10 of the Most Employable College Majors for the 2020s
With rising education costs and an increasingly online experience for students, you may be wondering what the most employable college majors for the 2020s will be. Of course, an interest in the subject is vital for success, but if you’re weighing up your options, the following list could help you define the best majors for employability. Read on for the top 10 most employable college majors for the 2020s.
It may come as no surprise that medicine is one of the most employable college majors out there. It’s a demanding major and career for sure, but one that comes with unique rewards, responsibilities, and opportunities. Indeed, anesthesiologists are ranked the number one highest-paid profession in numerous lists, including Investopedia’s. Salaries in excess of $250,000 are common in this speciality, and there’s no sign of demand slowing any time soon. There are numerous other in-demand fields, from radiology to oral and maxillofacial surgery, and you may have the chance to set up a private practice.
You’ll need a thorough grounding in sciences, especially biology and chemistry, to get through your pre-med program and advance on to medicine. Medicine is a field that often requires long hours and working at odd times, and the pressures can be immense. However, few jobs could be more rewarding than helping your fellow citizens get well and stay healthy.
2) Computer Science
A lot of experts are predicting that the world will become increasingly run by artificial intelligence technology, but before humanity gets there, it will take the work of many talented computer scientists to make it happen. Computer science is a major that can lead to jobs in numerous environments. You could get in on the ground floor at an exciting new tech start-up, or start straight away at one of the world’s biggest corporations, like Microsoft or Apple.
Computer scientists are also employed across a range of specialties, from backend development to user interface/user experience programming. You could even go into web development, which offers opportunities as a self-employed businessperson, if that’s more your style. Whatever you choose within it, computer science offers a solid foundation for an in-demand, high-paid career.
Education is sometimes seen as a career that doesn’t pay as well as other professions, but one thing’s for certain, it’s a job that will be in demand for a very long time. The UK’s Office for National Statistics estimates that, alongside healthcare professionals, educators are the least likely to be replaced by robots as AI becomes more sophisticated. This is partly because of the complex nature of the role, as well as the fact that students, be they adults or children, need a human touch in their learning.
Education is certainly evolving, though. You could be teaching kindergartners how to read or preparing high schoolers for their AP history exams, but there are many specialties outside the school environment. Private tutors command high rates for their services, and this is a role that’s increasingly performed from the comfort of your home via Zoom. If you’re especially passionate about research, you could move into academia and teach at college level.
What better way to make money than to study it? Economics graduates are employed across a diverse range of fields, although traditionally they go into finance and banking roles. Mid-career, you could reasonably expect a salary that reaches six figures or higher. No matter whether the world is in the grips of a deep recession or is experiencing a boom, economists are always in demand.
A major in economics can also be the key to a very wide range of career options. It’s hard to think of an industry that wouldn’t need the skills of an economics graduate, so you can keep your options open with this degree if you’re choosing your major but aren’t quite set on a career path. Business management, another high-paying career, is another clear choice for someone who’s studied economics. If you’re interested in working as an independent consultant, then with some experience and the right qualifications you could even look at becoming a self-employed financial advisor.
Like medicine, nursing majors offer an excellent gateway into a respected, steady, well-paying career. A registered nurse in the United States can make a very good salary, ranging from around $50,000 to over $100,000 depending on experience and where you are in the country. California, Oregon, and Nevada are three of the highest-paying states for nurses. Working in big-city hospitals will tend to command higher salaries, although even a small-town registered nurse should make a comfortable wage.
Nursing also offers a range of specialties, including challenging but rewarding fields such as pediatric and mental health nursing. Working in an intensive care unit can be particularly tough, but is also one of the most important roles a nurse can do. Alternatively, you might be able to work in the community, perhaps as a geriatric or special needs specialist.
This is a classic profession with a well-established career path, which could see you working in a variety of environments. Accountants are in demand at some of the world’s largest organisations, so you could be working in-house and commanding a high salary for your services. Accounting agencies also exist throughout the country, and they carry out varied work for their clients across a range of fields.
It’s also fairly common for accountants to go it alone and become self-employed consultants. With the right experience and qualifications behind you, you could work on your own terms and charge strong rates for your services. Accountancy software is becoming more sophisticated all the time, but the world’s largest organisations are going to rely on human professionals to look after their financial affairs for a long time to come.
Among the classic sciences, physics is one of the most lucrative majors you can study in terms of career prospects. You could be working in a range of fields once you graduate, perhaps going straight into work as a lab technician, or continuing your studies and getting your PhD to specialize further. Physicists work in a range of disciplines, from traditional lab environments to astronomy and space centers.
With qualifications in physics, a move into education is another great option, whether at the school or higher level. Not all scientists yearn to be career academics, but if you find you have a passion for research, publishing papers, and making discoveries independently or as part of a team, physics is an excellent choice.
Biochemistry graduates attain a firm grounding in both biology and chemistry, which means they have a wide range of options for postgraduate study and employment prospects. You could move into a medical setting, perhaps helping to research the next major vaccine, or, as with physics, work in a less applied setting such as education. Biochemistry is a demanding major, as with all sciences, but the technical skills you’ll gain will be invaluable to employers.
Molecular biology is a good alternative for those who lean more towards the biological sciences. If you’re more into chemistry, you could consider specializing in chemical engineering, which is another of the best-paid career paths out there. It’s a difficult major that takes a certain type of mind to do well in, but biochemistry and its related fields offer a broad range of well-paying career options.
On the topic of engineering, you could really choose any branch of this demanding but well-paying career as your major. Civil, mechanical, aeronautical, and electrical engineering are just a few of the many options you’ll have. Depending on your interests, if you have the logical mind required for such a discipline, you could command a very nice salary at the end of your major. Engineering graduates often earn around $70,000 and higher, easily reaching six figures at the mid-career level.
The extremely complex and technical nature of all types of engineering means it’s a field that’s very unlikely to be replaced by automation any time soon. That said, a good grounding in computer science is helpful to most types of engineer, as you’ll likely be working with specialist software during your studies and in employment later on.
Rounding off the trio of healthcare-related careers, alongside medicine and nursing, pharmacology is one of the most in-demand and high-paying careers in the US and around the world right now. It takes an excellent grounding in biology and chemistry, and you’ll face quite a lot of competition to get into pharmacy programs at the best schools. But, if you put the work in and manage to get into pharmacology, it’s a highly-rewarding career, both in terms of money and personal satisfaction.
Pharmacists frequently work in hospital settings, but also in the community. You may also move into a research role, working in laboratories rather than in something more front-facing. Whatever the setting, pharmacists are sure to be in growing demand in the 2020s and beyond.
So, that’s the list of 10 of the most employable college majors for the 2020s. Hopefully, it’s offered you inspiration if you’ve been considering any of these majors. They’re all challenging in their own ways, but for the right type of person who can bring the passion and dedication to the role, they also offer secure employment and high salaries to match.