What Degree Should You Get?


When deciding on a major to study in college, people often look for the option that will bring the most return on their investment. For many students, trying to decide between a field that they are interested in with one that has high employment prospects is one of the most difficult aspects of deciding on a degree to pursue. Considering that the average salary for all bachelor’s degrees is $39,900 a year, simply earning any four year degree can put most people on a better career path than those without a degree. Continuing on with higher education can increase a graduate’s salary even in a slow economy. On average, holding a master’s degree in accounting will bring a salary of $49,100; computer science $57,100; and engineering $58,100.

The most popular majors among students are information systems, business, statistics, nursing, social work, multimedia, web design, environmental science, and e-commerce. When seeking to fill positions, employers normally require specific degrees. 67% of all vacant positions require the applicant to hold a specific degree. 22% of those required degrees are technical, 19% are business-related, and 26% are miscellaneous degrees. Even more specifically, 10% of the technical degrees in demand are related to computer science and 6% of requested business degrees are in accounting. Human resources degrees are specifically required for 5% of the remaining miscellaneous category.

Is a Degree Enough?

Holding a degree generally qualifies a person for more jobs than before, but sometimes employers are looking for skills that a prospective employee should possess in addition to their education. For instance, many employers have reported seeking out job candidates who show high flexibility. They look for individuals who can easily transition from one role to the next while demonstrating both professional and soft, personal skills. Seeking out and participating in internships can complement a degree and increase a graduate’s chances of finding employment. Studies show that 62% of employers use internships to find employees and on average hire 31 candidates per year who hold bachelor’s degrees from internships.

Job Outlook

Earning a degree can open a lot of career opportunities, but the number of job candidates holding a bachelor’s degree has dropped in many places across the U.S. Regions like the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, that have large populations and dense cities, have seen hiring fall by as much 8%. Even the Southeast and Southwest, areas that have experienced a lot of growth in the last few decades, have seen hiring drop by 7%. Internationally, the demand for job candidates has dropped by 4% between 2009 and 2010.

Some of the most lucrative industries are reporting shifts in their hiring trends. Engineering employers are reporting that traditional hiring sectors for engineers, such as manufacturing architectural engineering, are all reducing their hiring. There are also reports that the need for accounting majors is slowing.

Despite these trends, hiring candidates with a bachelor’s degree has increased by 4% in the Northwest and 6% in the South Central states. Overall, the United States has experienced a 3% increase in hiring, and there are many ways that a potential candidate can increase their probability of finding work. 61% of businesses have reported using career fairs to find qualified employees, with an average of 36 bachelor’s degree-holding hires from career fairs. Using social media can also increase the chance of finding work. At least 26% of businesses have reported finding an average of 50 qualified employees per year through social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facbeook.

Further Studies

If you are interested in hiring statistics, consider studying statistics. You will learn how to identify trends and arrange data in a coherent manner for employers. You might also consider a degree in counseling. Counseling courses will teach you to help direct others toward an educational or career path that is right for them. Human resources is also an educational path to consider. Learning the intricacies of hiring and recruitment will provide you the tools to stay on top of labor trends.

What Degree Should You Get?