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Five Majors That Let You Survive in the Double Dip Recession

Sep 19, 2011 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 1 Comments

The recession hasn’t been good for most people’s job prospects. The nationwide unemployment rate is up to approximately 9.1% according to statistics for July 2011—up from an average of 4.6% throughout 2005 and 2006, before the recession. There’s no question that recent college graduates have suffered, and new college students don’t have much reason to think the situation will improve before they graduate.

However, there are a few industries that are still thriving—despite challenging economic conditions. If you want to laugh in the face of the recession—and make sure you’ll have no trouble finding a job once you graduate college, no matter the economic climate, here are a few majors to look into.

Medical degree

Approximately half of job growth in the US is accounted for within the health care industry. This includes doctors as well as LPN’s and RN’s, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and more. As the Baby Boomer population ages, the need for qualified nursing and medical professionals is expected to expand—with a nationwide nursing shortage expected to last until at least 2050.

To enter this field, the type of degree you need varies widely depending on your chosen profession. Doctors need a Bachelor’s degree as well as a doctorate. Nurses can enter the profession with an Associate’s degree in nursing, although there are plenty of higher-paid opportunities for nurses with Bachelor’s and Masters degrees.

All specialties are expected to be in demand in the coming years. For a really recession-proof career, however, specialize in geriatrics.

Medical Student

Finding a job isn’t easy. However, you can give yourself an edge by choosing an industry that’s growing, even in tough economic times.

Health care management and administration

The aging Baby Boomer population will need doctors and nurses in the coming years. It will also need people to run the hospitals and health care centers they rely on. Health care management and administration positions are projected to grow 18% by 2018, fueled by a diversification of health care services as well as an aging population and wider access to health care under President Obama’s new health insurance initiative, which goes into effect in 2014. A Master’s degree is often required to advance in these positions, although entry-level administrative positions may only require a Bachelor’s degree.


Engineering job prospects are expected to grow across the board, although some subspecialties are expected to be in higher demand than others.

According to the 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the best prospects for engineering majors are in Biomedical Engineering—where a whopping 72% growth rate is expected over the coming decade. Civil engineering positions are expected to grow by 24%, while environmental engineers can look forward to employment growth of 31%.

Some engineering specialties are expected to grow much more slowly or even decline because of competition with foreign workers. These specialties include computer hardware engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.


Plenty of school districts all over the country are slashing their budgets. But there’s a large percentage of Baby Boomers in the teaching profession, set to retire through 2030. As a result, despite budget cuts, teachers are expected to be needed on a long-term basis in most states.

The type of teaching degree you need depends on where you want to work. In public schools, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree in the subject you’re teaching or an education degree, along with a teaching certification. Some states require their teachers to work toward a Masters degree. Private schools may not require certification.

To make sure your job is stable and in high demand, focus on a teaching subject in the “core” curriculum that’s not likely to be cut by the school board in lean times—such as math, history, English, Social Studies, or science rather than music, art, or sports coaching.

Information technology

Despite outsourcing in our global economy, the US still leads the world in IT innovation—and talented, motivated individuals will always be needed in that sector. In addition, the business sector in the US is coming to rely more and more on IT solutions to give companies a competitive edge. As a result, competent IT professionals and managers will be needed in all sectors to develop and implement technical solutions to specific company problems—and assure that corporate information is safeguarded. A bachelor’s degree in information technology is usually required for management-level positions and programming positions.

Finding a job isn’t easy. However, you can give yourself an edge by choosing an industry that’s growing, even in tough economic times. Consider pursuing one of these majors—and it’s likely you’ll have a steady, stable career, regardless of the recession.



Judy Anne Cavey Over a year ago

With regards to education, teachers usually need a teaching credential of some sort. For example, I have a teaching credential and certification. Also, in some states, you must have a Masters before they'll even consider you. Many private schools are starting to require Masters degrees along with a teaching credential and/or certification--they want to be able to compete with public school requirements.

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