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Consider These Future Jobs Before Declaring Your Major

soar with the right degrees

If you’re reading this, it’s not too late. You probably haven’t declared your major yet and that’s okay! If anything, it’s a good sign that you’re careful and don’t rush into things. You think them through and always make the best possible decision [insert benefit of the doubt here]. But how far can you think this through before you start wasting too much money (that's possibly borrowed) on exploratory courses?

We get it, declaring your major is basically like declaring the rest of your life. It’s kind of scary, right? You want to be happy, fulfilled, and passionate about your life’s work. But most importantly, you want to choose a profession that's in demand after you graduate because well…you need to be working to make money.

If you haven’t checked this out already, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has an Occupational Outlook Handbook that provides career information on duties, education, training, pay, and the outlook for most US-based occupations. We rounded up the top 10 fastest growing occupations, projected from 2016 to 2026, and then we identified the majors/degrees required for each. Mind you, some of these professions require more than a bachelor's degree but they're still worthy investments.

Careers are listed in order of the fastest growing. (Careers not requiring a college degree have been excluded.)

  1. Physician's Assistants

    Median Pay: $104,860
    Required Education: Master's Degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS), Health Science (MHS), or Medical Science (MMSc)

  2. Nurse Practitioners

    Median Pay: $103,880
    Required Education: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

  3. Statisticians

    Median Pay: $84,060
    Required Education: Master’s degree in statistics, mathematics, or survey methodology. Although, some employers will accept a bachelor’s degree in the above studies.

  4. Software Developers

    Median Pay: $101,790
    Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering

  5. Mathematicians

    Median Pay: $103,010
    Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, applied mathematics, or theoretical mathematics for most entry-level jobs.

  6. Genetic Counselors

    Median Pay: $77,480
    Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in Biology or a healthcare-related field is required to enroll in a genetic counseling master’s degree program. (Read here for more information.)

  7. Occupational Therapy Assistants

    Median Pay: $59,310
    Required Education: See how to become an Occupational Therapist

  8. Information Security Analysts

    Median Pay: $95,510
    Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Cyber Security or a related field

  9. Physical Therapists

    Median Pay: $86,850
    Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences or pre-physical therapy is required before enrolling in a Master's in Physical Therapy degree  (Read here for more information.)

  10. Operations Research Analysts

    Median Pay: $81,390
    Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, industrial engineering, or mathematics (Read here for more information.)

Not all of these careers are what you may consider as being glamorous, but they are guaranteed to keep you busy making money. If there's anything to take away from this blog, it's that you should at least consider choosing a major based more on its potential to get you hired than its glamour. If there can exist a middle ground, all the better!

And,  just to be clear, we're not saying to forget about your dreams. But rather, if you’ve gone undeclared for a while now and still don't have a clear choice, you probably won't anytime soon. #realityCheck

We encourage you to dig around some more on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics site and explore other possible career paths (Psst! There are more fast-growing jobs than just the 10 listed on this page).

Do the research now and avoid higher debt and unemployment lines later.