Best Career Paths For College Students


High school students preparing for college as well as those currently enrolled but not yet matriculated may wonder what the future holds for them. With unemployment presently at double digit levels and expected to remain high for the short term, choosing the right career path can improve your chances of finding work once you graduate.

Top careers in the years ahead include a pair of medical opportunities: physician's assistant and nurse practitioner.

But how can anyone forecast job trends given the vagaries of the economy, the always looming threat of war, shifting consumer tastes, globalization, and other factors? Well, those trends are not precise, but there are some good sources for you to explore which can help you determine what fields of study appear to be promising. Of course, you want to match your personal desires with what’s out there, so picking a career based on job availability alone makes for an unhappy worker later on.

Let’s examine some of the top resources available to you:

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – If you love statistics then the BLS site can sate that craving. Or at least give you some idea what careers offer some promise post graduation. Their annual Occupational Outlook Handbook is a good resource for out what the expected job prospects will be in addition to training needed, working conditions, pay, and job responsibilities.

US News & World Report – Who loves lists? The people behind US News certainly do. They regularly publish lists containing the best colleges and they also track which career paths look most promising. Their Best Careers 2010 article published in December 2009 lists 50 such careers, up from 30 of the previous year. This doesn’t mean that there are more promising career paths out there, rather the report has been expanded to include jobs that require training, not a college education such as dental hygienist.

The Best (and Worst) Jobs – Billing itself as “your job search portal” Career Cast offers two important lists which give job seekers at least an idea of which jobs are the best of our day as well as those which are the worst. Among the best jobs are an actuary, mathematician, and statistician. Yes, if you loved the BLS information above, then there may be a job for you! Among the worst jobs are lumberjack, dairy farmer, and meter reader. Most jobs on this second list do not require college, but perhaps some training as well as the promise of tough or boring working conditions.

Best Jobs in America – Not to be outdone, and Money magazine teamed up to develop their own list of best jobs in America, with an eye toward the future. What this means is that their list may hold up for the next ten years long enough for you to finish your studies, although you will need a few extra years of studying to land one of their top jobs: physician’s assistant. The list includes nurse practitioner, college professor, and intelligence analyst among the growing professions.

Change Agent

Every list is subject to change, but if you compare the findings of each of these resources you may find a common thread, a job that has a good chance of being there when you finish up college.


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Categories: Career Planning