Updated on September 14th, 2021
When it comes to future success, not all jobs are created equal. The best careers offer growth potential and upward mobility, and not every option has the capacity to provide as secure of a future as others. In this article, we share a few of the best career options right now and some quick tips on how to assess other career options your student is considering.
Why Assess Career Potential?
Some jobs, like newspaper reporters and news broadcasters, are seeing significant declines as the number of available jobs continues to fall. Others, like software engineers and a variety of healthcare professionals, are seeing demand for their skills skyrocket, suggesting lucrative career prospects and longevity in the field.
As discussed in the article, Is College Worth It?, many college students make the mistake of focusing on a particular major instead of a career, which can be a mistake.
Some majors don’t automatically lead to strong job prospects, so it’s important for your student to examine job outlook data to determine the best careers based on their area of interest.
Luckily, there are a lot of resources available to help your child do just that.
Best Careers Based on Job Growth
CNN identified some of the fastest-growing career options in the nation today. Most of the projections are based on the next 10 years, giving your child an opportunity to jump in even if they haven’t started college yet. Here are just a few of the best careers to pursue based on job outlook data.
At the top of the list is Biostatistician. These professionals use statistics to research public health issues and even design and conduct studies, using the results to help the US population at large. There can be a lot of job satisfaction in this field based on the ability to benefit society. It is also considered fairly low stress, which you won’t necessarily find in other position.
Plus, one of the biggest positives that help makes this one of the best careers is the potential salary. Median pay is over $91,000 while top earners reach $146,000.
2. Analytics Manager
Analytics Manager comes in at number two for the best careers based on job growth. With big data making headlines across the world, these professionals are in high demand. These positions rely on technical skills as well as an understanding of statistics with a goal of helping businesses make sense of their data so they can increase efficiency, boost performance, and manage risk.
This is also a lucrative career path, with median salaries reaching $108,000 per year.
3. Portfolio Manager
Some of the best careers in the financial field offer a lot of opportunities. The job outlook for portfolio managers is particularly bright, with a substantial amount of growth being anticipated over the next 10 years. Median earners in these positions bring in $118,000 a year, making the compensation particularly strong.
4. Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists bring in a median salary of nearly $80,000, and the work can be very rewarding. These medical professionals help patients improve the skills they need to accomplish daily tasks, whether they simply be for everyday living or are specific to their careers.
As with much of the healthcare industry, demand for occupational therapists is expected to rise significantly in the coming years. It does require a Master’s degree to enter the field, though, depending on the cost of your education, can be worth it.
These are just a sample of some of the best careers today based on potential job growth. As you can see, multiple fields are covered, so your student can likely find an option that applies to one of their areas of interest.
Why Job Outlook Data Matters
Ultimately, your child’s college education is an investment. They are dedicating time, energy and (often) money to help them earn a degree and secure a bright future. But not all majors have a great return on investment (ROI), especially if they won’t help your student find a great job.
Now, having a sound ROI doesn’t mean your child has to earn a huge salary (though that’s always a plus!). Instead, it just requires that their earning potential make sense based on what has been invested in the process of obtaining a degree.
To determine whether the ROI makes sense, your child needs to identify potential careers that interest them. This process can be especially helpful if your student is comparing multiple options, as it allows them to see the value of pursuing each opportunity with greater ease.
To calculate an ROI, you first need to determine the full net cost of obtaining a particular degree. This includes expenses like tuition, room and board, supplies, and any other associated costs. Generally, you only need to add the expenses that are paid for in cash or are supported by loans that must be paid back. If your child is able to cover all of the costs with grants and scholarships, including their living expenses, then the net cost of their degree could be seen as $0.
Not sure when to look for scholarships? Check out this related article: When Your Child Should Start Applying for Scholarships
Once your child has an estimate, it can be compared to the average annual salary for the jobs they are considering. The easiest way to this is to divide the net cost by the average yearly wage for each position. Then, simply order the jobs from highest to lowest score. After that, determining the best careers in the bunch is easy, as those at the top of the list offer a better value.
For example, if your child is looking at a job that has an annual salary of $80,000 and the net cost of their education is $40,000, the score would be 2. In comparison, if they were considering a job with a $60,000 salary and the net cost was $35,000, the answer would be 1.25. This means the first option has a better ROI.
If you want some guidance on where to find scholarships to help boost the ROI for your student, join our next free online training where I cover the 6 steps to quickly securing scholarships for college. Go to www.thescholarshipsystem.com/freewebinarpst to join!
Identifying the Best Careers for Their Future
While we mentioned a few positions with great job outlooks, those, by far, aren’t the only options around. That means the chances are high that your child is going to want to explore other potential careers. Luckily, there is an excellent resource for finding job outlook data on almost any field!
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor, has a lot of highly accessible information about almost any job imaginable. All your child needs to do to find the best careers based on their interests is to search their target positions and find the closest match.
Once your child finds the right job category, they can review a summary that includes a job outlook score. They’ll also have access to information about the median pay, typical educational requirements, and so much more.
BLS.gov is really an exceptional resource and a great starting point for evaluating which careers have the most long-term potential.
Finding the Best Careers – Quick Checklist
To help your student evaluate their options, here is a quick checklist to help them assess different career paths:
How to find the best careers for college grads:
- Identify potential careers that interest them
- Examine job outlook data to find jobs strong futures
- Calculate the full net cost of getting the degree(s)
- Calculate and compare the ROIs
- Find scholarships and other free funding to help boost ROI
A Final Note
While choosing one of the best careers available is a smart move, it isn’t wise for your child to enter a field that doesn’t interest them. Ultimately, if they are truly unhappy with their choice, they are going to struggle long term.
Instead, your student needs to make job outlook data and ROI information part of their decision-making process, but it shouldn’t be the be all and end all.
If your child is considering a career that doesn’t have a strong ROI when the full net cost of the degree is on their shoulders, there is a way to shift the ROI in their favor.
Scholarships are an excellent way to reduce the total cost of going to college! While job outlooks should always be considered, as choosing a growth industry helps ensure they have a secure financial future, they can skip the ROI calculations if the net cost of a degree is $0.
If you and your student would like to learn more about scholarship opportunities and how they can open doors to some of the best careers available, sign up for our free college scholarship webinar! It’s a great way to learn about the process and see how scholarships can help bring the total net cost of earning a degree to $0!