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Jobs Influencing Students Choice of Major

Jobs Influencing Students Choice of Major

April 08, 2011

Since the beginning of school students are told they can grow up to be whatever they wanted to be. While that is still the case, something is changing that is having students give what it is they want to ‘be’ a second thought. High school and college students today are choosing majors based not only on personality and passion but also on where the jobs are, and consequently where the money is.

According to the survey, “How Youth Plan to Fund College,” more and more students are having to pay for college themselves, out of their own pocket or with scholarships and loans. In an article that appeared on wausaudailyherald.com, Sheila Frederick, coordinator of the Career Center at Wausau East High School was quoted saying “You really can’t look at spending all that money on a degree without knowing what the outcome is going to be.”

With students being aware of the state of the current economy and more students being proactive about saving for and paying for college themselves, students today are considering investing in their futures over what it is they most want to study, however recent history shows this hasn’t always been the case. According to the National Center for Education Statistics in 2008 the fields with the highest number of degrees awarded are as follows:
• Business with 335,254
• Social sciences and history with 167,363
• Health Professionals and related clinical sciences with 111,478

With those three fields in mind, compare them to the numbers below which are considered the ten industries with the fastest growth of wage and salary employment from 2000-2010 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

1. Computer and data processing services (86%)
2. Residential care (64%)
3. Health Services (57%)
4. Cable and pay television services (51%)
5. Personnel supply services (49%)
6. Warehousing and storage (45%)
7. Water and sanitation (45%)
8. Miscellaneous business services (44%)
9. Miscellaneous equipment rental and leasing (42%) and Management and public relations (42%)

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Note that the only category with a high number of recent graduates and an industry with growth is health services. Without the category of degrees awarded lining up with the category of growing industries – students can be left with backgrounds in fields that aren’t necessarily expanding or looking to hire.

Students who are unsure about their intended major or career path are advised to talk with their school’s career advising department and explore what options are available to them as far as education and employment.


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