Best Degrees to Get in 2023
It’s a jobseeker’s market.
The job market is on steady growth patterns for the year. As the employment landscape frequently serves as a barometer for economic well-being, this bodes well for incoming college students, as ample opportunities await those who graduate with the appropriate qualifications. Amid financial slumps, employment opportunities become scarce, and the few positions that emerge on the job market mirror these challenging circumstances.
The employment landscape adheres to the principles of supply and demand. Some industries are seeing record growth and increased demand, while others are turning stagnant. Unsurprisingly, there are many jobs being created in renewable energy as more of the country pivots to going green. Likewise, as our dependency on technology and internet-enabled devices increases, there is a lot of demand for people skilled in app development and cybersecurity. Those with a keen interest in such domains might contemplate pursuing a degree in computer science.
Data is also one of the biggest topics across all areas of the economy, so there is an incredible demand for people that understand statistics, mathematics, and advanced mathematical modeling. Degrees in statistics and mathematics are essential for these fields.
One trend is absolutely certain: there has been an increased demand for healthcare-related careers. This is largely because the baby boomer population continues to age and experience greater medical needs. Areas that featured the most growth in the healthcare industry were at the assistant or aide level which shows that good help is hard to find. These roles serve as excellent starting points for individuals looking to establish themselves within the healthcare industry. For further insight into anticipated job market trends, consider exploring the Bureau of Labor Statistics resources.
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Without further ado, this is EDsmart’s list of the ten best majors and career choices that can land you a position in the future job market.
Best Degrees to Get in 2023
Master of Science – Physician Assistant
Job: Physician Assistant
Median Salary in 2022: $121,530
A master of science in a health-related specialty is one of the best degrees to get for any kind of advanced healthcare practice. It’s easy to see why—the Master of Science showcases your ability and skill, making it one of the top degrees in healthcare.
A physician assistant is NOT to be confused with a medical assistant. A medical assistant generally performs clerical administrative tasks in the healthcare workplace. A physician assistant practices medicine and works with patients. They may review medical histories, perform exams, diagnose injuries and illnesses, treat patients, and more. PAs can also further specialize in areas like primary care, emergency, surgery, or even psychiatric care.
Becoming a Physician Assistant first requires a bachelor’s degree with a strong focus on health care or biology. It then requires enrolling in a PA program, 2000+ clinical hours as well as the completion of the five-hour Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). This process can take upwards of six years. Once that is all complete, PAs are required to complete 100 hours of continuing education every two years and recertify every 10 years.
A physician assistant is a career field that is expected to grow by 28% from 2021 to 2031, a much faster rate than average occupations, with an estimated 38,400 jobs being added to the market.
Master of Science – Nursing
Job: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (Nurse Practitioner)
Median Salary in 2022: $123,780
Securing a Master of Science in Nursing is a highly advantageous degree for those pursuing a nursing career particularly in the upcoming years. With many registered nurses retiring and leaving the workforce there is a massive deficit of nurses with advanced skills. Additionally the growing population of older individuals contributes to a rising need for caretakers.
Nurse practitioners alternatively referred to as advanced practice registered nurses, are capable of assuming various positions such as anesthetists, midwives, and nursing professionals, to name a few. They have many duties as it relates to a patients treatment and can perform examinations, create care plans, perform diagnostic tests, and diagnose health problems.
APRNs are registered nurses. This means that for a student to achieve this position they would first have to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a related health science area (preferably nursing), become a registered nurse by passing the licensing exam, and then complete an APRN masters degree program. Pursuing a doctoral degree in nursing is another educational path available to students.
This career is expected to grow 40%, much faster than the other occupations between 2021 and 2031, with 118,600 new jobs being added to the market.
Master of Science—Statistics / Master of Mathematics
Median Salary in 2022: $96,280
Data is the hottest topic in all aspects of business, science, and research. There is lots of work and money available for people that can collect data, understand it, and interpret it into usable insights. Consequently, statisticians currently experience significant demand. The dependence on data is not expected to diminish in the near future, rendering this degree among the most promising for future prospects. You’ll almost always have a job.
Statisticians scrutinize data and employ mathematical frameworks and statistical approaches to pinpoint and address issues across an array of real-life scenarios. This could be in fields like business, engineering, healthcare, and even customer relations.
While you can become a statistician with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, economics, or computer science, these jobs are rare. Typically, either a master of science in statistics or a master of mathematics are the best degrees for this job. Coursework can include studies in calculus, differential equations, linear and abstract algebra, as well as courses in the desired area of specialization (a science-related topic, engineering, business, etc.). A master’s degree in statistics or mathematics is one of the top master’s degrees in demand right now, and you’ll see this degree again on our listing.
This career is expected to grow by 31% between 2021 and 2031, adding 11,200 jobs to the market.
Associate Degree—Physical Therapy
Job: Physical therapist assistant
Median Salary in 2022: $49,180
Physical therapist assistants work under the direction of physical therapists. They help patients recovering from injuries or illness regain control of their movement and mitigate the pain associated with an injury. Unlike aides that do the clerical work or set up treatment areas, assistants are directly involved in patient care.
Attaining the role of a physical therapist assistant requires obtaining an associate degree through an accredited institution, with such programs usually spanning a duration of two years. Physical therapist assistants are also required to be licensed or certified depending on your local state laws. Typical coursework includes areas like, kinesiology, anatomy and physiology, psychology, and more.
This career is expected to grow by 24% between 2021 and 2031 which is must faster than average, adding 33,900 jobs to the market.
Bachelor of Computer Science
Job: Software Developer
Median pay in 2022: $93,000
Talk about a job that isn’t going anywhere—software developers are the creative minds behind all the computer programs and cell phone apps we use and take for granted. Software and apps are in all aspects of our lives these days, from communicating with friends to cooking steaks. Software developers can be found creating apps, user experience design, creating systems that run devices, control networks, and more.
The demand for good designers is not going to go away. Short of an apocalypse that forces human development back into a pre-computer era, this is without a doubt a bachelor’s degree job in high demand, and one of the best degrees for the future.
For those aspiring to become software developers possessing bachelors degree in computer science, software engineering, or related field is mandatory. But what is as important as the degree is your skill at computer programming. To that end, many companies prefer that you have a master’s degree as well.
This career field is expected to explode in the near future, growing by -10% and adding -17,800 jobs to the market.
Master of Science—Statistics / Master of Mathematics
Median pay in 2022: $96,280
Mathematicians work in a very similar field as statisticians. They scrutinize information and utilize mathematical and statistical methodologies to tackle practical issues. They’re often working for the government, education, or private science and engineering research companies. They’re often in teams of experts from other occupations to solve problems. Mathematicians may work in teams with chemists, materials scientists, chemical engineers, or even industrial designers. In short, there are a lot of different avenues for someone very skilled in mathematics.
Given the complexity of the subject matter, employers typically require candidates to hold at least a master’s degree, if not a doctorate. This is definitely a field where higher education pays off, as pay often scales with earned degrees. As you can imagine, core classes are heavy in advanced mathematics, though some programs require students to take classes in related science or engineering fields.
This field is projected to grow by 31% between 2021 and 2031 and add 11,200 jobs to the market.
Master of Science – Genetic Counseling
Job: Genetic counselor
Median pay in 2022: $80,150
Genetic counseling is a new field. Since genetic technology and analysis have become more advanced, people are becoming more interested in what kind of inherited diseases might affect their families. Because the field is so new, there are relatively few counselors that can help them with their questions. Genetic counselors work in hospitals, university medical centers, laboratories, and physician’s offices.
Students looking to get a career in genetic counseling first need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a health science-related topic and then apply to a master of science program in genetics or genetic counseling. Coursework often includes classes in genetics, public health, patient empathy, and epidemiology. Students are also required to have a clinical rotation where they work with clients and patients. After graduation, students will then need to obtain certification from the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
This field is expected to grow by 18% between 2021 and 2031 with 500 new jobs added to the market.
Associate Degree—Occupational Therapy
Job: Occupational Therapy Assistant
Median pay in 2022: $61,520
Occupational therapy aides collaborate directly with patients to assist them in building, rehabilitating, enhancing, and sustaining the motor skills indispensable for everyday life. They facilitate the recovery of individuals of all ages from injury or illness and tailor therapy to cater to each patient’s requirements. They work directly under practitioners and provide hands-on support during exercise routines. These assistants may be called up to use specialized equipment and monitor and record patients’ progress.
Achieving an associate degree from an American Occupational Therapy Association accredited program is the necessary step for a student aspiring to become an occupational therapy assistant. These programs are usually two years long and cover subjects like anatomy, psychology, biology, and pediatric care.
This field is expected to grow by 25% in the near future and add 11,500 jobs to the market.
Bachelor in Information Systems
Job: Information Security Analysts
Median pay in 2022: $102,600
Reports of cyberattacks and hacks are occurring more often. Research has shown that organizations (private, and public entities) are all woefully vulnerable to cyberattacks. What this means is that qualified cybersecurity experts are in high demand. These experts often monitor a network for breaches, investigate attacks, install and upgrade firewalls and encryption programs, and develop best practices for their organization.
While you can get a job in this field with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, employers typically prefer analysts to have experience in a related occupation. This means going to school for a Master of Business Administration in Information Systems. These master’s degrees can be completed in two years, but work experience in an IT department is strongly recommended.
This career is projected to grow by 35% in the near future and add 56,500 jobs to the market.
Bachelor of Computer Science or Mathematics
Job: Operation Research Analysts
Median pay in 2022: $82,360
If you’re the type of person that believes that data reveals the true nature of a problem then this is the job for you. Operations research analysts play an integral role in the future of business. They are experts at critical thinking and have excellent math skills that enable them to better track results, forecast trends, solve business problems and make better decisions. Operations research analysts use a combination of math, engineering, and science to analyze human behavior, study complex organizational issues, and more. They are involved in all aspects of an organization and use statistical modeling to analyze information and provide solutions.
Most employers only require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or mathematics for these jobs, though some may require a masters degree. Operations research is still quite a specialized field, so few schools offer programs specific to this field. As result, many analysts have degrees in related computer science or mathematics fields.
This career is projected to grow by 23% in the near future and add 24,200 jobs to the market.
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