Each year the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publish a list of jobs that they expect to see the greatest growth over the next ten years. They have recently published their data for 2020 so it seems like a good time to think not just about the jobs but also about the majors that are likely to be popular.
What does the data tell us?
Using the Careers Classification Index we can look at which sectors are expected to see the greatest growth up until 2030. The data shows us that healthcare careers figure most prominently in the list (10) followed by manufacturing and production (4), and careers linked to IT, which has three mentions. Careers linked to mathematics, engineering and personal support each have two careers in the table.
When you look at the divide between what would be regarded as professional careers and non-professional careers the picture is a little different. Healthcare remains top of the list for the number of professional careers with both manufacturing and production, and professional maths careers some way behind.
When looking at individual job titles we see some new entrants into this years list which includes data from the start of the COVID pandemic. We see occupations such as Respiratory Therapists and Epidemiologists entering the list, together with the more ominous crematory operators. A growing interest in renewable energy is also represented by technicians to service wind turbines and specialist installers of solar power cells both figuring in the top three occupations for percentage growth up to 2030.
Which college majors will help me?
It is a feature of the higher education offer in the USA that at undergraduate level study is often not directly linked to a particular career path and so many of the careers identified int the BLS data don’t require students to complete a particular major. That said there are majors that can prepare you to either enter one of the professional careers on the list.
Health and Medical Majors
This has been one of the areas of study that has seen considerable growth in the last decade and is expected to continue to grow in the decade to come. Some of the most popular majors in this category would include Health Science and Medical Science. Careers in the BLS list that fall under this category would include Nursing, Physician Assistants and Epidemiologists.
Engineering is a wide discipline, in fact there are around 40 different majors that fall under the umbrella of engineering. Which major a student chooses will depend on their interests but popular choices include Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.
Strictly speaking this should probably come under the general engineering heading but it is such an area of growth that I have chosen to give it it’s own section.
Computer Science has seen a phenomenal growth, with the growth of computers, AI, data processing into all sectors of employment demand has grown for people with the skills to make the most of the opportunities they offer. A degree in computer science can lead you into a career in IT or increasingly a career in another area altogether where your skills will be put to good use. Careers highlighted in the BLS data include information security analyst, data science and software designers.
Psychology and Counselling
Psychology has been one of the most popular majors for many years and often forms the foundation for students wanting to pursue careers counselling. In order to work as a counsellor most states will require practitioners to have continued their studies by completing a graduate course in the specific area of counselling the intend to work in. Genetic counselling and counselling people who have addictions both feature in the BLS list with growths of between 22 – 26% over the next ten years.
Mathematics and Statistics
With occupations such as Statistician and Actuary featuring in the BLS data a major is mathematics or statistics could be a good option to consider if you have enjoyed higher level maths courses in school. These majors develop skills such as problem solving, analysis and abstract thinking which can also be applied in other careers on the BLS list such as Data Scientist and Information Security Analyst.
The BLS data is a good snap shot of where growth in jobs is expected to happen over the next ten years and in this article I have linked those professional careers to majors that could set you on your way to those careers. Most students applying to colleges in the United States continue to apply for liberal arts and science programmes which provide a basis for any number of careers, including many of those on the BLS list.