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Best Bachelor's Degrees for an Entry-Level Job

Your degree matters - there are a few fields that lead to a disproportionate number of entry-level jobs. We crunched the numbers and identified the fields with the largest number of jobs for recent grads.

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Education

You may have heard about cuts to education on the news, but the demand for new teachers is only increasing. Across all levels of teachers, there were over 4.3 million jobs in 2010. Employment outlook through 2020 varies, but teachers with background in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) will be in high demand.

Number of jobs in 2010 Employment increase through 2020 Median annual wage
Elementary School Teachers 1.5 million 17% $51,660
Secondary School Teachers 1 million 7% 53,230
Middle School Teachers 641,000 17% $51,690
Special Education Teachers 223,000 21% 52,250

You can enter the profession with just a bachelor's degree. A practicum or student teaching experience is typically required for state licensure, but no additional work experience is required to get your first job. A typical bachelor's degree program includes classes on teaching strategies and methods. There are many online bachelor's degree programs in education. Most classes can be taken online, but the practicum typically needs to be completed in person and lasts 3-4 months. States have different requirements for licensure, which may include passing one or more exams and taking courses in specific areas. Before enrolling, think about the level you want to teach because many programs prepare you for a specific level. Common bachelor's degrees in education include:

  • Bachelor's in Education Studies
  • Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor's in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor's in Secondary Education

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Business

Business can refer to a lot of specializations, but four career areas in business jump out for the sheer number of jobs. All of these areas have options for you if you have a bachelor's degree, and none of them require prior work experience to get started. The table below breaks down the four top career areas. The total number of jobs in these areas is over 2.3 million, and all four areas have strong projected growth through 2020.

Number of jobs in 2010 Employment increase through 2020 Median annual wage
Accountants/Auditors 1.2 million 16% $61,690
HR & Labor Relations Specialists 442,000 21% $52,690
Sales Representatives 400,000 16% $73,710
Marketing Specialists & Market Research Analysts 296,000 41% $60,570

To enter one of these fields, you can earn a general bachelor's degree in business. However, you may have more success with a specialized degree that focuses on a specific area. For some degrees, your employment prospects will be better with an official credential, such as a CPA. However, you can always get started after earning your bachelor's degree and go back to school later. Business degrees are frequently offered online, and can be a good choice for online learning. Because business education includes hands-on skilled learned on the job, you may gain a competitive advantage by working while going to school. Common bachelor's degrees in business include:

  • Bachelor's in Business Administration
  • Bachelor's in Management
  • Bachelor's in Marketing
  • Bachelor's in Accounting

IT and Computer Science

Many of the top careers revolve around IT, computer science, and other technical fields. As technology expands and become even more ubiquitous, new opportunities will continue to arise. The table gives you numbers on four of the most common career areas. Across this field, there were over 2.1 million jobs in 2010.

Number of jobs in 2010 Employment increase through 2020 Median annual wage
Computer Systems Analysts 544,000 22% $77,740
Software Developers 913,000 30% $90,895
Computer Programmers 363,000 12% $71,380
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 347,000 28% $69,160

You can enter all of these professions with just a bachelor's degree. Hands-on experience through an internship can be helpful in securing a job, by prior work experience is not required for employment. Because computer skills are so specialized, choose a bachelor's degree that is within your area of interest. Since this a tech-oriented fields, online degrees are widely available and well-suited to the subject. Some degree names include:

  • Bachelor's in Computer Science
  • Bachelor's in Information Technology (IT)
  • Bachelor's in Network Technology
  • Bachelor's in Systems Development
  • Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems

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Source: The salary and employment information in this article are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment and salary prospects vary by region and experience-level and are not guaranteed.

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