Updated 2021 | Top 5 Most In-Demand Bachelor’s Level Careers
Grace Townsley | May 1st, 2021
The rising cost of tuition leaves many students wondering about the most in-demand careers and bachelor’s degrees. There are hundreds of majors to choose from, so narrowing down your options to a bachelor’s degree that will be persistently relevant in the job market and will qualify you for a career that lasts can be difficult.
Read on to learn about the five careers with the highest number of job openings available to recent bachelor’s degree graduates, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
1. General/Operations Managers
It’s no surprise that management is an in-demand and growing field. Managers are found in every industry, from hospitality and manufacturing to entertainment and banking.
According to BLS, there are about 2.8 million management positions in the country and 115,000 more management positions are expected to be created in the next few years.
Unlike the next four careers on this list, a career in management usually does require job experience in addition to a bachelor’s degree. Typically, managers are expected to have about five years of experience working in their industry before they are eligible for this promotion. If you’re not sure yet what industry you want to lead in, the best undergraduate degree to pursue for this career is a bachelor’s in business management or administration.
2. Registered Nurses
The demand for registered nurses is higher than ever, especially in our post-pandemic world. There are an estimated 175,000 registered nurse positions open every year, and the shortage is expected to continue increasing.
The majority of registered nurses work in hospitals, but physicians’ offices, home health care companies, outpatient care centers, and nursing home facilities also hire registered nurses.
In the past, the main requirements for the job were an associate’s degree in nursing and passage of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). But in recent years, hospitals and medical offices have increasingly required that incoming registered nurses hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). Some of the most respected hospitals in the country, including Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Johns Hopkins, almost exclusively hire registered nurses who have earned a BSN.
While the other careers on this list can be achieved with a bachelor’s degree earned fully or partially online, BSN degrees require significant on-campus and internship hours. For students who can meet this requirement, a registered nursing career is within reach.
3. Software Quality Assurance Analysts
The top five most in-demand job with the highest median salary, coming in at $110,140 per year, is in the technology development industry. Software quality assurance analysts interact with newly developed software to improve user experience, find bugs, and gather data to help the development team prepare software for launch.
In addition to the significantly above-average salary, many companies offer this position to remote workers.
A career in software quality assurance analysis usually requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology. Most analysts report having a strong background in mathematics as being helpful to the job.
Because this field is growing so rapidly as more companies develop software, many open positions don’t require prior work experience in the field. Between the high employment demand in this field, the above-average salary, and the room for promotion, this career carries a huge upside for the technology-minded student.
4. Project Management Specialists
Project management, like general/operations management, is a broad field that spans every industry.
There are approximately 1.3 million project management positions in the country, with an estimated 128,000 jobs becoming available every year. This huge career growth is driven by the fact that project managers are found in every field, including construction, technology development, retail sales, higher education, and the nonprofit sector.
While a general/operations management position usually requires several years of experience in the field, project management roles can be entry-level with the right bachelor’s degree and credentials. Many universities offer a bachelor’s degree in project management, with optional concentrations like information technology, healthcare, construction management, or nonprofit management.
Having a concentration relevant to the industry you want to work in gives your resume a boost in this popular sector. There are also numerous post-degree certifications available in the field, which can help you stand out in the job market.
Last but not least, the career with the 5th highest projected openings in 2021 is accounting, with an estimated 125,700 jobs becoming available over the year.
Many accountants work for the government or work within a single company, preparing, examining, and auditing the organization’s financial statements. Some serve as business consultants, tax advisors, or IT specialists who ensure an organization’s IT systems properly handle financial data.
While some accounting and auditing jobs will accept a bachelor’s degree in business, the best degree for most accounting positions is a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. For any worker considering becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the future, this specific bachelor’s degree is strongly recommended to avoid having to take more undergraduate courses in the future.
Your Key Takeaway
The most important factor to consider when choosing a bachelor’s degree and career field is to find something that interests you and aligns with your strengths. That being said, thinking strategically about how to use your strengths and interests to work in a high-growth, enduring industry can set you up for a rewarding and stable career.