Top 10 Hot Degrees In College For In-Demand Careers

Are you unsure about what course to take up in college?  Or are you an employee who’s trying to move up the ladder by going back to school?

Regardless of what goal you have in mind, here are 10 in-demand college degrees that you might want to consider:


1. Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum Engineering

Median Pay: $130,280.00 for May 2012 (Source: US BLS)

Production engineers ensure the installation, operation and maintenance of oil field equipment.  On the other hand, drilling engineers develop and design methods to locate and extract oil/gas from underneath the surface of the earth, as well as from older wells.

As long as oil remains an important source of energy, the demand for petroleum engineers will be as crucial.



2. Information Technology/Computer Science

Information Technology/Computer Science

Median Pay: $120,950.00 for May 2012 (Source: US BLS)

IT managers and computer systems managers are in charge of all computer-related activities in any organization. These include the basic jobs such as installing and upgrading computer hardware and software. Delicate tasks include the security of a company’s computer network and electronic files. They also develop new technology to upgrade the existing computer systems of the company.

With the growing importance of cyber security and the increase of company’s usage of wireless and mobile networks, the need for personnel in the IT field will be continuous.



3. Finance/Business Administration

Business Administration

Median Pay: $109,740.00 for May 2012 (Source: US BLS)

Finance managers are responsible for the financial well-being of an organization. They create financial records and reports that reflect the financial status of the company. They are also tasked to assist management in making financial investments. They are involved in budgeting, cost-cutting, and profit-building.



4. Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering

Astronautical Engineering

Median Pay: $103,720.00 for May 2012 (Source: US BLS)

Known in popular culture as Rocket Science, Aerospace Engineering deals with the research, design, manufacture and testing of aircraft, spacecraft and aerospace products.

Aeronautics are for aircrafts that travel within the earth, while astronautics are for those that travel outside the earth’s atmosphere. This field is also into developing new technology for satellites, missiles and defense systems.



5. Applied Mathematics

Applied Mathematics

Median Pay: $101,360.00 for May 2012 (Source: US BLS)

People with math skills have become very valuable to employers because of the data-driven market we now have. Mathematicians who analyze data and make forecasts based on them are crucial in any problem solving situations be it in the academics, business industry, or government.

Not all who have a Math degree in college end up as mathematicians. There are also those who become financial analysts, computer systems analysts or even economists.



6. Economics


Median Pay: $91,860.00 (Source: US BLS)

Economists study and analyze economic issues. They interpret and forecast market trends. Most of them work for private employers and help companies understand how the economy will affect their business.  Other private jobs include those in research firms and international organizations like the World Bank or United Nations. There is also a lot of economic work in the federal, state and local government.

With the complexity of the global economy and a more competitive business industry, the demand for economists is expected to grow by 14% from 2012-2022



7. Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering

Median Pay: $86,960.00 for May 2012 (Source: US BLS)

Biomedical Engineers combine engineering with the medical field in order to find solutions that improve patient care. These involve the design of artificial organs and devices that replace body parts such as kidneys, knees and hips.

They also install, maintain, repair and provide technical support for biomedical equipment. There are also biomedical engineers who become post-secondary teachers or university professors.



8. Nursing


Median Pay: $65,470.00 for May 2012 (Source: US BLS)

Nursing is one of the most popular degrees in college worldwide. The demand for nurses is projected to grow by 19% from 2012-2022 due to the increase of the aging population and as a result of the federal health insurance reform.

Nurses provide patient care and educate the public in general about health issues and conditions. Being a registered nurse usually leads to becoming an APRN ( Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) or nurses with a specialty role like anesthetist nurse, midwife nurse and Nurse Practitioners. APRN’s have a higher 2012 median pay of $96,460.00.



9. Accounting


Median Pay: $63,550.00 (Source: US BLS)

Accountants and auditors deal with financial records of a company. They ensure that they are prepared, summarized and interpreted according to applicable laws and regulations.

Aside from preparation of financial statements, they are also responsible for ensuring accurate computation and prompt payment of taxes.

In addition, auditors review financial records and operations and ensure quality and conformity with company’s policies and procedures.



10. Education


Median Pay:$50,120.00 to $68,970.00 for May 2012 (Source: US BLS)

As a teacher, you may handle students ranging from the youngest children ( kindergarten teachers) to college students (postsecondary teachers). There are also those who teach technical courses like culinary and auto repair.

But education is not limited to teaching — there are also those who become Principals and Administrators whose median pay range from $86,490.00 to $87,760.00.

Demand for graduates in education will increase due to retirements and the increase in the number of children and adults enrolled in different types of schools.




For Science, Technology, Engineering and Math disciplines, the US Department of Defense has the  SMART Scholarship ( Science, Math & Research for Transformation) to support both undergraduate and graduate students.

The grant includes full tuition and other school related expenses, health insurance reimbursement, and paid summer internships. However, applicants must be willing to work for the Department of Defense after graduation.

Scholarship America is an educational philanthropic organization that grants scholarships and educational support to students in various communities across the United States.

Most universities have various scholarships for different college courses. Requirements for these scholarships vary depending on the sponsoring organization. But usually, a grade requirement has to be maintained or the student must fulfill a post-graduation employment contract.



Final Thoughts

Success is not just a word. It is an equation. Having the right college degree is just as important as having the right experience and the skills needed for the job.  These are equal parts of the success equation.  So choose the right college degree and have your own winning formula.


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