse vacancies will be available annually in the coming decade.
There’s a reason why students must take multiple math courses for several majors. Careers like statisticians and accountants require proficiencies in numbers and equations.
However, economists must also have excellent mathematical skills to research global economies, analyze numerical data, and create statistical models that forecast various market trends across all sectors of the economy.
Economist positions have a 6% job outlook by 2030, with experienced professionals earning a median wage of $105,630 per year.
3. Sustainability and Renewable Energy
The ongoing climate crisis has substantially driven employment growth in sustainability, climate adaptation and resilience, and renewable energy.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the U.S. employed 12 million people in renewable energy industries in 2021, up from 7.3 million people in 2012.
Students who pursue environmental degrees specializing in sustainable and energy sciences can become sustainability specialists, earning an average salary of $79,080 annually. Likewise, renewable energy technology specialists can earn between $43,500 and $104,000, depending on their education, experience, and skills.
As climate awareness rises, demand for these majors isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Students should consider a related degree for lucrative career opportunities.
Cybercrime continues to progress, threatening the loss, theft, and disclosure of our most sensitive data and assets.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported a 300% increase in cybercrime since the pandemic — with breaches costing U.S. companies an average of $116 million in damages. Small businesses, in particular, struggle to recover, with 60% closing within six months after a cyber attack.
Cybersecurity is among the best college majors for the future, providing students with the skills and know-how to pursue careers as information security analysts, security engineers, and penetration testers.
In fact, cybersecurity majors are so in demand that the BLS projects a 35% job growth for the field between now and 2030.
5. Electrical Engineering
Technical innovators might want to pursue an electrical engineering degree, on track to be one of the best college majors for the future.
When you consider the technology that electrical engineers build — from our smartphone microchips to 3D printers that enable streamlined constructs of project materials — these professionals make our lives much easier.
Electrical engineers are paid well at about $100,420 annually and rightfully so. These skilled professionals excel in computer sciences, electronics, and energy conversions, applying their learning to research, design, and development of new technologies.
Negativity has swirled the education sector for years, with a 15% to 16% turnaround of teaching professionals even before the pandemic. Many have underscored low wages and the lack of resources and support they receive to educate students effectively as their reasons.
According to a recent National Education Association (NEA) survey, 55% of teachers plan to leave the profession earlier than anticipated, mainly due to burnout following COVID-19 and remote learning.
While some might hesitate to become educators for one reason or another, good teachers are of the highest value to the nation’s students. The BLS projects employment growth of 7% in education in the coming decade, with 658,200 new job openings.
7. Construction Management
The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) released a report in early 2022 indicating a severe labor shortage in the construction industry.
With 1.2 million construction workers leaving the workforce in 2022, about 650,000 skilled laborers are needed to meet demands. The industry must also hire an additional 590,000 construction workers in 2023.
Construction majors are ideal for those who like working with their hands, building things, and want to work outdoors.
Plan Your Future Right With the Best College Major
Students have several options regarding the best college majors for the future. Of course, making the right decision comes down to what you’re most passionate about and can see yourself doing long-term.