Don’t pick a college major based on today’s hot jobs

by Grace

A snapshot of unemployment rates by college major shows architects are currently suffering the most while health workers are prospering.

Ten years ago the unemployment rate for architects was 1.1%.

What will the picture be like in five or ten years?  It’s not out of the question that architecture and health could switch places.  Ten years ago the unemployment rate for architects was an enviable 1.1%, and while we continue to hear that healthcare careers will continue to flourish as the ranks of aging baby boomers increase, that is by no means a sure thing.  Here’s a sign of weakening that should be considered by anyone who believes a health major is a safe bet for future job security.

Despite longtime concerns about nurse shortages in the United States, today’s nurses are learning that a nursing career is not as recession resistant as touted in the past.

A 2009 Vanderbilt University Medical Center study projected a shortage of 260,000 registered nurses by 2025. But hospitals, especially in the New York City metropolitan area, aren’t hiring.

Hospitals in the region were eager to recruit new nurses four or five years ago, said Kevin Dahill, president of the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association, which represents Hudson Valley hospitals.

“It’s all changed,” he said. “If there is an improvement in the economy, you might see more opportunities opening up. Right now, it’s the lowest turnover and vacancy rate we’ve seen in a long time. For entry level, it’s almost at zero.”

It’s hard to accurately predict the future when deciding upon a college major.

Of course, some careers are more cyclical than others.  I should know, having living through first a prosperous boom and then a staggering bust in the oil business.  Education was considered a relatively safe major for a while, until recently when budget cuts at public schools brought hiring freezes and left newly graduated teachers unable to find jobs.

Maybe students should consider taking a contrarian approach, and select majors that have been on a downward trend for a few years.  Certainly they should focus on some basics that will serve them well whatever the current job market — work hard to get good grades, take advantage of all learning opportunities, hone their writing skills, and lower expectations for their first job out of college.

Related:  Don’t Let the Economy Pick Your Major For You

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