Best Degrees to Get in 2024

best degrees to get and majors list

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.

Overall Trends

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.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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 2024

Nursing

Median Salary in 2023: $116,0128

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.

Statistics

Median Salary in 2023: $79,907

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.

Computer Science

Median pay in 2023: $153,138

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.

Mathematics

Median pay in 2023: $83,910

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.

Information Systems

Median pay in 2023: $117,324

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.

Chemical Engineer

Median Salary in 2023: $88,987

Lucrative Salaries - Chemical engineers earn very competitive salaries right out of college.
Strong Job Prospects - Chemical engineering jobs are projected to grow at a rate of 8% from 2020-2030, faster than the national average job growth rate. This indicates high demand.
Diverse Industries - Chemical engineers work in a wide range of industries from biotechnology and medicine to petroleum and consumer products. This provides varied job options.
Challenging Work - Chemical engineering involves complex problem-solving and process optimization, leading to intellectually stimulating work. Projects and tasks require continuous learning.
Impactful Work - Chemical engineers help design and develop products that benefit society in fields like pharmaceuticals, energy, food production, materials, and more.
Leadership Potential - Chemical engineers often advance to management and leadership positions overseeing teams, projects, and operations.
Professional Prestige - Chemical engineering is regarded as a prestigious discipline requiring significant expertise. Chemical engineers are highly respected.
Financial Security - The high compensation, steady demand, and flexible career paths provide long-term financial stability for chemical engineers.

Electrical Engineer

Median Salary in 2023: $96,878

Lucrative pay - Electrical engineers earn very competitive salaries. The median annual wage is over $100,000 in the US, significantly above national median pay.
Strong demand - Jobs for electrical engineers are projected to grow 7% from 2020-2030, faster than the national average. Technology innovations require electrical engineering skills.
Varied work - Electrical engineers may specialize in areas like electronics, integrated systems, telecommunications, power systems, and more, preventing boredom.
Challenging problem-solving - Electrical engineering involves applying math and science principles to solve complex electrical issues requiring creativity and critical thinking.
Hands-on work - Electrical engineers get to do hands-on design, testing and building of electrical equipment and systems. The practical work provides variety.
Cutting-edge technology - Electrical engineers get to work with the latest technologies and innovations in things like consumer electronics, renewable power, automation, and electronics.
Impactful work - Electrical engineers do meaningful work enhancing power systems, communications networks, medical devices, navigation systems, and more.
Prestige and respect - Electrical engineering is a revered discipline and indicates expertise in applied science, mathematics, and critical thinking.

Information Technology

Median Salary in 2023: $69,452

High pay - IT professionals earn above average salaries. Entry level positions start around $50k annually with experienced roles paying over $120k.
Strong job growth - IT jobs are projected to grow at 11% through 2031, much faster than most careers. Cloud computing, cybersecurity, data analytics and other tech advances drive demand.
Variety of roles - There is great flexibility to work in different types of IT roles from software engineering to network administration, web development to data science.
Advancement potential - IT offers many opportunities to advance into senior technical or management positions. Obtaining certifications also leads to salary increases.
Continuous learning - New technologies emerge constantly in the industry, keeping IT professionals up-to-date with the latest advancements through continuous education.
Remote work potential - Many IT roles lend themselves well to hybrid or fully remote work, offering scheduling flexibility.
Private and public sector jobs - IT professionals work in virtually every industry from healthcare to finance to government.
Problem solving - IT roles involve consistently identifying, analyzing and troubleshooting technical problems requiring creative thinking.
High impact - Developing and maintaining critical technology infrastructure and applications has a very meaningful impact.

Biomedical Engineering

Median Salary in 2023: $87,449

Lucrative pay - Electrical engineers earn very competitive salaries. The median annual wage is over $100,000 in the US, significantly above national median pay.
Strong demand - Jobs for electrical engineers are projected to grow 7% from 2020-2030, faster than the national average. Technology innovations require electrical engineering skills.
Varied work - Electrical engineers may specialize in areas like electronics, integrated systems, telecommunications, power systems, and more, preventing boredom.
Challenging problem-solving - Electrical engineering involves applying math and science principles to solve complex electrical issues requiring creativity and critical thinking.
Hands-on work - Electrical engineers get to do hands-on design, testing and building of electrical equipment and systems. The practical work provides variety.
Cutting-edge technology - Electrical engineers get to work with the latest technologies and innovations in things like consumer electronics, renewable power, automation, and electronics.
Impactful work - Electrical engineers do meaningful work enhancing power systems, communications networks, medical devices, navigation systems, and more.
Prestige and respect - Electrical engineering is a revered discipline and indicates expertise in applied science, mathematics, and critical thinking.

Civil Engineer

Median Salary in 2023: $96,022

High pay - IT professionals earn above average salaries. Entry level positions start around $50k annually with experienced roles paying over $120k.
Strong job growth - IT jobs are projected to grow at 11% through 2031, much faster than most careers. Cloud computing, cybersecurity, data analytics and other tech advances drive demand.
Variety of roles - There is great flexibility to work in different types of IT roles from software engineering to network administration, web development to data science.
Advancement potential - IT offers many opportunities to advance into senior technical or management positions. Obtaining certifications also leads to salary increases.
Continuous learning - New technologies emerge constantly in the industry, keeping IT professionals up-to-date with the latest advancements through continuous education.
Remote work potential - Many IT roles lend themselves well to hybrid or fully remote work, offering scheduling flexibility.
Private and public sector jobs - IT professionals work in virtually every industry from healthcare to finance to government.
Problem solving - IT roles involve consistently identifying, analyzing and troubleshooting technical problems requiring creative thinking.
High impact - Developing and maintaining critical technology infrastructure and applications has a very meaningful impact.

Mechanical Engineer

Median Salary in 2023: $87,942

Lucrative salaries - The median annual wage for mechanical engineers is over $88,000 in the US, significantly higher than the median salary across all occupations.
Strong demand - Mechanical engineering is projected to grow by 5% between 2020-2030, adding over 26,000 new jobs. Advancements in technology drive demand.
Variety of work - Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test a wide range of mechanical devices and systems, preventing boredom.
Ability to work across industries - Mechanical engineering skills apply in diverse industries from aerospace and automotive to robotics, energy, and manufacturing.
Hands-on work - Mechanical engineers get to physically make or construct their designs and operate prototypes or systems. This applied work is appealing.
Technical problem-solving - Mechanical engineering involves continuously analyzing complex technical challenges and creatively developing solutions.
Prestige and respect - Mechanical engineering is a longstanding, well-respected engineering discipline and indicates significant math and analytical ability.
Potential for entrepreneurship - Many mechanical engineers leverage their technical skills to obtain patents and launch highly successful new product ventures.
Management opportunities - After gaining experience, mechanical engineers may advance into project management and leadership roles.

Industrial Engineer

Median Salary in 2023: $95,732

Excellent compensation - The median annual wage for industrial engineers is over $88,000 in the United States. Experienced engineers can earn $100,000+.
Strong job outlook - Jobs for industrial engineers are projected to grow by 10% between 2020-2030, much faster than average. Manufacturing and technology advancements drive demand.
Interesting work - Industrial engineers analyze complex systems and processes to improve quality, efficiency and productivity. This work provides intellectual stimulation.
Variety of work settings - Industrial engineers work in diverse settings like manufacturing, healthcare, retail, logistics, government and more. This variety prevents boredom.
Meaningful impact - Industrial engineers make meaningful improvements in process efficiency, workplace safety, system integration and other areas that add business and societal value.
Travel opportunities - Engineers may travel to different facilities or job sites to evaluate operations and propose improvements. Some opportunities exist for international travel.
Leadership advancement - Industrial engineers are often promoted to management positions overseeing teams, projects, and operations.
Improve organizations - The analytical skills and systems knowledge of industrial engineers allows them to provide unique perspectives and improvements.
Employability - Industrial engineering skills are transferable across many industries and functions, providing job stability and mobility.

Management Information Systems

Median Salary in 2023: $117,324

Strong salary potential - The median salary for MIS professionals is over $160,000 per year for those in managerial roles. This compensation growth potential is a major benefit. Variety of industries - MIS professionals work across sectors like business, healthcare, finance, technology, government, and more. This variety prevents boredom. Hybrid business-tech role - MIS combines understanding of business operations, analytics, and strategic use of information systems. This blend is appealing to many. Fast-paced environment - Technology evolves rapidly so MIS pros must continuously learn new systems and maintain up-to-date knowledge. This keeps things interesting. Critical function - MIS roles are essential for selecting and implementing the technology solutions and data that organizations need to optimize operations and decision making. Leadership advancement - MIS experts often move into senior technology strategy and management positions within an organization after gaining experience. Employability - MIS skills are versatile and applicable across all industries, providing job stability and mobility. Problem-solving - MIS involves analytical thinking, troubleshooting, and solution design for an organization's technology needs.

Finance

Median Salary in 2023: $89,393

Lucrative compensation - Finance professionals earn above average salaries. Entry level positions start around $60k annually with experienced roles paying over $150k.
Career advancement - Finance offers clear progression opportunities into positions like senior analysts, fund managers, controllers, CFOs, and other senior leadership roles.
Employability - Financial skills are transferable across all industries and sectors. Finance professionals are highly sought after.
Fast-paced environment - Finance moves quickly and professionals must analyze information, evaluate risks, and make decisions rapidly, which keeps things exciting.
Location flexibility - Finance hubs are in major cities but most companies have a presence nationwide. Remote work is also quite common in finance.
Intellectually stimulating - Financial analysis requires critical thinking, problem solving, and sophisticated modeling skills to weigh quantitative information.
Leadership development - Professionals gain valuable skills in strategic planning, risk management, resource allocation, relationship management and communication.
Prestige and respect - Working in finance carries significant prestige and demonstrates analytical strength.
Business partnering - Finance professionals interface with all arms of an organization and are key strategic business partners.

Accounting

Median Salary in 2023: $67,672

Strong job prospects - Accounting is projected to experience 10% job growth in the US from 2020 to 2030, much faster than average. Companies will continue needing accounting expertise.
High earning potential - Accountants earn a median salary over $73,000 annually. CPAs and accounting managers can earn well over $120,000 with experience.
Transferable skills - The analytical, auditing, regulatory knowledge and financial reporting skills accountants gain are valued across many industries.
Leadership advancement - Senior accountants often rise to positions like CFO, Controller, Audit Partner, and other managerial roles.
Prestige and respect - Being a CPA brings significant professional status and demonstrates financial expertise. Accounting is a time-honored profession.
Problem solving - Accounts regularly face new problems to solve and complex issues related to taxes, regulations, financial systems, and reporting standards.
Professional mobility - Accounting experience provides the flexibility to move into corporate finance, budget analysis, investment analysis, consulting, and other lucrative finance roles.
Client interactions - For accountants in public accounting firms, there are opportunities to advise diverse clients across sectors.

Economics

Median Salary in 2023: $105,043

Lucrative pay - Economists earn very competitive salaries, with a median pay of around $105,000 annually in the US. Senior economists can earn $200,000+.
Strong demand - Jobs for economists are projected to grow 6% from 2020-2030, faster than average. Demand is high in business, finance, consulting, and government.
Intellectually stimulating - Analyzing complex economic factors, trends, data, and modeling requires critical thinking and problem solving skills. Work stays challenging.
Variety of industries - Economists work in diverse settings like banks, corporations, universities, government agencies, nonprofits, and more.
Impactful work - Economists provide data-driven insights and advise on policies that impact markets, businesses, government interests, and society overall.
Prestige - The role of economist is very well respected and indicates expertise in quantitative analysis.
Transferable skills - The research, analytical, statistical, and communication skills of economists are valued across sectors.
Career development - Economists often advance into senior analyst, managerial, or executive positions within their organizations.
Job stability - The rigorous education required for economists leads to very strong job security and low unemployment rates.

Biotechnology

Median Salary in 2023: $75,387

Competitive salaries - Biotechnology offers above average compensation, with entry level positions starting around $70k and senior scientists earning over $150k annually.
Strong growth - Biotech job growth is projected to expand by 8% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than most other industries as biopharma and biomedical innovations occur.
Impactful innovations - Biotech professionals get to work on products like gene therapies, biofuels, genetically engineered crops, and pharmaceuticals that positively impact lives.
Intellectually stimulating - Work involves unraveling complex problems in genetics, microbiology, organic chemistry and molecular biology requiring continuous learning.
Variety of roles - Biotech offers diverse roles from research scientists to product developers, quality technicians, sales representatives, and business operations.
Cutting-edge environment - Biotech allows exposure to novel technologies like CRISPR gene editing, RNA therapies, and the microbiome. The fast-paced innovation keeps things exciting.
Entrepreneurship - Many biotech engineers and scientists leverage their expertise to start successful biotechnology ventures.
Prestige and talent - Biotechnology attracts top talent and is a respected, prestigious industry known for pioneering innovations.

Physics

Median Salary in 2023: $135,407

Intellectually rewarding - Physics involves solving complex problems and unraveling the mysteries of the universe.
Strong earning potential - Physicists earn a median salary of around $120,000 per year. Those in senior research or academic roles may earn over $200,000.
Diverse career paths - Physicists work in areas like research, education, medicine, finance, consulting, space exploration, national labs, and more.
Ability to specialize - You can focus your physics career on areas like nuclear physics, astrophysics, acoustics, optics, quantum physics, applied physics, and others.
Cutting-edge research - Physicists work on innovative projects expanding scientific and technological frontiers, often with big budgets and advanced equipment.
Collaboration - Physics research and experiments are frequently done in collaborative teams, allowing you to work creatively with bright peers.
Sharing knowledge - Physics careers allow you to mentor students in the classroom or share new discoveries through publishing, satisfying those who enjoy teaching.
Prestige and respect - Physics is regarded as a complex and prestigious scientific discipline reserved for the top analytical minds.

Architecture

Median Salary in 2023: $87,282

Creative expression - Architecture provides the ability to actively use design talents and creativity to conceive new spaces and structures.
Visible impacts - Architects have the satisfaction of seeing their imaginative designs come to life in tangible buildings that influence local landscapes.
Prestige - Architecture is a respected profession requiring significant artistic vision, technical skills, and aesthetic sensibility.
Varied projects - Architects work on diverse projects including commercial offices, residences, schools, retail spaces, parks, transportation centers, and more.
Entrepreneurship - Many architects start their own firms allowing them creative control and financial upside over their projects.
Flexible career options - Architects can focus on specific project types or even shift into related roles like architectural writing or academia.
Collaboration - Architecture requires collaboration with clients, construction teams, engineers, community groups, and other stakeholders on projects.
Problem-solving - Each structure poses unique site constraints, budgets, client needs and technical challenges requiring creative solutions.
Travel opportunities - Architects may travel to visit build sites, attend conferences, liaise with remote clients, and tour exemplary buildings globally.

Fashion Design

Median Salary in 2023: $66,924

Creative expression - Fashion design allows you to channel your creativity and make an artistic impact through innovative clothing and accessory designs.
Stay ahead of trends - Fashion designers get to conceptualize future fashion trends rather than follow current ones. You forecast where style is headed.
Celebrity connections - Designers frequently network with models, photographers, celebrities, and stylists who wear and promote their designs.
Prestige - Successful fashion designers gain prestige and reputation in the industry for their recognizable brands and unique aesthetic.
Entrepreneurship - Many designers pursue entrepreneurship opening their own businesses, stores, or fashion lines. This brings financial reward.
Travel opportunities - Attending global fashion shows and sourcing materials means potential travel to fashion hubs like Paris, Milan, and New York.
Collaborative projects - Fashion involves collaboration with creative teams like photographers for ad campaigns, runway coordinators, seamstresses, and more.
Artistic mediums - Designers get to experiment with textiles, colors, silhouettes and various materials to create wearable art.
Fuse fashion and function - Designers consider both aesthetics and functionality to make pieces that look great and perform well.

Business

Median Salary in 2023: $67,073

High earning potential - Business careers offer above-average salaries and strong potential to reach senior leadership positions with compensation packages over $200k.
Transferable skills - Skills like operations, marketing, finance, strategic planning, relationship management and data analysis apply widely.
Fast-paced environment - The business world moves rapidly requiring quick thinking and decision making. This keeps things dynamic.
Leadership development - As professionals develop, they gain skills in managing teams, projects and facilitating collaboration.
Variety of industries - Business professionals work in diverse settings from large multinational corporations to fast-paced startups and anything in between.
Ability to impact - Decisions made in business have tangible impacts on organizational success, employee performance and the customer experience.
Innovation potential - Business leaders get to pioneer new products, services and solutions that provide value in the market.
Entrepreneurship opportunities - Many pursue business careers with the goal of eventually launching their own company or becoming an entrepreneur.
Prestige and respect - High-level careers in business fields like finance, marketing and operations bring professional status.

Further Reading: Most Affordable Online Colleges

Sources:

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm

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