Choosing to pursue a college degree is a life-altering decision for several reasons. First and foremost, it means that you’ll be committing a significant amount of time to a particular subject, usually in the hopes of building a career in a specific field. Second, but no less important, is the fact that you’ll be spending a great deal of money in the effort, and you’re making a pretty serious wager that the investment will pay off in the end.
For many, it’s a bet that doesn’t pay off very quickly. Statistics indicate that the average American student will leave college carrying approximately $37,172 in outstanding student loan debt, which is more than the average 20 to 24-year-old can expect to earn in a year once they enter the workforce. To beat odds like those, it’s important to choose a field of study that’s in demand and will offer a high starting salary right away. The good news is, there are plenty of fields that fit that description. Here are three of the best options.
Computer and Information Sciences
Over the last few decades, computer-related jobs have been some of the steadiest, highest-salary positions you can find. With the explosion of the internet and rapid advances in analytics and big data applications, that’s not likely to change anytime soon. In particular, positions in computer and information sciences are very much in demand. At the moment, the average candidate for such positions is expected to hold a master’s degree in the subject, but standardization of the methods and tools in the field is expected to lower the average qualification to a bachelor’s degree within another year or two. With an average salary of $114,520 per year, it’s a career that more than justifies the cost of your education.
As we head further into the 21st century, the major industrialized nations are facing a universal problem: aging populations. In the US, the largest generation in the nation’s history, the baby boomers, is heading towards retirement age and will soon spark a boom in the healthcare industry as their medical needs increase. In particular, the field of nursing is expected to see demand that far outstrips the supply of qualified candidates in the very near future. Colleges everywhere are ramping up to meet that demand, and it’s already possible to earn advanced nursing degrees entirely online in some places. At that education level, you can expect to earn an average of $110,930, making nursing a field that pays handsomely.
Human Resources Management
If you can’t decide on which industry you’d like to work in and it’s stopping you from choosing a degree to pursue, don’t fret. There’s a field of study that will prepare you for a high-paying position in any industry you choose – human resources management. Human resources managers can expect to find positions in every kind of business imaginable, provided they have employees to recruit, train, and retain. That means you can work towards earning a degree without choosing a career path in advance, all without sacrificing your earning potential. Human resources managers typically earn about $110,120 per year and have more flexibility than almost any other profession in terms of career growth.
Learn and Earn
If you choose to work towards a degree in any of the above-mentioned fields, there’s a good chance you’ll get your career off to a solid and profitable start. That should go a long way towards easing your mind when making a decision that can have some serious long-term financial implications if you’re unable to land a great job once you leave school. After all, that’s what a college degree represents – a speculative investment in yourself – and there’s no better feeling than seeing that investment pay off with a lifetime of high earnings and a rewarding career you love.
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