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Industries Where Recent Grads Aren't Having Trouble Landing a Job

Nov 16, 2012 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

Bad news is everywhere for recent grads. According to a recent study by Rutgers University*, only about 51% of people who graduated since 2006 are employed full-time—and a large percentage find low-end jobs that don’t provide health insurance.

However, despite the economic downturn, there are still lucrative entry-level opportunities out there for the right grad—and being the right grad often means holding the right major. Here are just a few degree programs that are leading to lucrative careers.


Among employers, this is an extremely sought-after major. However, within engineering as a career, prospects are mixed. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, positions for electrical and electronics engineers are expected to grow only 6%--but civil engineering positions are expected to grow 19% and environmental engineers 22%. Perhaps the most in-demand major involves biomedical engineering—predicted to grow at an unbelievable 62%.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that most engineering positions require more than a Bachelor’s degree— even for entry-level jobs. However, that could mean that you face less competition once you’ve earned your degree.

Medical and pharmaceutical sciences

Speaking of the biomedical industry, if you major in this area, it’s doubtful you’ll have trouble finding a job. In addition to the whopping 62% figure for biomedical engineers, positions for biochemists and biophysicists are growing 31%, and jobs for medical scientists are growing by 36%. The downside is that you need more than a Masters—sometimes a Bachelor’s—to break into this field. In addition, the sciences are typically not as friendly to accredited online degree programs as other sectors, although there are ways to get around this.

Computer science

As our country becomes more and more dependent on software and applications—to run our businesses, connect with our friends, and everything in between—the software development and IT industries are constantly seeking qualified graduates. New opportunities span Internet publishing, website layout and architecture, IT security, business analysis, e-publishing, and other high-profile opportunities.

Computer and research scientist positions are projected to grow 19% within the next decade, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. That’s not as impressive as the outlook for software developers—predicted to grow 30%--or network administrators, with a predicted growth of 28% within the same timeframe.

That’s the good news. The other good news is that positions within IT usually don’t require more than a Bachelor’s degree at the entry level—although research science and academic teaching positions may require advanced degrees. There are, however, multiple professional certifications IT people can earn that demonstrate their expertise in a particular skill set, programming language, or software—and these are highly valued by employers.

In addition, online degrees are fairly well accepted by employers in this field—and some employers will actually pay for staff to earn online degrees and certifications in the tech field.

Database administration

Database administrators use software to manage and organize data—which could be anything from patient health records to customer payment and shipping info. These records are frequently confidential and crucial to a company’s operations—and keeping them secure and up-to-date is an important job. This position is expected to grow 31% within the next ten years. And it typically does not require more than a Bachelor’s degree in a related subject—and is open to online degrees.

It’s not easy choosing a major that will help you land a lucrative job soon after you graduate. However, if you’re concerned about your employability, it’s important to do some research into the field you’d like to go into—and the specialized expertise it requires. Not every job requires a Masters or postgraduate degree—but in this economy, it’s becoming more and more common.


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