20 Most Employable Degrees (Some of Them Very Hard)

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were paid doing what you love? By choosing the right degree, you can considerably lower your chances of being unemployed after graduation and wondering, too, if college was a waste of time.

Some of the most employable degrees in the STEM fields, from software development to various engineering disciplines. There isn’t a shortage of job opportunities for degrees that have something to do with the healthcare industry. Business and related degrees are some of the most employable, too.

People go to college for reasons such as job stability and financial gain.

However, it’s only when you get employed that you can fully reap the benefits of your hard work in college. And this is why you should keep reading. Below, we will talk about 20 of the most employable degrees out there. You will have a better idea of what college degree to opt for by the time you reach the end of this article.

Architecture

It can take anywhere from five to eight years to complete a degree in architecture. After getting your hands on your college diploma, you will have to pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) to be able to obtain your license. Sometimes, location-specific supplemental exams will have to be taken, too, depending on where you wish to work.

  • Employment estimate: 103,900
  • Annual wage range: $49,950 to $136,310
  • Median annual wage: $82,320
  • Median hourly wage: $39.58

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Architectural, engineering and related services
  • Specialized design services
  • Residential building construction
  • Land subdivision
  • Non-residential building construction

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 15,130
  • New York – 11,640
  • Texas – 8,880
  • Illinois – 5,950
  • Florida – 4,610

Related Article: Can You Have Multiple Majors and Minors in College?

Civil Engineering

A degree in civil engineering usually takes four years to be completed, just like most undergraduate degrees. Before enrolling, see to it that the civil engineering program the college or university of your choice offers is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

  • Employment estimate: 300,850
  • Annual wage range: $56,160 to $144,810
  • Median annual wage: $88,570
  • Median hourly wage: $42.58

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Architectural, engineering and related services
  • Non-residential building construction
  • Other heavy and civil engineering construction
  • State government
  • Pipeline transportation of natural gas

Related Article: Does It Matter Where You Go to College for Engineering?

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 45,900
  • Texas – 28,990
  • Florida – 16,250
  • New York – 14,670
  • Colorado – 11,190

Mechanical Engineering

You will have to spend four to five years in school to get your hands on a mechanical engineering degree. Some students choose to complete a pre-engineering program instead, which takes two years to complete. However, a bachelor of science can considerably increase your job market value as a mechanical engineer.

  • Employment estimate: 293,960
  • Annual wage range: $58,410 to $141,060
  • Median annual wage: $90,160
  • Median hourly wage: $43.35

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Engine, turbine and power transmission equipment manufacturing
  • Architectural, engineering and related services
  • Machinery manufacturing
  • Metalworking machinery manufacturing
  • Other transportation equipment manufacturing

States with the highest level of employment:

  • Michigan – 40,340
  • California – 28,130
  • Texas – 21,970
  • Pennsylvania – 15,740
  • Ohio – 14,090

Industrial Engineering

Do you love to be an engineer one day but absolutely hate math? Consider earning a degree in industrial engineering. That’s because it will keep you away from deep engineering concepts, which are packed with numbers. Industrial engineering is basically a combination of engineering and social sciences, which is why it’s flexible, too.

  • Employment estimate: 290,190
  • Annual wage range: $57,950 to $136,930
  • Median annual wage: $88,950
  • Median hourly wage: $42.76

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing
  • Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing
  • Engine, turbine and power transmission equipment manufacturing
  • Navigational, measuring and control instruments manufacturing
  • Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 25,600
  • Michigan – 25,380
  • Texas – 20,490
  • Ohio – 14,350
  • Illinois – 12,480

Electrical Engineering

Electrician engineer tests electrical installations and wires on relay protection system. Bay control unit. Medium voltage switchgear

Many consider electrical engineering as one of the most difficult degrees to complete. That’s because many of the courses you will have to take and successfully pass require abstract thinking. But the good news is that, after earning your electrical engineering degree, you will be able to find work in many industries, from construction, automotive to gaming.

  • Employment estimate: 185,220
  • Annual wage range: $64,870 to $159,520
  • Median annual wage: $100,830
  • Median hourly wage: $48.48

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Electric power generation, transmission and distribution
  • Electrical equipment manufacturing
  • Communications equipment manufacturing
  • Navigational, measuring and control instruments manufacturing
  • Audio and video equipment manufacturing

Related Article: Is Electrical Engineering Hard?

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 26,360
  • Texas – 14,200
  • Pennsylvania – 8,980
  • Michigan – 8,410
  • New York – 8,170

Computer Systems Analysis

Earning a degree in computer systems analysis will prime you for studying a company or organization’s current computer systems and design solutions for problems or improvements to existing procedures to allow for a more efficient and effective operation. The courses will help improve critical and analytical thinking skills, among others.

  • Employment estimate: 574,450
  • Annual wage range: $56,510 to $152,060
  • Median annual wage: $93,730
  • Median hourly wage: $45.06

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Computer systems design and related services
  • Monetary authorities
  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Data processing, hosting, and related services
  • Insurance carriers

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 62,640
  • Texas – 54,770
  • New York – 35,890
  • Illinois – 30,470
  • Florida – 29,450

Software Development

There are many different things that you can be after completing your software development degree other than being a software developer. Some of them include video game developers, mobile app creators, database administrators, and webmasters. Millions of job opportunities will be waiting for you after graduation.

  • Employment estimate: 1,476,800
  • Annual wage range: $65,210 to $170,100
  • Median annual wage: $110,140
  • Median hourly wage: $52.95

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Software publishers
  • Computer systems design and related services
  • Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing
  • Data processing, hosting and related services
  • Communications equipment manufacturing

Related Article: Why are Software Engineers Paid So Much?

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 249,700
  • Texas – 113,140
  • Washington – 99,630
  • New York – 83,330
  • Virginia – 77,260

Database Administration

Basically, a degree program in database administration will prepare you for analyzing, organizing and saving information in database systems. Needless to say, you will be the one who will design and implement solutions necessary for a smooth-sailing operation that allows a business, government agency or any other entity to meet its needs.

  • Employment estimate: 133,630
  • Annual wage range: $54,070 to $155,660
  • Median annual wage: $98,860
  • Median hourly wage: $47.53

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Data processing, hosting and related services
  • Monetary authorities
  • Computer systems design and related services
  • Software publishers
  • Cable and other subscription programming

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 15,600
  • Texas – 12,020
  • New York – 8,280
  • Virginia – 7,580
  • Florida – 7,300

Related Article: Why are Data Scientists Paid So Much?

Pharmacy

It can take anywhere from four to six years to complete a degree in pharmacy. A stand-alone Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program is four years long. Then there is an optional residency program that is one to two years long. And by the way, PharmD degree holders need to take a couple of licensure exams.

  • Employment estimate: 315,470
  • Annual wage range: $85,210 to $164,980
  • Median annual wage: $128,710
  • Median hourly wage: $61.88

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Health and personal care stores
  • Merchant wholesalers
  • Specialty hospitals
  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Electronic shopping and mail-order houses

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 32,520
  • Texas – 23,150
  • Florida – 20,200
  • New York – 19,460
  • Pennsylvania – 14,900

Clinical Nutrition

Having a clinical nutrition degree will make you an authority in designing nutrition programs necessary for improving or maintaining the health status of patients. The programs you will make, in other words, can either be therapeutic or preventive. For as long as health is considered wealth, clinical nutritionists will be in demand.

  • Employment estimate: 66,330
  • Annual wage range: $39,840 to $90,000
  • Median annual wage: $63,090
  • Median hourly wage: $30.33

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Outpatient care centers
  • Special food services
  • Specialty hospitals
  • Offices of other health practitioners
  • General medical and surgical hospitals

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 7,780
  • Texas – 4,680
  • New York – 4,450
  • Pennsylvania – 3,600
  • Florida – 3,430

Medicine

Completing a degree in medicine, believe it or not, typically lasts for four years only. However, after getting your hands on your diploma, you will still have to spend many years in a residency program. It’s due to this why it can take 10 years or longer before you are able to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

  • Employment estimate: 375,390
  • Annual wage range: $ 61,380 to $274,930
  • Median annual wage: $208,000
  • Median hourly wage: $100.00

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Offices of physicians
  • Medical and diagnostic laboratories
  • Specialty hospitals
  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Federal executive branch

Related Article: Is Neuroscience Hard? Here’s What You Need to Know

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 30,800
  • New York – 30,090
  • Florida – 29,430
  • Pennsylvania – 22,000
  • Texas – 21,420

Nursing

Group of medical students in college hallway

If you cannot wait for 10 long years before you can become a part of the healthcare industry, consider being a registered nurse. After earning your nursing degree, which usually takes four years to complete, and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), you can be one of the almost three million registered nurses in the US.

  • Employment estimate: 2,986,500
  • Annual wage range: $53,410 to $116,230
  • Median annual wage: $75,330
  • Median hourly wage: $36.22

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Specialty hospitals
  • Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Home health care services

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 307,060
  • Texas – 219,330
  • Florida – 183,130
  • New York – 178,550
  • Pennsylvania – 146,640

Dentistry

It will take eight years before you can become a dentist. That’s because you will have to spend four years completing an undergraduate program and another four years completing a dental program. And before you can start taking care of everyone’s smile legally, you will have to pass the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE).

  • Employment estimate: 95,920
  • Annual wage range: $81,060 to $208,000
  • Median annual wage: $158,940
  • Median hourly wage: $76.41

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Offices of dentists
  • Offices of physicians
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals
  • Specialty hospitals

Related Article: Why are Dental Hygienists Paid So Much?

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 12,040
  • Texas – 8,480
  • Florida – 7,050
  • New York – 6,270
  • Illinois – 3,660

Veterinary Medicine

Just like dentists, veterinarians also spent eight years of their lives in college — four years of relevant study and another four years for a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. To be able to work legally as a veterinarian in the US, passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) is a must.

  • Employment estimate: 73,710
  • Annual wage range: $60,690 to $164,490
  • Median annual wage: $99,250
  • Median hourly wage: $47.72

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Other professional, scientific and technical services
  • Social advocacy organizations
  • Support activities for animal production
  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing
  • Other personal services

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 7,490
  • Texas – 5,200
  • Florida – 4,160
  • New York – 3,530
  • Pennsylvania – 3,480

Health Science

One of the nicest things about a health science degree is that it allows you to work in many different sectors in the healthcare industry. After completing the program in four years, you can be anyone from a community health worker, mental health counselor, health educator to patient care advocate.

  • Employment estimate: 76,670
  • Annual wage range: $29,130 to $105,690
  • Median annual wage: $51,840
  • Median hourly wage: $24.92

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Other ambulatory health care services
  • Specialty hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Offices of other health practitioners

States with the highest level of employment:

  • Louisiana – 3,100
  • Georgia – 5,930
  • Rhode Island – 570
  • Oklahoma – 1,980
  • Maryland – 3,150

Rehabilitation Science

Lasting for four years, a rehabilitation science degree program will hone skills necessary for developing, maintaining and restoring maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan of your patients. Job opportunities after graduation come aplenty, ranging from occupational therapist to rehabilitation counselor.

  • Employment estimate: 220,870
  • Annual wage range: $63,530 to $126,780
  • Median annual wage: $43.75
  • Median hourly wage: $91,010

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Offices of other health practitioners
  • Specialty hospitals
  • Home health care services
  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Nursing care facilities

States with the highest level of employment:

  • Montana – 1,120
  • Connecticut – 3,670
  • Vermont – 670
  • Delaware – 930
  • South Dakota – 860

Psychology

All over the world, psychology is one of the most popular majors. Refrain from assuming that it’s easy. Many psychology students agree that introduction to psychology alone can be tough. Many jobs are waiting for those with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. More opportunities are available for those with a master’s degree in it.

  • Employment estimate: 111,320
  • Annual wage range: $46,410 to $138,550
  • Median annual wage: $79,820
  • Median hourly wage: $38.37

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Offices of other health practitioners
  • Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals
  • Educational support services
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Elementary and secondary schools

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 17,210
  • New York – 9,900
  • Texas – 8,930
  • Illinois – 5,610
  • Florida – 5,520

Business Administration

NYU
NYU Stern School of Business

For as long as you have a business administration degree, running out of jobs to apply for should be the least of your worries. That’s because your academic experience entitles you to be a part of many different business-related industries. Anything from management, finance, real estate to consulting can be your turf.

  • Employment estimate: 734,000
  • Annual wage range: $50,990 to $156,840
  • Median annual wage: $87,660
  • Median hourly wage: $42.14

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Management, scientific and technical consulting services
  • Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets
  • Monetary authorities
  • Insurance carriers
  • Federal executive branch

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 101,240
  • Florida – 52,670
  • New York – 51,820
  • Virginia – 46,820
  • Texas – 42,470

Finance

While completing a degree program in finance, you will be subjected to courses in accounting, economics, statistics and business law. It’s exactly because of this why there are all sorts of jobs perfect for you after graduation. Practically any job post you opt for will make you a valuable asset to the company or organization.

  • Employment estimate: 1,274,620
  • Annual wage range: $45,220 to $128,680
  • Median annual wage: $73,560
  • Median hourly wage: $35.37

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services
  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Insurance and employee benefit funds
  • Office administrative services
  • Other investment pools and funds

States with the highest level of employment:

  • California – 150,050
  • New York – 112,360
  • Texas – 109,470
  • Florida – 73,690
  • Pennsylvania – 50,240

Related Article: 12 Perfect Minors for Economics Major

Actuarial Studies

Various financial issues can wreak havoc on businesses and other money-making ventures. This is why people with a degree in actuarial studies are sought-after. What they do is employ mathematics, statistics and other tools in order to be able to analyze financial risks. The insurance industry is something that greatly needs actuaries.

  • Employment estimate: 22,480
  • Annual wage range: $66,030 to $196,010
  • Median annual wage: $111,030
  • Median hourly wage: $53.38

Industries with the highest concentration of employment:

  • Insurance carriers
  • Insurance and employee benefit funds
  • Agencies, brokerages and other insurance-related activities
  • Securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments and related activities
  • Management, scientific and technical consulting services

States with the highest level of employment:

  • New York – 2,570
  • Illinois – 2,200
  • California – 1,450
  • Pennsylvania – 1,410
  • Texas – 1,380

Having the best possible college experience is great. However, after graduation, keep in mind that you will have to eat and pay the bills. When thinking about a degree program to complete, also consider the employability rate.


Above, we quickly checked out 20 of the most employable degrees.

With so many options, it’s hard to run out of one that will allow you to do something that you love after graduation and get paid for doing it, too! However, keep in mind that the right degree should be paired with the right qualities employers are looking for.

Note: All figures mentioned above were obtained from 2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

Read Also: 19 Most Stressful College Majors and How Much They Pay


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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