Is a College Degree Worth Your Time and Money?

Whether you're about to leave high school behind or you want to enroll in classes for a new future, consider some of the following options.

Sheldon White

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Achieving a college education takes a considerable investment of time and money. With this in mind, it's important for you to consider the degrees and careers that are most likely to lead to a job right after graduation as well as a career trajectory that provides job security and opportunities for growth. After all, there are many college degrees that don't lead to important career and salary benefits. Whether you're about to leave high school behind or you want to enroll in classes for a new future, consider some of the following options.

Job Opportunities Right After Graduation

If your top priority is getting a job right out of college, these are the majors with the best prospects: accounting and finance, business management, computer science and information systems, chemistry, marketing, mathematics, mechanical engineering, and nursing. Most of these degrees will also provide you with job security, benefits, flexibility, and growth potential. For example, accounting is a steady career, and if you earn your Certified Public Accountant designation, the field will be wide open.

 A degree in business management gives you the flexibility to choose a job in a preferred industry, such as consulting, human resources, medical services, and research. Similarly, many degrees dealing with finance or information technology lead to job opportunities right out of college and in a wide variety of settings.

High Demand Job Opportunities With Great Pay

If you're great at financial theory, mathematics, and statistics, look into actuarial jobs as you approach graduation. It is relatively easy to get a job as an actuary after you graduate, and the average annual salary isn't too shabby.

Other possibilities include architectural engineer, education administrator, university registrar, teacher, and court reporter. It's easy to get one of these jobs right out of school, and most of them (if they aren't already paying a lot) lead to positions that will keep you comfortable for many years.

Best Paying Jobs With Top Starting Salaries

The following jobs don't just start with great salaries; they continue to provide reliable income for your future. Additionally, many of the people who have these careers believe that they are making a positive difference in the world, and this belief makes careers much more satisfying.

These jobs include industrial engineering, petroleum engineering, actuarial work, chemical engineering, accounting and building science, aeronautics, systems engineering, economics, and business analysis. The highest-rated of these are petroleum engineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, and aeronautics and astronautics. These three ranked high in early career and mid-career pay, as well as in share of high meaning.

Also read: PhD Scholarships for Latin American Students

Career Opportunities With Advanced Degrees

If you're willing to work your way through extra schooling and some lean years, consider the following careers. These all require several more years of study but offer job satisfaction, high demand positions, and comfortable salary schedules. Some of these career options include surgery, psychiatrist, physician or oral medicine, computer network architect and IT manager, pharmacist, and civil engineering.

There are many other careers that could be added to the list, but as you consider these options, keep the path to the ultimate goal in mind. For example, you could look for a job in nursing as you work your way through school to become a pharmacist, surgeon, psychiatrist, or physician.

Jobs Available to Graduates From Community College

Due to the high costs of university schooling, it isn't always possible to complete four to twelve years of school without a break. The good news is that you can attend a community college for less money and still get a decent job while you work on the rest of your schooling.

Some of the possibilities include dental hygienists, registered nurses, radiation therapists, diagnostic medical sonographers, construction managers, funeral directors, legal assistants, environmental engineering technicians, veterinary technologists, web developers, respiratory therapists, and occupational therapy assistants.

These job opportunities are often directly related to higher-paying careers. For example, a civil engineering technician with a community college degree can earn decent money along the way to an advanced degree in the same field.

It's true that college is expensive, and classes take a big chunk of time out of your working hours. However, if you have a clear path to a career that offers the benefits that are most important to you, those investments in time and money will pay off.