The world is constantly changing, and with change comes the need for workers to adapt and grow. Yet some industries seem to stay relevant, no matter what the future brings. If you are looking to go back to school or earn your first degree, you may be thinking about finding a major that is protected against possible changes in the future. Is it possible to find a future-proof undergrad degree, and are there skills that are always in demand in the job market? As you consider your options for majors, here are some degrees with job security worth considering.
How to Pick a Degree with Job Security?
In 2016 at the World Economic Forum, Professor Klaus Schwab coined the term the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” In a book by the same title, Schwab indicates we are on the verge of a revolution in industry and employment and that soon tech will be taking over. In his book, Schwab implies that studying tech is a good way to prepare yourself for the coming changes in the future.
In addition to tech, degrees in fields that serve the public, like healthcare, can open the door to professions that are always in demand. Similarly, businesses will need qualified professionals as they move into the future, so economic and business degrees will open the right doors.
What Specific Degrees Are Likely Future Proofed?
If you are ready to start looking at specific degrees, here are some that are likely to be protected against future job market changes.
1. Engineering. Engineers are necessary to build buildings, organize systems within a facility or organization, plan city infrastructure, and ensure roads and public transit are functioning properly. Without engineers, cities would quite literally fall apart. Since things like roads, water transport systems, buildings, and other components of a city wear out and need to be replaced regularly, this is a field with many career prospects and employment options.
The field of engineering has many career paths. One of the most in-demand is that of an industrial engineer. The average pay for these professionals according to the BLS is $88,950, and the field is expecting 10% job growth by 2029, indicating it is going to remain in high demand. A pre-engineering degree is a good start down this path.
2. IT & Computer Science. Technical skills remain one of the top skills employers want in new job prospects. Focusing your education on information technology and computer science majors will give you those skills, so you can be in high demand in your field. These degrees open the door to many career paths. Each has a high potential income. Network and computer systems administrators take care of the day-to-day operation of computer networks and earn an average annual salary of $84,810. Computer and information systems managers plan and coordinate computer-related activities within companies, and this field has an average salary of $151,150. Computer programmers write and test the code that makes computer systems and networks function, and they earn an average of $89,190. All of these are on track to remain in high demand in the coming years, making them future-proof majors.
3. Finance & Accounting. Finance and accounting degrees provide students with the critical thinking and soft skills employers need to help manage money well. This can open many career paths that are expected to stay in high demand in the future.
Accountants help companies and individuals manage their finances, assisting with tax filing, bookkeeping, and budgeting. For accountants, the BLS estimates continued growth that is average between 2019 and 2029, and the average salary in May of 2020 was $73,560. Personal financial advisors offer advice about investments and planning for a financial future and earn an average of $89,330 annually.
4. The Arts. While it may not always be taken as seriously as other degrees, it is undeniable that there have been professional artists (in Music, Theatre, or Art) for many, many years. It is also very unlikely that these jobs are going anywhere, whether the art being pursued is purely for entertainment, or to add value to other businesses & industries.
You may be surprised to hear that according to the BLS, actors are a quickly growing job, with employment expected to grow 30% or more (much higher than average).
5. Business Administration. A degree in business administration will teach you how to lead within a business. This opens the door to top executive positions. Often a bachelor's degree and relevant work experience is the minimal requirement for these openings, and the pay is excellent. The BLS estimates an annual wage for chief executives of $185,950 and an annual wage for general and operations managers of $103,650.
6. Nursing. No matter what technological advances are made in the future, the skill of a qualified nurse will remain in demand. Nurses are vital to the healthcare system in our country, and they will be in a career that is virtually future proof. Nurses work in hospitals, clinics, home healthcare companies, nursing homes, and even schools.
The expected growth for the nursing field is 7% by 2029, and the average pay in May 2020 was $75,330. Travel nursing options and nursing shortages are pushing those numbers higher as there are more nursing positions available than there are nurses to fill them.
7. Physician Assistant. Doctors are stretched thin as they try to meet the growing demand of patients in all walks of life. Physician assistants practice medicine alongside a licensed medical doctor. This requires slightly less training than a doctor but allows you to practice a great deal of medicine.
Physician assistant is a career path that is seeing tremendous growth, with an astounding 31% job growth expected by 2029. The average annual wage is $115,390 as of 2020. An undergraduate degree in healthcare can start this career path.
8. Physical Therapy. Physical therapists help people who are injured, recovering from surgery, or dealing with chronic pain by teaching them stretches and exercises that increase strength and mobility. This is a very hands-on career path, as physical therapists work closely with patients through massage, stretching, and exercise instruction.
Though you cannot start a career in physical therapy with just a bachelor’s degree, you can start with a pre-physical therapy degree for your undergrad and moving on toward a doctoral program later. This field is expected to grow by 18% and offers an average wage of $91,010.
9. Pharmacy. Pharmacy professionals help consumers purchase and use medication safely. This field has two basic career paths. A pharmacy technician works alongside a pharmacist to fill prescriptions and sell them, while the pharmacist has the formal training to ensure that the medications are delivered safely to patients.
Pharmacy techs are in high demand and can start their careers with just a certificate rather than a full undergrad degree. Their potential income is about $16 an hour, and job openings are easy to find. Pharmacists need a doctoral degree and license to practice, and they earn an average annual salary of $128,710.
10. Mathematics. Mathematics is a future-proof undergrad degree because of the numerous career options open to people with this degree. With an undergraduate degree in mathematics, you may be able to work as a:
- Civil engineer
- Computer programmer
- Database administrator
- Financial analyst
The BLS estimates an average salary across all mathematics degree career paths of $70,000 per year, but this will vary significantly based on where you find work and how much experience you possess.
11. Physics. If you have a knack for math and enjoy studying science, you can put the two together with a degree in physics. US News & World Report indicates people with a degree in physics may find work as:
- Project managers
This means a wide range of potential salaries, but these are all in-demand career paths with growth potential in the future.
Begin Your Quest for a Future-Proof Undergrad Degree Today
As you consider your options for your undergraduate degree, make sure you look to the future. University of the Cumberlands has many excellent undergraduate programs, including traditional on-campus programs, online options, and pre-professional degrees. Browse our available programs to learn more about them, contact an admissions counselor, or request more information today.